Published: 07th September 2020
Madras Dyslexia Association adopts traditional games to teach children with special needs
Significant improvements were recorded in key areas such as children's overall focus and concentration besides in motor skills as a result of playing some of these traditional games
The Madras Dyslexia Association has adopted Traditional Games in their remedial techniques for teaching special children. The MDA Special Educators have witnessed significant improvements with the use of traditional games, which are so vital in developing the pre-skills for all children.
The improvements include areas such as the children’s overall focus, fine motor skills from playing some of these games. Speaking about this initiative, D Chandrasekhar, President, Madras Dyslexia Association (MDA) said, “We at MDA are constantly in the process of inventing, reinventing, upgrading our remedial techniques in order to bring about the slightest difference possible in the child's development. After a long day of school, children with dyslexia come for remedial classes, and then they attend therapy classes, after which they're tutored at home and they finish their homework and whatever little time left, they'd like to spend it in front of the screen or playing against it.”
“Therefore,” Chandrasekhar said, “At our fulltime remedial center Ananya, when we make our Individualised Education Plan (IEP), we try and add in a pinch of traditional games in order to tweak their pre-skills, which are vital for the academic development. When you're working with these traditional games, we realized that they were naturally multi-modal and multi-sensory and usually cater to more than one skill. These games can be easily adapted to suit the strengths and needs of each child.”
Traditional games have a way of seamlessly teaching physical growth and development, social-emotional development, sensory-motor development, communication skills, problem-solving, concept building skills, understanding and processing skills, executive functions, perceptual readiness for learning, listening, reading and writing besides several life skills, including social skills.
How does playing traditional games benefit children- especially children with Specific Learning Disability (SLD)?
The skills developed/built through the play of traditional games are very important life skills as well as academic skills that cannot be ignored.
Some of the practices and games and their benefits include:
Ø The ritual bath, which helps develop gravity control (vestibular control), body awareness (proprioception) and midline crossing
Ø The ‘Thooli’ (baby hammock), which helps develop gravity control (vestibular control), body awareness (proprioception)
Ø ‘Pallanguzhi’ (mancala), which helps develop numeracy skills, fine motor and grapho-motor skills, midline crossing, attention and focus develop
Ø ‘Paandi’ (hopscotch), which helps develop balance, gravity control (vestibular control), proprioception, tactile stimulation, spatial awareness, focus and attention
Ø ‘Goli,’ which helps develop proprioceptive stimulation, vestibular control, fine motor control, spatial awareness, visual discrimination and tracking
Ø ‘Bambaram’ (top), which helps develop proprioception, bilateral coordination, muscle tone improvement, spatial orientation, fine motor control and attention and focus
Ø Kite flying, which helps develop large motor movement, muscle tone, spatial orientation
Ø Five stones, which helps develop attention, focus, sequential memory, multi-tasking, active working memory, eye-hand coordination, visual tracking, visual motor association, vestibular control and proprioceptive stimulation
Further, Chandrasekhar said that India is a country really rich in culture and the cultural aspects of India are not confined to art, music and architecture but also extend to play. These games do not require any expensive props and everybody could play them regardless of age or gender. They cater to specific developmental aspects needed for children, keeping in mind the geographical and cultural backdrop.