Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties that mainly affect the ability of a child to read, write and spell. Categorized as a learning disability it usually manifests as a problem in listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, or spelling or in a person’s ability to do math. Research has shown that 2 to 18 percent of children have significant difficulty in reading. A forerunner in the field of education, St. Andrews School set up the Department of Supportive Education, way back in 2007 to provide remedial instruction to students with learning difficulties. But children with more serious learning difficulties needed to be addressed independently. This realization led to the birth of Akira.
In the past, students with Dyslexia were perceived as lazy and tagged as underachievers with low intelligence. What may look like carelessness or lack of effort from the part of a student were, in fact, early indicators of Dyslexia.
Increased awareness in recent years has changed this perspective concerning Dyslexic children. Dyslexia is a mere learning difficulty and not a disability. With the right teaching techniques and learning strategies, students can easily tackle the challenges they face. Dyslexic children have proved to be quite intelligent, with average to above average intelligence. Akira understands that each child is different and has unique strengths, which have to be identified in order to tap into their academic potentials.
“Dyslexia is merely a difficulty, not a disability…” says Mrs. Alana Emanuel, the Director of Akira. Extensively trained by the Madras Dyslexia Association, Mrs. Alana is determined to make a positive difference in the lives of her students and to spread increased awareness and acceptance concerning Dyslexia.
Akira is one of a kind specialized learning centre for children facing learning difficulties. Akira also has to its credit to being the first institution in the state of Telangana, to be exclusively dedicated to Dyslexia.
Akira offers a full- time pull- out remediation program for children with Dyslexia.
The specialization that is required to handle children with learning difficulties
All teachers of Akira undergo an ‘Intensive Teacher Training Program’ at the Madras Dyslexia Association, Chennai. The course covers six weeks of theory and one week of practical, following which the teacher’s intern at Akira for a period of two months. In addition to this, the educators at Akira undergo continuous training and periodical monitoring by the MDA throughout the year. Akira also has a full time in-house occupational therapist, which is also monitored and guided by the MDA.
Apart from this the teachers of the primary and middle school of St. Andrews have also attended an awareness program and various workshops conducted by the Madras Dyslexia Association (MDA). This will enable the teachers to identify students with learning difficulties in the classroom. During this training, teachers were taught various techniques to identify children with Dyslexia. Another segment of the training included, the multi-sensory approach to learning, using auditory, visual, kinesthetic and tactile approaches. This multisensory methodology has enabled the teachers to make learning more comprehensible to all students irrespective of their academic capabilities.
Akira hopes to create a greater awareness and improve understanding of dyslexia. Our purpose is to help the community we serve to understand and support dyslexia. By raising awareness of needs of students with learning difficulties, Akira hopes to ensure more children have access to an inclusive education.