Introduction
In the last article, you studied about exceptional children or children with special needs. You would have also understood how children with special needs are often ignored or incorrectly labeled and kept away from mainstream education. The previous article also discussed the gifted, talented, and creative children.

This article would continue the discussion on exceptional children. At the end of this article, you would be able to understand the special needs of socially and culturally disadvantaged children.

Socially and Culturally Disadvantaged


Socio-economic disadvantage can accrue due to many reasons. These include belonging to a particular economic class, social caste, gender, language, occupation (migrant children), ethnicity, and being a first generation learner. The problem multiplies when a learner belongs to more than one category. For example, agirl belonging to lower socio-economic class is more likely to face greater disadvantage than one belonging to higher socio-economic class. If we carefully observe, it would seem that most categories revolve around the economic class to which the child belongs. Caste, gender, ethnicity, language may not be as much a disadvantage if the child belongs to higher economic class. The likelihood of a child being a first generation learner is also much higher in the lower socio-economic class.

Socially and Culturally Disadvantaged children, CDP Notes, CTET Exam Notes, Child Development & Pedagogy Study Material
Socio-culturally disadvantaged children often face difficulty in learning language as they have poor communication skills. Most belong to a family where both parents are working till late in the day. Poor communication at home results in poor language learning abilities. This further influences learning in all other subject areas. Often the dialect spoken at home is different from the formal language taught in schools. 

A major disadvantage for these children is the lack of exposure resulting in lesser experiences feeding into learning at school. For example, these children may never have visited historical monuments, zoos etc. Lack of exposure may result in difficulty in understanding concepts in the classroom. They would not be able to relate to the topics in class which do not relate to their everyday life. At home, they try to study by blocking the noise in their surroundings. 

A similar phenomenon occurs in school. At a time when the teacher talks of a topic that does not interest them, they learn the art of selective attention and block out the teacher’s voice to concentrate on something else. Poor nutritional intake may lead to weakness and inability to sit still without sleeping for long.
The mid-day meal scheme of the government focuses on addressing the problem of poor calorie intake.There should be flexibility in curriculum to suit the needs and the context of the child. Flexibility should also be ensured in testing. A realistic feedback should be given but early tests should be designed to focus on achievements and providing opportunities for success. Regular contact between parents and school becomes important so that parents may be made aware of their role in facilitating the child’s education. Remedial classes particularly for languages should be arranged. Attention also needs to be paid to maintaining high self esteem amongst such children.It is most important that the teacher believes that these children are capable of performing as well as the other children if there special needs are met.

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