How do we perceive and measure abilities, skills, intelligence?
How is the functioning of the sensorial channels and their connection among one another related to what we call intelligence? Is intelligence a function or a real inner state of the human being?
Are the sensorial channels responsible only for the conveying of intelligence or do they influence its development?
What is the difference between a high- functioning autistic child and a normal talented child?
I’m putting questions on this table, which even scientists or psychologist cannot answer satisfactorily.
As a teacher for special needs I know from daily practice that if we would set an intelligence test there might be fields of it, such as, for example visual or auditive memory, in which the first child would have better results than the second one. He will have very low results in the fields which requests sensorimotor coordination.
A similar discrepancy, though with a difference in the distribution of the skills and abilities, will be seen between a child with attentive disorders with hyperactivity and a ‘normal ‘ child. They cannot sit and the writing is boring for them , but they could tell you anything that happened in the classroom, things which you would never notice…and they will have a special kin logic in telling you events or describing people.
The acquirement of school knowledge through reading and writing, through listening to prosaic talks being compelled to sit, etc…will put, we all know it, these children into a condition of disadvantage.
A similar disadvantage by the reading and writing will have children with dyslexia, for example.
That’s why in Italy we stress the importance of compensative and dispensing measures and means, for all children who present specific learning disorders. Science tells us, they have the same or sometimes better cognitive potential than the children who present an average cognitive profile. Also autistic children sometimes present a cognitive profile similar to children with specific learning disorders.
Compensation and dispensation are very important, they are functionally necessary and ethically due but…
We should not forget that the body and the mind are endowed to be in permanent transformation. It is very unlikely that we will be able to delete the disturbance / the disability but we can diminish the discrepancy of the cognitive profile of the above mentioned children by training their minds and their bodies through what we call therapy, or I would say, a body- mind – spirit training , which is specifically attentive to the development of the learning skills and processes.
And that is why I went to Pondicherry to the Sri Aurobindo International Education Centre: to understand and learn how the educators of the centre use yoga to help children with or without disabilities in unfolding and developing not only their cognitive abilities and competences but something more: their human potential.