We strongly believe in an inclusive and integrated education for all children, where they can share their joy, help each other overcome challenges and live in harmony with each other. We also believe in the uniqueness children bring to diversify and develop their group of peers. This uniqueness can be the language they speak or the way they explore the world and solve problems. From this viewpoint each child, including those of special rights, are a wonderful resource and valuable opportunity for the whole class.
A special rights child is a child that, during their development, faces difficulties in body and movement control, language, communication, behavior and social interactions, emotional regulation, adaptation to the environment, cooperation with adults and peers. These difficulties can be temporary or may persist for a long period of time and indicate that the child needs and has the right for special support in order to fully develop their potential.
Here at Little Em’s, we have developed a specific program to integrate children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs F84.0 based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Diseases – DSM-V, 2013), indicating difficulties in social interaction, language and communication and restricted and/or repetitive behaviors. We enroll in our classes ASDs children requiring low or substantial level of support (level 1 and 2 of DSM-V), accompanying them with a special teacher in a ratio of 1 teacher to 2 special rights children.
Once a special rights child joins Little Em’s Pre-school, Dr. Simona Bossoni, our Special Rights Program Director and Head of the Children Developmental Department of Gia Khang International Hospital in District 7 (GIH), helps the family and the child to follow the best procedure in order to receive a proper diagnosis and a complete functional evaluation at the hospital based on the most reliable tests available in the world today. This functional evaluation covers all the developmental areas, including gross and fine motor skills, expressive and receptive language, social and playing skills, cognition and personal independence according to the Early Start Denver Model approach (ESDM). This functional evaluation will be followed by an educational evaluation at Little Em’s to help parents and teachers understand the child’s adaptation, their skills and difficulties that may occur in our pre-school environment.
Dr. Simona Bossoni works closely with our special rights teachers to provide them with expertise and strategies to support the autistic child in their growth. Together with teachers and the family, we will create an Individualized Education Program (I.E.P.) for each child and we monitor the progress every 4 months or depending on the necessities of the child. The I.E.P. consists of the strategies and the adaptations that the child will need to fully integrate into the Reggio Emilia Approach® curriculum with other children, based on their abilities. We regularly work with parents and external experts to effectively develop the child where our goal is for each autistic child to enjoy their time at Little Em’s, have the opportunity to see the world through their own eyes and begin their pathways to actualizing their talents such as history-making people like Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Steve Jobs, Michelangelo, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Isaac Newton, and many more … who were on the autism spectrum.
Approximately 10% of children at Little Em’s are of special rights. These children have the opportunity to enjoy all curriculum activities, explore and develop projects with their peers, and vice versa. This non-discriminative approach brings benefits to all children, regardless of their developmental specificity. Children with special rights will feel a sense of belonging to the community of all children, gain confidence and learn how to successfully solve problems with their classmates. Dialectically, ‘regular’ children will develop the respect for diversity, the ability to pay attention to their specific way of communication, and non-verbal negotiation skills.
A child with special rights is a treasure for all children and a unique opportunity to creatively develop the 100 languages of the entire school. Research shows that children who enjoy diversity in their community and experience tolerance towards their peers in childhood usually become more caring and emotionally intelligent adults, and as a result have a greater chance to become successful leaders.