Wednesday, November 23, 2011



Student Support

The P.G. Diploma / Diploma and Certificate courses in CBR by distance learning will be delivered through multimedia CDs. At the beginning of the module students will be presented with:
1.     Study Guide: The study guide will provide the student with information and guidance on the specific material delivered in that module. It will provide the student with details of contents and presentation; assignments and assessment requirements; contacts; appeals and complaints procedures. This guide will also contain information on academic and professional organizations, NGOs, major journals etc.
2.     Course Material: Each module consists of series of objectives. Each objective is equivalent to one lecture. Each module is delivered as a set of CDs. However, the number of objectives, the number of CDs and the duration for each module may vary according to the structure and intellectual integrity of the material. The CDs are developed in Microsoft word to assist students to take print outs if necessary.
You will receive the following materials after registration.
1. A complete set of the course materials on CDs
2. A Study Guide
3.  Manual (printed)
For students with disability there is a Text to Speech software which is included in the study material
3.     Study materials will be sending only to Study center and not to students directly. Students are expected to collect their materials personally from the Supervisor of the Study Centre. Only One Study kit will be send. Second kit can be obtained from CBR Network with additional payment. A request letter may be send to CBR Network for this purpose.
4.     Online classrooms, NET meetings and Teleconference:
The students will have the benefit of Teleconference –a two-way interactive academic discussion with the tutor. Every day morning from Monday to Friday online discussions are conducted to assist students to get necessary clarification. Internet meetings, debates, seminars will be held and students are encouraged to join these e-programmes to enhance their knowledge and skills.
Online classes are compulsory, at least once a week and it will be recorded by CBR Network. 50% attendance at the Study center is also compulsory and this will be recorded and reported by the Supervisor.
5.     A List of Study Centers:
There are 156 study centers throughout the country. A state wise study center list is provided to students to choose study centers closer to the community. Study centers network with other NGOs to ensure that students complete all the practical assignments. One supervisor is provided for every 40 students.

6.     Selection of Study Centre:
As a rule Bangalore University allots Study Centre chosen by the student. However, the University reserves the right to accept or reject the Study Centre chosen by the student. Changes in allotment of Study Centre should follow the guidelines given below the Study center list.
7.     Tutor support:
The tutor-student ratio will be maintained at 1:30. A course tutor is available for students to provide ongoing support. Every day Internet classes will be held in the morning from 11am – 12 Noon and in the evening from 2-3 pm. It is mandatory to attend the online classes at least once a week and discuss with the tutor.
8.     English language:
We presume that the students have good working knowledge of English. If you want to strengthen your English you may simultaneously enroll for the English learning programme offered by Bangalore University on the correspondence programme.
CBR Notes (Manual) in CD form is supplied to all Study centers. Students who have difficulty in understanding English may request the Supervisor to translate the same into the local language.
9.     Contact information:
CBR student’s assistance cell in Central College: This cell will assist the students with all information about registration to the course. This cell has a dedicated phone line with personnel who are ready to give any information concerning the above programmes. You are encouraged to call during office hours 10.30 am to 2 pm from Monday to Friday or send Emails.
Mob: 9480176133 (Suryakant Kitte)
Office: Tel: 91-80-26724221/26724273
10.  Quarterly tests will be conducted on Net. Students can down load question papers and send the answers by email or by post.
11.  Network links-Students will be informed about conferences /seminars/workshops taking place in different parts of the country and at international level and are encouraged to participate in such events at their own cost.
12.  Feedback: Students are welcome to contact CBR Network through Emails, letters, telephone etc. to clarify any doubts.
13.  BU student Blog: A dedicated blog has been created for the benefit of students and supervisors. Students can post their questions; suggestions. CBR NETWORK will use this blog to send common information, announcements, and guidelines.
14.  Contact programmes: There are two types of contact programmes. Two contact programmes for study centers are organized by CBR NETWORK. Study center will organize contact programmes for each module. Study center may organize these contact programmes by networking among them.
15.  Examination Centers: Examination centers will be in selected district Head Quarters where there are more than 100 students. Students can choose the nearest center to take the exams.
For Students outside India:
1.     Students outside India will get web based support both for Online tutorial as well as study materials.
2.     Students outside India will receive study materials only through web support. Those students desirous of receiving CDs should communicate the same to CBR Network through Email:,  
3.     Courier chargers for International students are not included in the fees.
4.     Students outside India should give the names of 3 organizations working in the field of disability where the student intends to complete the practical assignments and the name of the Supervisor from the organization. Prior approval of the Study center and Supervisor by CBR Network is essential.  
5.     Examinations: International students can take online examinations only in the Examination centers designated by Bangalore University.

Guidelines for submitting Practical records:
The following guidelines should be followed for submission of practical records for evaluation by Bangalore University.
1.     A separate practical record should be submitted for each module
2.     Printed practical records may be used or spiral bound practical records should be submitted
3.     It is preferable that typed practical records are submitted along with photos etc.
4.     Practical records may be prepared in local languages. Such records may be submitted with English synopsis of each assignment certified by Supervisors.
5.     Practical records received after last date will not be accepted

Module no.
P.G. Diploma in CBR
Completion in
Diploma in CBR/DEC
Completion in

2 years
2 years










7.      Practical examinations will be conducted  before theory exams

·      NOTE:  Expenses towards accommodation, food, Internet charges and traveling cost to study center etc. have to borne by the students. University, CBR Network or Study Centre will not be responsible for such payments.



                                   David E. Shearer, Chair
The International Portage Association

Civitan International Research Center

The University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

I have visited well over a thousand homes of families with a child with a disability in rural and urban regions in such countries as India, Turkey, Palestine, Peru, Cyprus, Japan, Guam, Bolivia, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, Canada and the United States.  In every case, no matter the circumstance, no matter the level of poverty, no matter the amount of suppression that was apparent, I discovered mothers and fathers who, without question, wanted the very best for their child and were dedicated to doing what ever was possible to enhance their child’s quality of life.

Today I think of the enormous resources that are being used to enact violence on others because we choose not to agree with them or because we choose to react to others in a violent way.  I then think of those families that I have met and worked with and how those resources could be used in a positive and constructive way to diminish the prevalence of poverty, disease, and poor education, and I ask myself, why? No one is guiltless in this dilemma, including the United States.  We must all do better in understanding and accepting each other in order to improve the quality of life for us all.

One of the most frequent questions asked is how did Portage get its name.  The original Portage model was developed in Portage, Wisconsin in the United States.  That is only coincidental to the name.  The main reason is the definition of the word Portage.  Webster’s New World Dictionary defines Portage as “The act of carrying or transporting”.  This definition is the true reason that we chose to call it the Portage project.  It wasn’t because of where it was located, but instead it was because it signified that we were developing a home based intervention model where we carried or transported the information and intervention into the home, in the child’s and family’s natural environment and carried it from professionals to parents.

The basic premise of the Portage model was and remains:

¨      Parents care about their children and want them to attain their maximum potential,
¨      Parents can, with instruction, modelling and reinforcement, learn to be more effective teachers of their own children,
¨      The economic, educational or intellectual level of the parent does not determine their willingness to teach their child nor the extent of gains the child will attain as a result of parental instruction.

Today, the Portage scheme still operates under the same premises.  In fact, in it’s beginning, most of the components of the Portage Model were thought to be revolutionary.  Such components as ongoing assessment, individualised curriculum planning, parents as the child’s primary teacher, and embedding developmental activities into the child’s and family’s daily routine are widely accepted and used by today’s early intervention programs as “standard practice”.   The components are so enmeshed in current intervention practice that professionals no longer associate them with the original Portage Model.  Indeed many early interventionists today may view Portage as “outdated” or “unfashionable” when, in fact, what they consider to be today’s accepted standards of current practice originated in the Portage Model.

So what are the key components of the Portage Model?  The key components of the original Portage model include: 

Parents as Primary Teachers:  From its inception, Portage has emphasized the parent’s role as the child’s primary teacher.  Parents as teachers can motivate children, can reinforce newly acquired skills in the home and can provide valuable information for others working with the child.  Research has shown that intensity is a critical element that is typically missing in early intervention projects.  In the Portage Model, the potential for larger and longer lasting effects in the child increases because of the amount of time spent with the parent and the amount of opportunities to practice what was learned.

The role of parents as the child’s primary teacher is not dichotomous, differentiated by presence or absence of participation.  Involvement is a continuum along which parents can progress based on their individual needs and circumstance and with the expectation that they do not wish to remain static at any given point.

Assessment: A systematic measurement of the child’s developmental status is a critical component in Portage and occurs through four types of assessment: formal – the use of a standardised instrument designed to determine the child’s strengths and needs, informal – observations of the child and how the child interacts with his environment and family members, Curriculum based – is the use of a developmental curriculum which guides the parents and teacher in planning the child’s program, and on-going – measuring the child’s progress regularly.  Information from these procedures provides the means by which a curriculum can be developed to meet the child’s individual needs. One important change in assessment is the expansion of assessment procedures beyond the individual child.
 The interrelatedness and impact of family support and the home environment upon the child’s developmental outcomes has been widely discussed.  Consequently, comprehensive assessment includes a survey of family concerns and available resources as well as evaluation of key elements in the child’s environment.

Precision Teaching Method: Precision teaching is an established approach that is based on behavioural principles and has been particularly successful with children with disabilities.  This method utilises a set of simple but effective procedures that teachers or home visitors and parents follow to identify, monitor, and make decisions about critical skills or behaviours a child needs.  All of us who work in early childhood intervention need to be reminded that development proceeds rapidly during the first years of a child’s life.  Intervention approaches that facilitate development are heavily based on theory and methodology and support a tendency toward “trial and error”.  Infants and young children cannot afford to wait 3 to 6 months to see if a particular intervention is successful.

Precision teaching reduces the use of trial and error.  It emphasises watching and recording behaviour to identify the unique strengths or problems of the child and recording their responses to determine results of the intervention.

Home Teaching Process:  The centrality of the home teaching process to the other components is not by accidental design.  The home teaching process is the “heart and soul” of Portage, the point which all of the components converge and where successful intervention occurs.  This process focuses on teaching the parents the teaching skills of particular activities so that they can serve as the child’s main teacher in the home throughout the week.

Reporting: Recording, reporting and evaluation are on going activities that provide documentation of the services to all children in a program and their families. 

Developmental Curriculum: Professionals and others often confuse the Portage materials, particularly the Portage Guide to Early Education with the Portage Model. I’d like to make it clear that the Portage Guide is not the Portage Model.  The Portage Guide can be an important part of the system but not central to the model.  In fact, we encourage the use and supplementation of other curricula because of the need to apply the Portage model to populations with specific disabilities or needs.  It is our belief that in the context and presence of the other components of the model, such substitutions and supplements expand the application of the model rather than hinder it. 

These adaptations are a result of what we have learned to be necessary services and skills that must be found in a program when serving all children with disabilities.  These adaptations have been tested and implemented in several programs in the United States and in other countries.  Because there may be several different agencies that are involved with the child and family there is a need to have someone who is coordinating these services to avoid duplication and conflicting therapies.  We have also found that the disability field at large rarely addresses the unique health care needs of young children with disabilities.
  The health services should be planned and integrated into the child’s daily routine of services.  Additionally, we have learned that staff needs to have special training in physical management and behaviour management in order to assist families with these areas in the home.

Over the years, there have been several attempts to alter the Portage Model or to change it entirely.  It is my profound belief that while we must continue to insert new curricula and assessment procedures into the model, we must not deviate from the Portage Home Visitation model itself. The founding developers of the Portage program essentially made a series of commitments and promises to the children and families that enter the Portage program.  These promises were informally made to families, professionals, communities and to the individuals themselves. 

It is my belief that if you intend to serve infants and young children and their families you are promising that you will make a difference in that child’s life.  Because it is most likely that you are the very first service provider in the family’s life, what you do with the child and family will effect the family’s skills, attitudes and future outlook for themselves and their child for the rest of the child’s life.  With this belief, I must emphasise that we should try as best as we can to eliminate as much guess work as we can to avoid the use of a trial and error approach.  This is why it is necessary to follow the Portage Model and the systematic use of its components in an organised way so that we can honestly say that we know within days that what we are trying to do with the child is actually working or not.  We can honestly say to families that they and we will know whether to proceed with an activity or to eliminate it within days.  We will also routinely know how fast the child is succeeding and where his strengths and needs are.

So what have been some of our promises to families, professionals, communities and individuals?

Our promises to families are that


Ø  We will build a partnership in the provision of the child’s program and in the decision making of what will be included in the child’s program.  Partnership has become a commonly used word in this field, but in the Portage Model, families must be partners or the program will simply not succeed.
Ø  We promise that we are committed to insuring that the child will succeed and progress and that we are concerned for his well being now and in the future.
Ø  We also promise that our focus will be on the parents and their teaching and nurturing skills. Most early intervention programs focus primarily on the child and child outcomes.  In the Portage approach, the focus is on the entire family.
Ø  Our promise is to conduct the child’s intervention in his natural environment that focuses primarily in the child’s home but also assist in helping the child learn across environmental settings.  We also promise that we will assist the child and family generalise learned skills in all of the settings in which the child lives.

Ø  And finally, we promise to support the family in not only helping their child, but in meeting their needs.  An early intervention service that only focuses on the child will not have longitudinal effects.  We must support and help the entire family in order to have lasting, positive effects with the child.
Ø  Through training and the use of a systematic approach, we promise to improve the professional’s ability to provide a comprehensive early intervention service to the children and families they serve.
Ø  We promise to develop and provide a systematic curriculum that will guide professionals in their curriculum planning and implementation.
Ø  We have continuously provided new and innovative practices into the Portage system.  However, no new practices were inserted into the model until we were convinced that they fit into the model and they were determined to be effective approaches before they became common practice in the model
Ø  We promise to train professionals in the area of adult education since, in the Portage Model, it is the adult members of the family that we are in partnership with.

 We must be informed of adult learning modes as we work with the parents of the child.  We also must know that the roll of professionals in natural environments is built upon the “coaching model” in which we transfer information and skills from the provider to the family members.

Ø  We also promise to enmesh a comprehensive early intervention delivery system into the Portage Model. In the United States, we have seen many additions and changes in what is mandated as part of a comprehensive early intervention service.  Most of these were already incorporated into the Portage Model, however as each new element was introduced, we have changed the model to accommodate this legislative change.
Ø  Our promise to the families has always been that we would provide a supportive environment for each child and family that entered our service. This addresses the need to involve the community in the child and family’s lives.  It means that we assist in planning for the child to be included in many community activities.
Ø  We promise to conduct many community awareness campaigns in helping them understand the needs and interests of children with disabilities and their families.
Ø  We are committed to helping the child to become a valued member of the community and
Ø  To assist that child to grow and develop into a contributing member of the community.
Ø  Our commitment to each and every individual in our program is that we will make every attempt to assist them in developing to their full potential.
Ø  We know that the ultimate goals of an early intervention program leads to the dignity, independence and a positive self-image of every child that enters the program. And we know that accomplishment of each of these begins in an early intervention program.  Too often, as professionals, we become concerned about dignity, independence and self-image later in the child’s life but like his over all development, these too must be enhanced right from birth.
Ø  Dignity follows learning and accomplishments and competency.
Ø  Independence only comes within a framework of meaningful relationships within the community and in the home and
Ø  The child’s self image comes with the person being successful in who he is and what he attempts to do.  This must begin in early intervention services.

I encourage you to consider these promises as you continue to work with very young children and their families.  I also encourage families to consider these same promises as they enrich their child’s life.

Today, Portage is the most recognised and used early intervention model in the world.  I suspect that there isn’t anywhere that provides special education or early intervention services that hasn’t heard of Portage.  One unique aspect of Portage is that it is complex in design but simple to implement.  People use it because it is inexpensive, because it focuses where it should, with the families in the child’s natural environment and it works!  We must keep our promises to the families and children that we serve. It is a grave responsibility. 

I hope that these comments will serve as fruit for your thoughts and discussions during this conference.  I wish I could be there to answer your questions and concerns with my comments.  I am sure that my email address can be made available to you if you wish to contact me directly.

The Headquarters of the International Portage Association has a website and we also have a comprehensive training and technical assistance service that expands throughout the world.  Should you be interested in approaching us please use the email address that is provided to you.  Currently, the IPA is working to establish training centers in several locations.  Our primary target at this time is in Nicosia, Cyprus where there is a vibrant and effective early intervention service using the Portage model. We are also negotiating two other training centers at this time.  One is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the other one is in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Each of these centers will work in partnership with the Headquarters of the IPA in serving their respective regions of the world in the provision of training and technical assistance in the development and implementation of comprehensive early intervention services. The newest development that we are very exited about is the partnership between the CBR Network, the Headquarters of the International Portage Association and the Universities of South Asia.  This effort will develop a training program for distance education in areas of CBR, Portage and inclusive education. I and my colleagues at the Headquarters of the IPA, look forward to working with you in this very important effort. 

We also hope that this is the beginning of a long and successful partnership as we work together in improving the quality of life of individuals with disabilities and their families.






(This CD and handbook is useful for families, teachers, health workers, doctors, researchers)

The normal development of a child is measured by the developmental milestones achieved by the child. When the same milestones are not achieved in the given time (as compared to other children in the community), the child may have some form of delay in the development.

This handbook is a guide on how to stimulate ‘Every child ‘to develop to its ‘fullest potential’. Some of the major areas of child development are as follows.

1.     Self help skills
2.     Socialisation development
3.     Motor development
4.     Cognitive development
5.     Language and communication

A majority of the development of the brain takes place within the womb of the mother. The balance neural development takes place within the first 2 years after birth. Most of the fundamental conceptual learning takes place in the first six years of the child's life. This forms the foundation for further development and growth of the child.
It is important to create and environment and human assistance to ensure holistic development of the child. This holistic development is important because if there is any lacunae or deficits in any area of development this will lead to difficulty in learning. Sometimes child may not perform activities in between. For example child performs 5-10 activities but cannot five and eight. This is known as idiosyncratic development

Points to note while using this handbook:

The behaviours (activities) listed here may be modified to suit the local socio-cultural practices as these may differ from region to region. However each activity should be equivalent to the activity listed.

Step-by-Step guide

1.Fill the screening forms for every child.  There are two types of forms. See annex one for the sample form. The first form is screening and second form is functional assessment form. Screening form contains simple ten questions. This screening form helps to know if there is delay in development. Each question has tree responses. Only one of out of the three responses is in a box. A tick mark on response in the box indicates that the child may have developmental delay.

2.Fill the functional assessment form only to those children who may have developmental delay. This functional assessment gives information on the functional difficulties in seeing, moving, hearing, communication, learning

3. Informal assessment. List 25 activities child can do and 25 activities child cannot do. While listing activities child can do compare the child with newborn child. List all the activities (do not forget to include even very simple tasks child performs).

A list is made of the child's strengths and weaknesses. For e.g. 14-year-old Raghu is mentally retarded. Before starting the stimulation/intervention program the parents are asked to list 25 strengths and 25 weaknesses of the child. (If the parents are illiterate, the teacher should prepare the list in consultation with the parents.) This would help the parents to focus on the strengths and abilities of the child rather than his/her disabilities. The teacher can also focus on the abilities and plan the education appropriately. Where possible the teacher should plan the education activities in consultation/partnership with the parents. This would help to reinforce the confidence of the parents in the intervention strategies being adopted.

First step in Evaluation:

 An informal assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the child as listed by the parents is made. When the child starts coming to the SHG (Self-Help Group) a detailed assessment is made.  This could be done using either of the strategies:

1.Establish current levels of learning. This is known as baseline. This baseline gives list of activities child can do in all the 5 areas of development. E.g. A child of chronological age (actual age based on date of birth) 5 may have a developmental age of 3 years.

(If the child has completed up to 50 learning outcomes in a particular area, the planning starts from the 51st learning outcome).

Remember to establish baseline in all areas of development

2.Preapre annual /half yearly /quarterly /monthly development plans for each child
Development in all the 5 areas is interdependent. For instance, cognition is connected to both socialisation and language development. Language itself is a prerequisite for socialisation. Physical growth and self-help are also interdependent.
 Therefore to assess to learning of the child it is necessary to assess in all areas and not only in the area of perceived disability.

The stages of a child's development should be informed to the parents through the means of self-help groups, parents' workshops etc. This would help the parents to appreciate the learning achievements of the child and would also learn to reward the child for the same.

Practice for Parents and Teachers

Parents and teachers review the child's strengths and weaknesses. Using the Indian Portage Guide the teacher identifies the baseline of learning levels of the child in all the areas. It is much simpler to plan the intervention when the assessment is detailed and perfect.

After the baseline is taken, the teacher starts teaching the activities one by one in all the areas simultaneously as explained in the behaviour modification techniques. After each activity, an evaluation is made to examine if the child has learnt the activity thoroughly. When the child performs the activity successfully in a minimum of 6 different circumstances, the learning may be said to be complete. These may be called as definite activities. Every activity must therefore be properly planned. For e.g. if a child is capable of identifying colours within the SHG, but is not able to relate it to the general environment, the learning is not useful/relevant. All activities must be reviewed to understand their significance and usefulness in the daily life of the child to make it relevant.

Teacher/Facilitator Cards:

Teacher/Facilitator Cards have been prepared for all the activities in the 5 areas of development. The cards contain information about the materials required and the methodology for teaching the activities. This would be helpful to both the teachers and parents in conducting the activities and training the child. Please note: While training the child, it is necessary to use the local practice and knowledge as well as their own creativity and imagination to make it successful.

Some difficulties that may arise when using the guide

Development of the child may not be as per the stages described in the guide. This is especially true for children with disabilities who may have idiosyncratic development. The following difficulties may arise when using the guide:

E.g. 1: The child may know activity 96 in Cognition but may not know activities 86 to 96. It is therefore necessary to teach the child all the activities from 86 to 96 and not proceed from 96 onwards.

E.g. 2: Some of the activities may not be suitable. Although the activities have been Indianised it may still not be totally suitable to the local practices. Therefore it is necessary to modify the activity to suit the local customs and practices.
 While modifying or finding similar activities it is necessary to choose the activity carefully. For e.g. if an activity states that the child ties his/her shoelace, and it is not socially relevant then the matching activity cannot be that the child wraps a muffler by himself, as the cognitive levels as well as the motor coordination required for both these activities are different.

Finally it is important to build on the strengths inherent in the child and the family. Every child has the capacity to perform, and it is the duty of the teacher to bring out the latent talent.