News Our response to the corona crisis

Schools are not only places for academic teaching and learning, but also for social-emotional and other kinds of learning. Schools provide structure with daily routines. This is important for all children, but especially for children with disabilities and learning difficulties. In addition, schools offer vital one-to-one support for children who needs such. During the corona-virus pandemic when schools are closed, learning should not stop.

Many regular schools use – often newly developed – online programmes to help children to continue learning, if possible, with the support of parents. Most Niketan families are poor families and have no computers, while programmes may not be accessible for children with disabilities and learning difficulties or sufficiently adapted to the unique needs of these children.

As a response, Niketan staff is going the extra mile. Families with children/youth with disabilities are called 3 times a week to find out how families are coping – also in terms of food security and safety of the children/youth with a disability at home. A short, standardized questionnaire is used to monitor whether and if so, how the situation is changing for a family. Financial support is being provided for families who need it to buy food and/or medication or hygiene products.

Alternative programmes have been developed is a short period of time. Physiotherapists and teachers explain during their regular calls what therapy exercises to do with the children and what activities to implement that enable children to continue learning at home. Activities may focus e.g. on language use stimulation, developing improved cognitive skills or enhancing physical functioning. Short video-messages are sent to explain what parents are expected to do and parents are asked to send short video-clips back, showing how children are exercising and learning at home.

Also read how the coronavirus pandemic affects inequality in Bangladesh

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