Preliminary study was conducted to assess the influence of intervention programme on self esteem of sensory challenged and non-disabled children attending inclusive schools in Bangalore city. The sample consisted of 20 children (10 Sensory Challenged and 10 non-disabled children) in the age group of 10-15years. Purposive sampling procedure was used to select the sample. Rosenberg’s self-esteem scale was used to assess the self-esteem of sensory challenged and non-disabled children. The research design for the present study included a pre and post-test with an intervention programme. Data collected was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The study revealed that the intervention programme had positive influence on self-esteem of sensory challenged and non-disabled children. The result of the present study highlights the need for emphasizing and fostering self-esteem of sensory challenged and non-disabled children.
Keywords: Sensory Challenged Children (SCC), Inclusive Education (IE), Self-Esteem (SE).
Sensory Challenged Children (SSC) are defined as those “who are deaf-blind, deaf, hearing impaired and visually impaired”. It refers to children with varying degrees of vision and hearing losses. The type and severity differs from child to child and due to the impairment, sensory challenged children are recognized as one of the least visible, yet most potent factors in educational marginalization. Education is a fundamental right of every child (sensory challenged and non-disabled children) and it is one of the core components for social and interpersonal development of a child. Hence access to education for sensory challenged children should be provided regardless of their social status, gender and his/her diversified abilities or impairments. Therefore in 1994 ‘The Salamanca Declaration’ encouraged governments to design education systems that respond to diverse needs so that all students can have access to regular schools through “Inclusive Education” (Richard Rieser, 2008). Inclusion is a philosophy which views diversity of strengths, abilities and needs as desirable as possible, bringing to any community the possibility to develop which leads to learning and growth (Julius, 2007).
UNESCO (2009) defines Inclusive Education as an ongoing process aimed at offering quality education for all while respecting diversity and the different needs and abilities, characteristics and learning expectations of the students and communities, eliminating all forms of discrimination. Its approach is based on a growing body of evidence which shows that inclusive education not only provides the best educational environment, including for children with impairments, but also contributes to breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes. This is possible only in school environment where children can be allowed to grow together. Hence the concept of inclusive school plays an integral part, in influencing the sensory challenged and non-disabled children’s psycho-social development thus enabling them to be competent not only in their academic aspects but also in their social and interpersonal relationship which can fosters their self-esteem.
The development of ‘self’ is very unique and is shaped by experiences (Katz, 1995). Self-esteem is a concept used to describe a personality variable that captures the way a person generally feels about himself/herself, or the way a person may evaluate his/her abilities and attributes (Lauren DiMaria, 2011). Self-esteem is not innate, but rather it has to be enhanced through ones awareness, encouragement, involving oneself, by developing a sense of trust and providing a supportive environment to explore in the school community. It is a degree to which both sensory challenged and non-disabled children feel accepted and valued by their peers. Children who lack self-esteem have a stunted psychological growth and children positive self-esteem develop resistance, strength and capacity for regeneration (Nathaniel Branden, 2013). Elbaum and Vaughn (2001) stated that with improved grades comes improved self-esteem and adolescent’s self-esteem improves consequently with the improvement of his or her overall sense of happiness. Likewise Baumeister et.al (2003) also affirmed that the relationship involving self-esteem and academic results does not signify that high self-esteem contributes to high academic results. It simply means that high self-esteem may be accomplished due to high academic performance due to the other variables of social interactions and life events affecting this performance. Further Gurp (2001) also found that hard-of-hearing students who take mainstream English classes have higher self-esteem than students who take special classes. Therefore when both sensory and non-disabled children learn together in the same school, they develop a greater understanding, have integrity, develop tolerance, take pride in their accomplishments, seek challenge and develop respect for each other. Thus it is significant for Inclusive schools to create a conductive environment and develop appropriate intervention strategies which can foster the self-esteem of both sensory challenged and non-disabled children. As a result an attempt has been made in the present research to study the influence of intervention programme on self-esteem of sensory challenged and non-disabled children in an inclusive school.
The present study aims to assess the influence of intervention programme on self-esteem of sensory challenged and non-disabled children in an inclusive school. The samples for the present study comprised of 20 children (10 sensory challenged girls and 10 non-disabled girls) who are in the age bracket of 10-15 years. Samples were selected from Seva Ashram High School, Bangalore city, catering to inclusive educational needs of both sensory challenged and non-disabled children. The samples were identified as sensory challenged based on the medical test conducted and certified by the ophthalmologist and audiologist. Sensory challenged children were selected through purposive sampling technique and further non-disabled children were selected through systematic random sampling.
The pre and post-test method with an intervention programme was used. Personal rapport was established with the children so as to create a comfort zone and to elicit required information. Sensory challenged and non-disabled children identified for the study were observed both within the classroom as well as outside the classroom environment with the help of the Rosenberg’s self-esteem scale.
The intervention programme was planned to develop appropriate strategies so as to enhance the self-esteem of both sensory challenged and non-disabled children. The samples were introduced to concepts such as good qualities, self-motivation, healthy competition, identifying and developing their personal qualities and positive development towards aspects such as games, exams, etc using various techniques such as group activities, constructive games (Building blocks) and physical activities. The concept was introduced with the time duration of one hour a day and was given for 3days a week. Concepts were introduced one after the other and the sessions conducted as a part of intervention programme was interactive and brainstorming in nature with the total involvement of both sensory challenged and non-disabled children. Both sensory challenged as well as non-disabled children were given incentives such as school supplies and were praised wherever they performed well so as to provide encouragement, motivation and in turn to enhance their self-esteem.
A questionnaire was developed to collect baseline information of both sensory challenged and non-disabled children. Rosenberg self-esteem scale (Rosenberg, 1965) was used to assess the self-esteem which was based on ten item likert scale with items answered on a four point scale-from strongly agrees to strongly disagree to assess the self-esteem of both sensory challenged and non-disabled children. Self-esteem scale consisted of 5 positive statements and 5 negative statements.
Rating scores were given to the items of self-esteem as Strongly Agree – 3, Agree – 2, Disagree – 1, and Strongly Disagree – 0. The positive items were given the scoring of 3-0 and negative items were given the score o f 0-3 respectively.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Basic profile of the respondents
100% of respondents of both sensory challenged group and non-disabled group were in the age bracket of 14-15 years, whereas 80% of the respondents under sensory challenged were visually impaired. Majority of respondents (40%) had 3 siblings under sensory challenged and 30% of respondents had 2 and 4 siblings from non-disabled group. when it comes to ordinal position of the respondents 60% of respondents under sensory challenged and 30% of respondents under non-disabled group were second born.
Family profile of the respondents
With respect to the family profile of the respondents 90% of sensory challenged and 70% of non-disabled respondents were from nuclear family. The data obtained in the present study clearly indicates reflect on the changing trends in the family system. 80% of fathers and 90% of mothers from sensory challenged group and 90% of fathers and 100% of mothers from non-disabled group had an educational qualification up to 7th standard. With regard to the parents occupation majority 100% of fathers from both the group were working whereas 70% of mothers from sensory challenged group and 100% of mothers from non-disabled group were working. In the area of family income majority 70% of respondents from sensory challenged and 60% of respondent’s family had income of less than Rs.5000.
Table 1. Comparison of Self-esteem between the Sensory Challenged and Non-disabled Children
|Self Esteem||Experimental Group||Sensory Challenged Children||Non-disabled Children||P value|
|Pre test||15.10 ± 3.67||14.50 ± 2.64||0.170771|
|Post test||16.40 ± 3.86||14.80 ± 3.01||0.233622|
The above table depicts the mean scores of self-esteem of both pre and post test. At the time of pre-assessment data indicates that there is a non significant difference in self-esteem scores of both sensory challenged and non-disabled children. At the time of post test there has been an improvement among the sensory challenged when compared to non-disabled children. This could be attributed to the fact that the sensory challenged children are more sportive and have a desire to learn in order to be more independent in nature because of their impairment and as such an improvement was seen in their self-esteem unlike their non-disabled peers who are comfortable the way they are.
The results of the study with a smaller sample clearly indicates that opportunity provided for both sensory challenged and non-disabled children to learn in an inclusive school will not only enable them to enhance their self-concept but also help them in improving their self-esteem which is the crux for forming, molding and shaping the personality during the early years of life. According to Melinda Cali (2013) children with positive self esteem behave better and have better attitudes about learning.
Further the study also signifies that the intervention module developed by using various techniques such as brain storming, group games and physical activity has reinforced concepts such as self-motivation, self-worth, positive development and healthy competition so as to enhance their self-esteem among both sensory challenged and non-disabled children which is found to be very effective.
Self-esteem is critical to children’s development. It is related to children’s feelings of belonging to a group and being able to adequately function in their group. As children grow they become increasingly sensitive to the evaluations of their peers. Hence inclusive school plays a very important role in fostering positive self-esteem among both sensory challenged and non-disabled children by taking into account the emotional well being, by accepting, caring, encouraging. Further results of the present study highlighted that intervention programme has influenced in fostering self-esteem among both sensory challenged and non-disabled children. Thus it can be inferred that with appropriate early intervention programme, sensory challenged children can be trained to be more self reliant and independent in nature which will enable them to enhance their self-esteem thereby helping them to develop identity of their own among peers in the school community.
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 Research Scholar, Department of Human Development (recognized as Research Centre), Smt. V.H.D. Central Institute of Home Science, Seshadri Road, Bangalore.
 Associate Professor, Department of Human Development (recognized as Research Centre), Smt. V.H.D. Central Institute of Home Science, Seshadri Road, Bangalore.