Saturday, April 8, 2017

#AtoZ Challenge: Inspiring Indian Women : H for Harini Mohan

Harini Mohan
 Harini Mohan is has been associated with the Madras Dyslexia Association ( MDA).

What makes Harini inspiring?
Her passion for teaching made her to take up training with Madras Dyslexia Association In the year 1999 to learn how to teach children with Dyslexia.
Over the last three years, she has had the privilege of representing MDA and interacting with several Organizations and institutions in India and she been able to receive support and commitments from well-meaning individuals and institutions.

Till date she has done programs in about 150 schools and has also spoken about dyslexia in 15 Rotary clubs and 8 Corporates.  

She has helped many children,  some of  them have gone onto become Engineers, Fashion designers and Lawyers

Children are constantly observed by their teachers…even more so than their own parents. Naturally, the first person to figure out if the child is suffering from any specific learning disabilities (SLD) is the teacher, according to Harini Mohan, a special educator at the Madras Dyslexia Association (MDA), who talks to us about the different levels of SLD — mild, moderate and severe dyslexia.

Mild dyslexia is when the child’s difficulties are identified at an early stage and with a little help from the teacher it can be rectified. A moderately dyslexic child will go to school like other kids, but needs some extra remedial attention after school hours. Severe dyslexia is where a child needs special individual attention from the tutor, not just with text books and school but with skills like reading, writing, learning or spelling.

Training primary school teachers in special education also makes learning more fun for kids without SLD,” adds Harini. “Colours, audio-visual and body language are the key elements to help these kids rather than the usual chalk and talk.” Despite a large number of learning centers in Chennai for kids with SLD, awareness about learning disorders is low, and as a result, diagnosis.

According to the General Education Statistics of Tamil Nadu, around 66 lakh children study in Tamil medium schools, out of which 10% to 15 % of them dyslexic.
The MDA is now reaching out to these children by developing a 'Tamil Remedial Kit'. Armed with techniques and materials, the kit is prepared using a multi-sensory structured approach. It is designed to include colourful flash cards, books and audio-visual games, making it interesting for children to learn concepts. Experts say colours enhance the memory.

Through this project, the MDA will be able to train teachers in Tamil medium schools, help children with dyslexia overcome their difficulties in the areas of reading, writing and spellings.

Speaking about dyslexia, Kaveri Padmanabhan, principal of Vanavani Matriculation School, IIT Madras campus, said, "In the pursuit of academic excellence, schools are often guilty of neglecting the needs of children with learning difficulties. Two years ago, at Vanavani, when we were faced with this harsh truth, we decided to address the issue and in association with the MDA trained our teachers and set up a resource room."

MDA special educator Harini Mohan said, "Dyslexics have immense potential. They are creative and out-of-the-box thinkers. They have minds that love colour and creativity."

Dyslexia is characterized by difficulty in learning to read fluently and with accurate comprehension despite normal or above-average intelligence. Dyslexics do not have a visible handicap as a result of which the condition can often go unrecognized.

These children get labelled as 'lazy', 'dull' or 'stubborn'. With early and accurate diagnosis and appropriate help, a dyslexic person can learn to cope with the condition and function successfully in the mainstream of life.

Harini was recently conferred with Women Achiever's Award on the Women's Day this year by Inner Wheel Clubs of District 323.




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