The lifestyle of children with intellectual disability in lieu to that of an average or regular child is quite different. This makes it a challenging task not just for the child but also for his family where most often the child is dependent on his parents or care taker to accomplish even the minutest of the tasks like slipping into shoes or even recognizing and acknowledging his emotions like hunger, joy, anger, etc. Thus, the fate of most of the intellectually disabled children especially in countries like India is to always depend on their families with the need to be looked after forever in their lifetime.
The ID (Intellectually Disabled) school at Samarthanam is a ray of hope to many intellectually disabled children and their families. The school offers informal education to the intellectually disabled children to make them life-ready and work-ready. This is of course a gradual process where in the time taken for a person with intellectually disabled person to reach a certain standard of self-dependence on an average is ten years. And these children are brought into the school when they are eight years and older. One of the professional teachers handling the informal class two says that the children are brought to the ID school when they turn eight and above. This is because of their intellectual disability which makes an eight year old as good as or less capable as any normal toddler.
The patience of the teachers working in the ID schools is commendable. They have to start with basic life skills like toilet training, which is the first step of making the intellectually disabled child self-independent to identify his needs and physiology. The teacher’s say that it is not just educating the basic needs to the child but also counseling his family to avoid circumstances where the child will revert to his old habits of relying on a family member.
Improvising their gross motor skills is the second step. On an average, the gross motor skills develop at the age of six. But in case of children with disabilities it is anywhere in between the ages of 13 to 20. Working with a window of these ages not just requires patience but an ability to empathize and understand the child and acknowledge his accomplishments.
The ID school provides free informal education to the intellectually disabled children. Here, they train the children right from basic life skills like hygiene, self-dependence, toilet training, to identifying socio-emotional characters like anger, joy, hunger, and a lot more. The aim of Samarthanam ID school is to bring in a structure to the child to make him socially compliant and independent to identify the good and the bad. The teachers strongly believe that with patience and perseverance, the intellectually disabled students can undertake vocational courses that might help them in their future.
Apart from providing free study materials, the organization regularly monitors the child’s progress with regular parental meetings where unbiased feedback from the children, teachers, and the parents are encouraged.
Spread across over fifteen Indian cities and an international presence in the UK and the USA, the organization believes in empowering the persons with disabilities that makes their ID school one oftheir primary initiatives. To contribute towards this cause and enable the dreams of many intellectually disabled children from the underprivileged communities click here