The context of the project design
Hearing-impaired, vision-impaired and Asperger children have special educational needs. Our educational curricula aim at ensuring optimum conditions for the children’s physical, intellectual, moral and social development by harnessing their individual potential. At present there are about 3,000 hearing-impaired children in Romania, with 400 children being born annually, who need programs to be designed in the fields of manual skills development, aesthetic and artistic development, as well as entrepreneurial competence. Romanian doctors have managed to make a campaign for free hearing testing and the results showed that approximately 47% of Romanians have auditory problems, which is an alarming percentage. According to specialists, the most frequent conditions were : noise trauma, various degrees of hearing impairment (slight, average, severe or even profound), otosclerosis (sclerosis of the eardrum), perforations of the eardrum. Vision-impaired children have a normal mental development if there is early intervention by auditive or tactile-kinesthetic representations. Several children in our school manifest a high cognitive development despite their other deficiencies. Asperger children have some autistic manifestations (an abnormal focus on oneself, characterized by serious communication disorders, difficulties in concentrating and interacting socially), in particular weak social skills and the tendency towards routine. In spite of all this, these children start speaking at about 2 years of age (the age when speech normally develops). Their level of intelligence is normal or above normal. In the United States research shows that 3 children out of 1000 are affected by Asperger syndrome.
Therapeutical or educational methods in the case of SEN children (special educational needs) also apply to children with metacognition, but with no deficiencies. The asynchrony between advanced cognitive skills and high emotional intensity combine to create inner experiences and consciousness that are qualitatively different from the norm. The unique quality of these children makes them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parental education, in teaching and counseling, to facilitate their optimum development. From among children with metacognitive development, the ones with visual-space representations are at risk due to their particular thinking in images: the official educational system employs words which the visual-spatials have to transform into images, to think by means of these images and then to transcribe the result into words, so that they may be evaluated by means of the words. In point of equal opportunities for children with high potential - who are children with special educational needs and high social risk – a scientific research carried out in the U.K. in 2010 (with the participation of Robert Plomin, Professor of Behavioral Genetics at King’s College, London, one of the experts involved in this project) shows that only 3% of the children with high skills become accomplished individuals, according to social norms.
- We support students in becoming aware of their own gifts;
- We see students as active persons, involved in their own education, eager to express opinions and exchange opinions;
- We respect the different manners of expression - original, personal ones - because we think, learn and create in different ways;
- We take into account the fact that the development of our own resources is influenced by what we learn and how we learn with our intelligence and, being exposed to a diversity of learning experiences will lead to amplification of this intelligence;
- We strengthen the students’ confidence in themselves, being aware that intellectual development implies stimulating their capacity to express to themselves and the others what they know, what they do and/or will do;
- We develop the students’ abilities to overcome anxiety during any type of communication;
- We promote a teaching-learning process appropriate to the students’ strong points;
- We promote respect towards the individual differences, peculiarities, abilities and values of each participant within the group.