The teachers of Samarthanam’s Special School for Children with Intellectual Disabilities have a million dreams for their students. They have a collective vision where they would like for nothing more but a life of self-dependence financially and otherwise for the pupils.
Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, established in the year 1997 by Shri Mahantesh GK, and Late Shri Nagesh SP with a mission to empower the persons with disabilities with a plethora of initiatives like Education, Employment, Rehabilitation, etc. is different from its contemporaries. This is attested by the very trainers handling the informal education-wing of the organization who are very confident about the skills of their wards.
The children with intellectual disabilities of ages 16 and undertake computer training enabling them to develop skills required for data entry jobs. The senior computer teacher of the institute says, “These children have a week of summer vacation as they require to practice on their computers every day.” It might seem like a challenging task he further adds but believes that it is a necessity when training the children with intellectual disabilities.
“It is a long journey towards self-dependence.”, says Rashmi (name changed on request) who trains the junior class of the informal wing. “When the children come they are 8-years-old or more. They have to be trained right from the basic life skills like toilet training, identification of socio-emotional characters like hunger, happiness, anger, fear, etc. as they do not relate to the feeling.” She further states, “The initial stages though challenging, once accomplished leaves me with a sense of satisfaction for which I continue serving as a teacher to these children.”
Every child is different and so are his/her skills states one of the senior informal class teachers. “We cannot expect them to live up to the general expectations. Awareness is important to understand and acknowledge this difference as the skill sets of every child vary accordingly. Some are quite fast to get familiar with computers while some have the talent to cook and create beautiful pieces of art. As teachers, it is our responsibility to identify the potential of the child. Sometimes in extreme cases, the child requires constant support, but most often, the children gain self-dependence once they reach their teens and in some cases their adolescence.”
Samarthanam’s special school offers free informal education to children with intellectual disabilities. To keep the programme running and to bring in hope to many families, you can donate to the cause by visiting, https://samarthanam.org/onlinedonations
This post author is Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled.