SENS - Special Educational Needs Society

Education

A. Teaching method

  • Individual education program (IEP)
  • Child-centered - according to the child's learning modalities
  • Multi-sensory
  • Structured - from easy to difficult so that the child is never faced with failure
  • Phonetic and global approach to reading
  • Positive
  • Fun learning through play and games
  • Single medium (English)
  • Based on real-life situations
  • Individualised attention and small group teaching
  • Continuous assessment and non-competitive approach
  • Self-Evaluation for pupils and teachers
  • Self-corrective method for the child

B. Assessment

Assessment is open to all children who are in a failure situation at school. The society welcomes mostly children with learning disabilities or behavioural problems : 

  • dyslexia
  • hyperactivity
  • attention deficit disorder
  • emotional problems
  • slow learners
  • gifted children
  • epilesy

Formal assessment is given to children aged 4-12 for evaluating:

  • non-verbal activity
  • verbal activity of the child in Creole, French and English
  • mental age
  • reading and spelling ages
  • fine motor development
  • sound discrimination
  • visio-spatial sequential skills
  • knowledge of common sequences and shapes
  • laterality and gross motor skills
  • socialisation and behabiour

Concentration and relaxation skills are observed, eye contact and body language noted. The parent's interview is an inportant part of the assessment procedure. It gives a good idea of the family background. A comprehensive report is drawn up, following medical and therapeutic assessment and recommendations transmitted to parents. Documented referrals to professionals or other appropriate institutions are often made. 


C. Computer literacy

The computer lessons follow our English programme. All children learn to touch type. S.E.N.S provides software specially designed for users with learning disabilities. 


D. Holistic Development of the child

S.E.N.S' program aims at a holistic development of the child through :

  • Creativity
  • Yoga
  • Sports and Games
  • Drama/storytelling
  • Dance and music 

In 1992, S.E.N.S went ahead informally at the initiative of Drs. François Ip and Charles Yip Tong, Rev. Jacques Harel, Sister Visitation, Mr. Abdul Rahim Imbrahimsah, Mr. and Mrs. Dev Virahsawmy, Mr. and Mrs Philippe Forget and the late Miss Ina Mestry. 

The school programme

S.E.N.S started by giving part time support to 25 pupils with special needs on a part-time basis. As from January 1996, full time special needs classes were started in government and RCA mainstream schools, in partnership with S.E.N.S. Unfortunately, due to lack of qualified teachers and lack of funds, these classes have been suspended. 
Remedial and therapeutic help has been given to pupils outside school hours at S.E.N.S centres. 
Full time classes have been operational at Ruth School in Rose-Hill since September 2001. 
The number of pupils attending the school has increased to 112 in 2014. They may attend the school for a short or long period according to their needs. 
After termly evaluation, admission may be renewed or the pupil may be prepared for mainstreaming.
Since its foundation, several hundreds of teachers have been trained by S.E.N.S and are giving appropriate support to pupils within the society and in Mauritius generally. 


Therapeutic activities

As from 1992, multidisciplinary group therapy was organised. At first, the Society had no centres and ran these activities on various premises graciously lent to her, namely : 

  • in 1996, the Rose-Hill Special Needs Centre situated in Evershine Gallery became operational
  • in 1997, a second centre began functionning at Albion Docks, Port Louis
  • in 1998, the Rose-Hill centre moved to a rent free location at 200, Royal Road, Beau-Bassin.

All activities are now held at Ruth School, Rose-Hill. 

We have welcomed for group therapy : 

  • Children attending mainstream schools for one full day a week and on Saturday mornings
  • After school hours for other children attending mainstream schools

A Special Needs centre was operational in Rodrigues as from 1999, and offered services within school premises on a part-time basis. An office had been graciously lent by Rodrigues administration, just as both centres in Mauritius have been made available by generous private sponsors. However, since 2004, due to lack of teachers and benevolent persons, Rodrigues centre is no longer operational. 

Regular attendance of parents at workshops organised by the society allows fruitful cooperation between S.E.N.S and the parents in the rehabilitation process. 

Art, dance, music, yoga, swimming and sports are amongst the methods used for physical and psychological rehabilitation. Professional therapists together with semi-benevolent persons in the respective fields organise these activities. Group and individual therapy sessions are run by professionals on a regular basis at Ruth School. 


Assessment

At first, S.E.N.S teachers trained in the various seminars, participated in holistic assessment of children with learning disabilities and behavioral problems, under the supervision of professional therapists for initial and continuous assessment. They devise both individual and group remedial programs for most of the pupils while others are referred to other institutions. S.E.N.S welcomes a percentage of pupils with multiple handicaps. 

The objective of S.E.N.S is to help the child with learning difficulties to develop independent living and learning skills. S.E.N.S offers services in the following fields : 

  • assessment
  • information and referrals
  • educational and therapeutic activities
  • family therapy and parents workshops
  • teacher training

The pre-alpha full-time class is designed to welcome children who have not acquired pre-primary skills, whereas the alpha classes are open to children who are ready to read and write. Children may follow on to the omega class. 

Part-time remedial classes and therapeutic activities are open to children attending ordinary schools. Full time classes are run at "Ruth School" in Rose-Hill. Special living skills programs for children from under privileged families are set up on a short-term basis. 

Because S.E.N.S aims at holistic wellbeing of the child, our program is not exam-oriented. Academic achievement is only one facet of the child's development. 

S.E.N.S' project needs: 

1. Parents as partners to achieve its objectives:

  • Parents' workshops with guest speakers and empowerment activities
  • Individual and family counselling.

2. Good communication with mainstream school:

  • Letter to school head teacher requesting a report on child
  • Letter to school head teacher requesting regular early release for part-time help
    OR
  • Letter to school head teacher requesting temporary transfer to a full time class, and
  • Telephone calls, correspondence or visits to the child's mainstream school in view of admission to Ruth School or re-integration

3. Cooperation of sponsors and Ministry of Education:

  • A child-centered attitude is appreciated from all partners. 

 

Future prospects of S.E.N.S 

 

The objective of S.E.N.S in the coming years is to continue defending the rights of children with special educational needs. A memorandum of requests was submitted to the Ministry of Education 17th May 1994 concerning the rights of exceptional children. It was followed by many others requesting action in the following fields : 

  • early screening
  • regionalisation of services
  • per capita grant-in-aid
  • training for therapists and teachers
  • tax rebates and corporate social responsibility (CSR) facilities
  • legislation

The society has been constantly campaigning to obtain equal opportunities for both special needs pupils and their teachers. It is our aim to have set up, by all those responsible for education, the necessary facilities fort inclusion of every exceptional child. S.E.N.S will continue requesting easy access to special needs services in all schools in Mauritius and Rodrigues, whether public, confessionnal or private. 

Regionalisation of such services would cut costly transport for parents and/or their wards. In order for S.E.N.S and other NGO's to open new integrated schools district wise on the model of Amar Jyoti effective and sustained government cooperation is necessary. 

Over and above parent contributions, individual and corporate, sponsorship is still needed to supplement the inadequate Ministry of Education per capita grant-in-aid. 

A firm state commitment to enshrine the sacred rights of every Mauritian child to appropriate education according to his needs and capabilities is long overdue. Meanwhile, S.E.N.S shall persevere in modestly serving these exceptional children with the help of generous sponsors. 

A. Teacher - training seminars

 

  • 1992 : Doctor Beve Hornsby in collaboration with the Hornsby Centre
  • 1994 : Mrs Hazel Mackay in collaboration with the Hornsby Centre
  • 1995 : Local resource persons
  • 1996 : Two seminars with Mrs. Susan Skehan Special Needs Tutor at MIE and local resource persons
  • 1997 : First French medium remedial program seminar in collaboration with tutors from France, Reunion Island and local resource persons
  • 1998 : Video seminar (1997 conferences)
  • 1999 : Rodrigues seminar in collaboration with Mrs Thembelike Mutloatse of Witwatersrand University, R.S.A

As from 2001 to date, in-house on-going training of all S.E.N.S teachers is done with local guest speakers, therapists and senior special needs teachers. 


B. Information

  • Talks in schools for teachers and parents
  • Radio and Mauritius College of the Air educational and information programs
  • Press and Public conferences
  • Interview of members of S.E.N.S on internet, radio, TV, newspapers
  • Activities under the aegis of United Way, MACOSS and Ministry of Social Security
  • NGO networks (Inclusion Mauritius, Mauritius Mental Health Association) 

 

Members pay a monthly contribution on a means tested basis. This payment is not sufficient to cover recurrent expenditure. S.E.N.S receives a partial grant-in-aid from the Ministry of Education and a subsidy for capital expenses from the Ministry of Social Security. Moreover, the society organises fund-raising events such as charity dinner, flag days, lotteries and hampers. Several generous individuals help needy children to pay membership fees. Service clubs, corporate sponsors, foreign embassies and government also contribute in financing the society's capital expenses. 

Nos actus
Contactez cette ONG
  • Président
    Jackie Forget
  • Responsable
    Zeenat Sairally
  • Adresse

    Sir Charles Lees Street, Rose-Hill

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