Exceptional Children

ChildrenPlanet earth is inhabited by all kinds of people who have all kinds of mental abilities. The brain of each human being is unique. Each human being strives to be successful. In real world there are many despairing flocks of boys and girls trying to achieve success but falter badly, disappointing their teachers, families, and worst of all themselves. Through no fault of their own, they are the owners of the brains that somehow don’t quite mesh with the demands they come up against, requirements like need to spell accurately, write legibly, read quickly, work efficiently or recall multiplication facts automatically.

Disability refers to the reduced function or loss of a particular body part or organ. The term impairment is often used synonymously. A disability limits the ability to perform certain tasks like seeing, hearing, working in the same way that most non- handicapped persons do. A disabled person is not handicapped, however unless the physical disability leads to emotional, personal, social, vocational or other problems. If a child who has lost a leg, for example, can learn to use an artificial limb then he is not handicapped.

Centuries ago, labeling and classifying were of little importance or survival was the main concern. In later years, derogatory labels like ‘fool’ were applied to learning disabilities or behavioral problems. Other demeaning words were used for persons with other disabilities. In each instance, however, the purpose remained the same- to exclude the person with disabilities from the activities, privileges and facilities of normal society.

But this used to happen years ago, and why do we still follow it? We say we have advanced in every sphere of life be it technology, trade, or anything, then why not this? Disabled people are just like us, except with a few shortcomings which they can’t help. I think the term ‘exceptional children’ is an inclusive term that refers to children with learning and behavior problems, children with physical disabilities and children who are intellectually gifted.

However, as has been said earlier, all children differ from one another in individual characteristics along a continuum; exceptional children are those whose differences are large enough to require a specially designed instructional program if they are to benefit fully from education.

Hence, it is a mistake to think that there are two distinct kinds of children: those who are special and those who are regular. Exceptional children are more like other children than they are different.

Many times when we see a mentally disabled child, we term him as being retarded. He is NOT retarded or mad or any thing of that sort! Just like when a person hurts his leg and he has to limb and walk and he has to walk slowly, the same way the minds of these children are not as fast as the others of their age. All they need is a little more time. They don’t need your pity but acceptance!

If you have ever associated with mentally handicapped children, you will notice that they are the most humble creatures on this earth. All they want from you is to love them and they will love you back unconditionally. It is very easy to make such a child smile, all you have to do is hold their hand or kiss them on the cheek, and there, you will get the most beautiful smile in this world! I feel that these children have been made by god to remind us of the emotions we are soon forgetting in this fast changing world. They are special children. Learn to respect them! They are better than all of us!

Anjuri Nayar