How does remote learning for special education work?

In remote learning, students and teachers or instructors are not physically present in a traditional classroom setting. They are also not physically present infront of each other. Instead, they interact through online platforms, video conferencing tools, and other digital resources to facilitate teaching and learning.

Remote learning is known for its flexibility. It allows students to access educational materials and participate in classes from various locations and at times that suit their schedules. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial for individuals with other commitments, such as work or family responsibilities, as it provides them with the opportunity to pursue education without the constraints of a traditional classroom setting.

Remote learning provides several benefits for special needs children:

• Safety and Health
• Consistency in education and interventions with special children’s needs
• Flexibility
• Reduced Sensory Overload
• One-on-one virtual sessions
• Access to Specialists
• Engaging Multimedia
• Reduced Social Anxiety
• Parental involvement
• Safe Learning Environment
• Life Skills Integration.

However, it is important to note that remote learning may not be suitable for all special needs children, as some children and their families may require hands-on, in-person interventions and interactions that are difficult to replicate online. Each child’s unique needs should be considered when determining the appropriateness of remote learning.

Remote learning can provide several advantages for special educators:

1. Flexibility: Special educators can design and deliver lessons at times that suit their schedules, allowing for a better work-life balance.
2. Customization: Online platforms often offer tools for creating tailored learning materials that cater to the diverse needs of their students.
3. Access to Resources: Special educators can tap into a wide range of digital resources, teaching aids, and assistive technologies to enhance their teaching strategies.
4. Professional Development: Remote learning opens up opportunities for special educators to attend webinars, workshops, and online courses to further develop their skills and stay up-to-date with best practices.
5. Collaboration: Virtual platforms enable special educators to connect and collaborate with mental health professionals, psychiatric social workers and other expertise for o sharing ideas, strategies, and resources to improve their teaching methods.
6. Data Collection: Online learning platforms often provide data analytics that allow educators to track student progress and adjust their teaching strategies accordingly.
7. Individualized Support: Remote learning allows special educators to provide more individualized attention to students through virtual one-on-one sessions and targeted interventions.
8. Reaching Remote Areas: Special educators can reach students in remote or underserved areas where access to specialized education resources might be limited.
9. Documenting Progress: Remote learning platforms often allow educators to document and share student progress more easily, aiding in communication with parents and other support staff.
10. Innovation: Remote learning encourages educators to explore creative and innovative teaching methods that can be applied both online and in traditional classroom settings.

In spite of advantages remote teaching also has to face several with challenges like technological barriers, limited personal interactions, and the need for special educators to adapt their teaching approaches to the online environment.

Author Sradhanjali Dasgupta

Consultant Psychologist, Speaker , Learning Developmental Coach, Teacher and trainer Miss. Sradhanjali Dasgupta has been extensively working in the field of Counselling and education for the past few years in several Clinics, Hospitals, NGOs and educational sectors. She also contributes her writings and blogs in various newspapers, magazines and e- magazines Her training and workshops are both for the corporate as well as for the educational sector and are geared up for learning and development,upgradation and capacity building. She have actively taken part in many debates


Autism & Whole Body Movement

Whole Body movement series (part 1)

Incorporating Whole Body Movement in Daily Life for Individuals with Disabilities (Autism)

Physical activity is essential for the overall well-being of every individual, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. For people with disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), engaging in whole body movement activities like walking and other physical exercises can have a profound impact on their physical, mental, and emotional health.

In this blog, I have explored the importance of whole body movement for individuals with disabilities(Autism), with a specific focus on the benefits it provides to autistic individuals. I have also shared a variety of enjoyable and accessible exercises and activities that can be seamlessly integrated into everyone’s daily lives.

The Importance of Whole Body Movement for Individuals with Disabilities, Specifically Autistic Individuals

Individuals with autism may have sensory sensitivities and difficulties in expressing their emotions. Engaging in physical activities can be particularly beneficial for them due to the unique set of challenges they face. For them, incorporating whole body movement into their daily routine can have numerous physical, emotional, and cognitive benefits. Engaging in fun and easy exercises and activities that promote whole body movement can help improve coordination, sensory integration, communication, and overall well-being.

1. Sensory Regulation and Integration:

Many individuals with autism have sensory sensitivities and sensory processing, as one of the key challenges.
●Whole body movement activities like walking can help them regulate their sensory experiences.
Being outdoors and engaging in whole body movement activities can provide a calming and grounding effect on their sensory systems.
●Physical activities can help them better regulate their sensory experiences.
●Activities like swinging, bouncing, or rocking can also provide the sensory input needed to self-soothe and maintain emotional balance.

2. Improved Social Interaction:

Autistic individuals often struggle with social interactions.

●Some whole body movement activities can be done in a group setting, offering individuals with autism the opportunity to interact with others, promoting socialization and communication.
●Participating in group activities, such as team sports or group walks, can create opportunities for social engagement.
●The shared activity provides a common focus and can lead to the development of social skills, such as taking turns, following rules, and working as a team.

3. Reducing Anxiety and Stress:

Physical activities, including walking, release endorphins, which are natural mood elevators. For everyone, these activities can help reduce anxiety and stress. Physical activity serves as an outlet for managing the emotional challenges that often accompany autism.

4. Enhancing Communication:

Engaging in whole body movement activities can improve non-verbal communication skills. For example, team sports require coordination and cooperation, which can help individuals with autism develop non-verbal communication skills through body language and gestures.

5. Improved Coordination and Balance:

Whole body movement exercises enhance coordination, balance, and motor skills, which can be particularly helpful for autistic individuals, who may face challenges in these areas in general.

6. Emotional Regulation:

Engaging in physical activities releases endorphins, which can help improve mood and emotional regulation, reducing anxiety and stress.

7. Promoting Physical Health:

Regular physical activity is crucial for maintaining good physical health. Autistic individuals are no exception. Encouraging whole body movement can contribute to better cardiovascular health, muscular development, and overall fitness.

8. Routine and Predictability:

Autistic individuals often thrive in structured and routine environments. Incorporating regular physical activities, such as daily walks, can provide predictability in their schedule, which can be comforting and help reduce anxiety.

9. Self-Esteem and Confidence:

As individuals develop physical skills and see improvements in their abilities, it can boost their self-esteem and confidence. Feeling a sense of accomplishment through physical activities can be especially empowering.

Incorporating Whole Body Movement in Daily Life

To make whole body movement more accessible, it’s essential to consider their unique needs and preferences. Some strategies to consider include:

●Tailor activities to their interests.
●Create a structured schedule for physical activities.
●Provide sensory-friendly environments.
●Encourage gradual exposure to different activities.
●Seek guidance from therapists or experts who have experience with autism and physical activity.

Fun and Easy Exercises and Activities

▪︎Dance Parties: Dancing to favorite music can be a joyful and engaging way to incorporate whole body movement. Encourage the individual to move freely and express themselves through dance.

▪︎Yoga and Stretching: Simple yoga poses like – Dog pose, cobra pose, child pose, tree pose, butterfly pose etc and stretching exercises can be adapted to accommodate the unique needs of individuals with autism. These activities are very easy for even a child to perform and can help with their flexibility, balance, and relaxation.

▪︎Sensory Swings: Swinging provides deep pressure and proprioceptive input, helping to calm and organize the sensory system. Swing sets or indoor sensory swings or normal park swing can be used for this purpose.

▪︎Trampolining: Trampolines are a fantastic way to engage in whole body movement while having fun. Bouncing on a trampoline helps with coordination and is a great source of sensory input.

▪︎Obstacle Courses: Create simple obstacle courses using everyday items like cushions, pillows, stools, chairs or cardboard boxes. Encourage the individual to climb, jump, and crawl through the course.

▪︎Hiking and Nature Walks: Spending time in nature, going for hikes, or taking leisurely walks in a park can provide a holistic whole body movement experience while connecting with the outdoors.

▪︎Swimming: Swimming is an excellent full-body workout that can be both enjoyable and therapeutic for one and all. The water provides relaxation and lot of sensory input and promotes muscle strength and coordination.

▪︎Martial Arts: Many people find martial arts like karate, judo, or taekwondo to be highly beneficial. These disciplines emphasize discipline, focus, and physical activity.

▪︎Biking: Riding a bicycle is a great way to get cardiovascular exercise, improve balance, and experience the world from a different perspective.

▪︎Skating: Skating is another full-body workout that can be enjoyable, recreational and a competitive sport for anyone.

▪︎Group Activities: Participating in group activities such as team sports or group fitness classes can encourage social interaction and teamwork while promoting whole body movement.

All in all, whole body movement activities, such as walking and other forms of exercise, offer numerous benefits to everyone. Moreover, these activities can help regulate sensory experiences, improve social skills, reduce anxiety, and enhance overall well-being in individuals with autism. It is quite essential for parents to recognize the diverse needs of their child and adapt physical activities to their preferences, allowing them to enjoy the positive impact of physical activity on their lives.
By promoting and incorporating whole body movement activities, we can contribute to the overall health and quality of life of ourselves and our children, as it is not only beneficial but also can be a lot of fun. It’s essential to tailor activities to the child’s specific needs and preferences and ensure that they are comfortable and enjoying the experience. By making whole body movement a regular part of their routine, people can lead healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives.

I will be delving further into the topic of whole-body movement and its integration into both my daily routine and my son Yuvaan’s. I will also explore how mothers can allocate time to prioritize movement in their schedules. I appreciate your support for today’s blog and welcome your comments and valuable feedback.

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi
Founder SpecialSaathi


Empowering Young Talents: online Artwork exhibition by Children from Srinivaspuri Slums

In a heartwarming showcase of creativity and talent, the children from the slums of Srinivaspuri recently participated in the AwarenessSaathi Art workshop, a unique initiative conducted during the Durga Navmi and Vijayadashmi celebrations by SpecialSaathi and Maqaam Foundation. Under the guidance of renowned artist Niyaz Hussain, these young artists proved that art knows no boundaries and that talent can flourish in even the most challenging circumstances. Their artwork serves as a testament to the transformative power of artistic expression and the importance of nurturing creativity in every corner of society.

Srinivaspuri Delhi, is home to a diverse and vibrant community. However, it also grapples with the harsh realities of poverty and lack of access to basic amenities. Amid these challenges, the children of the slums find solace and inspiration in the little things, and one such source of inspiration was the AwarenessSaathi Art workshop.

The Workshop

The AwarenessSaathi Art workshop was a part of the Durga Navmi and Vijayadashmi celebrations organized by SpecialSaathi and Maqaam Foundation, two non-profit organizations dedicated to uplifting marginalized communities. Artist Niyaz Hussain, well-known for his commitment to community-driven art initiatives, took the lead in guiding the young talents through the creative process.

The workshop aimed not only to introduce the children to the world of art but also to create awareness about the power of artistic expression in building self-confidence, fostering imagination, and promoting unity within the community. The children were provided with art supplies, encouragement, and a safe space to unleash their creativity.

The Artwork

The resulting artwork is nothing short of spectacular. These young artists, ranging in age from 3 to 15 years, produced a diverse range of pieces, from colorful paintings to fine sketches in less than half an hour time. The theme of the workshop was Festivals of Navratri, Vijayadashmi and Diwali.

Beyond the immediate joy of creating art, the workshop provided them with an opportunity to express themselves, believe in their abilities, and gain confidence.
Moreover, this initiative was a reminder that talent and potential are not confined to privileged backgrounds. It emphasized the importance of providing opportunities for all, regardless of their socio-economic status, to explore and nurture their talents.

SpecialSaathi and Maqaam Foundation’s initiative is a reminder that every child, regardless of their circumstances, holds immense potential, and with the right support and opportunities, they can create beautiful art that not only reflects their experiences but also adds color and vibrancy to their lives. This event serves as an inspiration for us all to continue supporting and nurturing the talents of young minds, wherever they may be found.

Glimpses of the artworks

Read more about this event in “Empowering Lives: AwarenessSaathi Initiative event”


Expanding Opportunities for Inclusion through the Arts

Arts have played a role in creating opportunities for inclusion for Ananth for many years.
Ananth has been learning Bharatanatyam for over ten years. Dance has played an important role in Ananth’s life because he needs the structured, consistent movement experience. Dance has also expanded opportunities for participating in community events as an observer and as a performer. The opportunities have increased significantly since he joined Ramana Sunritya Aalaya (RASA) founded by Dr. Ambika Kameshwar. The eco-system that she has created over more than three decades has created many opportunities for Ananth to perform. His opportunities have also expanded because Dr. Ambika Kameshwar has developed Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD). Ananth has also performed in three theatre performances since August 2021.

This week has been an eventful one for us.
• Ananth participated in a group dance at the Ramana Maharshi Center for Learning, Bengaluru.
• He also performed at a Mehendi function in Chennai.
24/10/2023 2023 Yogambikai (Vijayadashami Function Ramana Maharshi Center for Learning)
Ananth participated in the Vijayadashami Function at the Ramana Maharshi Center for Learning (RMCL) for the first time. He has been learning Bharatanatyam from Sri Ujwal Jagadeesh, Senior Artist and Faculty at RMCL for over a year. It was exciting to perform with RMCL students for the first time on Vijayadashami.
26/10/2023 Ganesha Stuti (Manu Sekar and Neeraja’s Wedding Mehendi Function)
Ananth also had an opportunity to perform at the Mehendi function at Manu Sekar and Neeraja’s wedding. Manu Sekar is the Founder and CEO of HashHackCode, an organization that teaches coding and web development to indidviduals with different abilties.
He performed Ganesha Stuti which he had performed earlier in our community Ganesha Chaturthi celebration.

26/10/2023 Yogambikai (Manu Sekar and Neeraja’s Wedding Mehendi Function)

TAHD and Ananth’s Journey
Sri Ujwal Jagadeesh is a senior TAHD facilitator. He incorporates storytelling as an integral part of his Bharatanatyam classes. Ananth shares stories integrated with music and dance on his Youtube channel. In fact, Ananth’s Youtube channel happened because of the TAHD approach to Bharatanatyam. Rather than traditional dance performances, Ananth can share creations integrating theatre arts tools (movement and dance, music and rhythm, storytelling, drama, arts and crafts).
L: Learning daily
Daily learning has expanded beyond Bharatanatyam. Ananth now learns and practices storytelling regularly. Ananth has started his diploma in Bharatanatyam. These learning experiences have helped him evolve his learning and practice approach as he moves into his diploma course.
I: Interests
Ananth’s interest in Bharatanatyam has expanded to include storytelling and drama.
F: Family interactions
Stories on Youtube channel, drama performances, and dance performances are all ways to engage family members in Ananth’s experiences.
E: Engagement with community
TAHD has significantly expanded Ananth’s opportunities for engaging communities. The Youtube channel is a systematic way to engage neurodivergent learners and their families. Performances provide opportunities to interact with many people in the RASA/RMCL ecosystem.

Dr. Dasaratha Rama is a professor and home educator. She was the editor of a monograph on service-learning published by the American Association of Higher Education. This monograph was a part of a series of monographs on service-learning published by AAHE. She was also an Engaged Scholar with the Campus Compact, an association in the US dedicated to higher education civic and community engagement at colleges and universities. She has served as the Chair of the Teaching and Curriculum Section of the American Accounting Education. She is a certified leader in systems thinking, mapping, and leadership under a program offered by Cabrera Research Lab. She is currently doing a certificate in Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD) from RASA (Ramana Sunritya Aalaya).

Ananth Raghunandan is a student ambassador for RASA and TAHD. Ananth Raghunandan will be starting a diploma in Bharatanatyam shortly.

Their journey from homeschooling to collaborators and co-creators continues!

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ParentSaathi lessons

Exploring different categories Modelling- Hands on Avaz lessons- 2

ParentSaathi Lesson 2 on Avaz app

Exploring different categories Modelling and Worksheets involving different categories.

Prashanthi Vankamamidi