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Published By : Times of India (Education Times)
Publication Date: Monday, April 5, 2010
Published News :
Topic : Understanding special children
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OVER THE YEARS, THE IDEA OF A PARTICULAR PEDAGOGIC METHOD FOR CHILDREN WITH PHYSICAL AND LEARNING DISABILITIES HAS GAINED WITH PHYSICAL AND LEARNING DISABILITIES HAS GAINED PROMINENCE. THERE IS, HOWEVER, A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GAINING PROMINENCE AND APPLICATION. NITHYA RAMACHANDRAN FINDS OUT WHAT THE REALITY IS....

Special education in india has come a long way and, if one were to go only by the laws and policies, regarding inclusions, formulated in this country, there is ample reason to be optimistic. Since the 1970s, various schemes, hatched by the Central Government, especially those targetting the universalisation of elementary education, have been advocating the inclusion of children with disabilities into mainstream educational institutions.


However, there are various problems faced by those involved in this field. The whole process, right from the detection of the problem to finding the right educational institution, is an ordeal for parents and even children themselves.

While not many mainstream schools accept special children, unfortunately even those which do, don't have the right infrastructure. "These children need smaller classrooms with special educators guiding them through every step. The mainstream schools today, with their large classes and competitive environment, can actually have a negative impact on the child's well being," says Akila Palani, a speech and language pathologist who runs BRIGHT, a learning centre for children. Her school trains special children before sending them on to mainstream schools. However, she says, "Usually only one in three fit are admitted."


Manjula Ganapathy, mother of Kaushik Narayanan, a child with Down's Syndrome, feels that these children do best when placed in special schools, where they are most comfortable. She says, "With help from like-minded parents and group-inclusion activities, these children can live a near normal life." She also feels that India needs to learn from other countries in this matter. "the facilities available, as well as societal acceptance there are much better," she says.


"These children have very special and specific needs that need to be understood and met. Before sending a child into mainstream institutions, we need to be confident that they are prepared to handl the situation. Otherwise they will simply feel lost," says Banu Arjun, who tutors autistic children at her home. she also feels that such children learn from example. "That means, "she elaborates, "these children learn all the time. The parents need to understand the child's behaviour and act accordingly. In these cases, the parents play as important a role, and maybe even more so, than the teacher. This is because it is with the parents that the children spend more time."


Everybody seems to agree that the change has to start at the level of society. While laws have been passed, few are implemented. What the society passed, few are implemented. What the society needs to understand is that sensitivity. If this fact is need sympathy, they need sensitivity. If this fact is understood, then maybe they will be included by the society and not just by laws alone. These special kids don't need sympathy, they need sensitivity. Once that is understod, our education system will move towards being more inclusive.



Published By : The Hindu
Publication Date: Monday, March 30, 2009
Published News :
Topic : Autism Awarness Day Celebrations

As part of the International Autism Awarness Day celebrations, BRIGHT-the learning center is organising a free screenng camp for children with delayed developmental milestones, autism, ADHD and learning disability, on its premises in Mogappair till April 4. For Details contact 9283127274 or 65126644.



Published By : The Hindu (Downtown)
Publication Date: Sunday, June 21, 2009
Published News :
Topic : Therapeutic intervention for special children

Bight- The Learning center closely works with the parents in the development of the child.


Early intervention, proper analysis and correct treatment will take these special children to mainstream schooling," says Akila Palani, Audiologist and Speech Language Therapist at Mogappair West.


The motice of the center is to provide therapeutic intervention for children with autistic spectrum disorders, ADHD and delayed developmental mile stones.


The center which was started in 2004 is supported by the family trust, Manickam Valliaml Educational and Charitable Trust.


"Every year we take in 40 students and try to integrate at least five children to normal school. So far, we have successfully integrated 20 children in main stream school," says Pavithra Palani, special Educator, Learning Disability wing of the Center.


Some of the special features of the center include occupational theraphy, speech theraphy, physiotheraphy and special education.


"We work in close relation with parents and set goals once in three months to assess the progress of the child.In order to boost their confidence and to help them to understand things, we take the students to restaurants and shopping malls which helps them to modify their behaviour," she adds.


Montessori Educator Devi Palani of the center gives some tips for the parents on how to identify problems in children.


"Do not wait for the child to compete five years for assessing speech development. Zero to five years is the critical age period for any development. If you observe that your child, aged betwenn one and half and five years, is not mingling or socialising, not able to communicate, often very restless, lacks attention and concentration, not responding to name call despite good hearing ability, it is better to consult your paediatrician and have follow ups with respective therapists," she says.


The center formualted the Parents' forum in January 2009 to support the parents of special children. It meets every friday in its premises to discuss various needs catering to special children.


The parents share their experiences in bringing up their special child, and specialists give counselling for the parents. In ne of its meetings, LIC branch Manager spoke to the parents about the policies useful to special children.


Priya, president of the Parents Forum, says that the center provides a well structured and friendly environment, which is essential for the development of special children. The center received the Best Speech therapist Award for the year 2004 given by A.S. Media Vision, chennai.


The Centre functions at 146, H.I.G. Phase II, Nolambur, Mogappair West. Phone Numbers : 26610405 / 94449 75955 / 92831 27274.



Published By : The Telegraph (Calcutta, India)
Publication Date: Sunday, September 13, 2009
Published News :

BRIGHT-the learning center in Chennai uses play theraphy to open communication channels with hearing impaired and autistic children. "when a child comes to us, we let him play aloe in the play room. We see his interests and then use the toys he likes as re-enforcers while teaching," says Akila Palani, speech therapist, BRIGHT - The Learning Center, Chennai. About 60 children learn through play therapy at the center every day.



Published By : The Hindu
Publication Date: Sunday, November 01, 2009
Published News :
Topic : Seminar on Autism

BRIGHT-the learning center at Mogappair West conducts a two day seminar on 'Autsm, ADHD, LD and other develpmental delays-a multidiscipliunary approach, for parents on November. 14 and 15 at Sukh Sagar, Second Avenue, Anna Nagar. The registration closes on November 9. For details about the seminar, contact phone numbers: 92831 27274, 94449 75955.



Published By : The Indian Express
Publication Date: Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Published News :
Topic : Brightening up their Future

BRIGHT-the learning center was started in the year 2004 to cater the needs of children with Autism, AdHD (Attention Deicit hyperactive disorder), Learning disability and Developemntal delay between the age group of one and half years to 12 years. With the aim of providing early intervention to affected children by different therapies and to make them more able and to integrate into regular mainstream schooling, BRIGHT provide speech theraphy, Occupational theraphy, physiotheraphy, Yoga theraphy, Music theraphy, secial education and Play theraphy. With the help of these therapies by experienced hands, children learn play skills, life skills, socialisation, pre-academic and academic training. Bight-the learning Centre, which celebrated its fourth year recently, has been helping out a handful of children to integrate into regualr mainstream schooling. Form more details contact BRIGHT-The Learning Center,Mogappair,Chennai-37.Ph:26244551/26610405/9283127274.



Published By : The Hindu
Publication Date: Thursday, December 15, 2005
Published News :
Topic : MTC staff get a hearing check

MTC drivers and conductors took some time off between shifts to check the effect of all that honking and roaring of engines on their ears at the T.Nagar bus depot on Wednesday. Nearly 120 of the crew queued up to get their hearing tested at a camp organised by the Lions Club of Padi Shenoy Nagar. "My ears always have this irritation. Will they give medicine?" asked one employee before moving on to sit before audiologist.Akila Palani who placed a pair of muffs over his ears. He listed to sounds in various frequencies from an audiometer while the audiologist noted his reactions to them. Ms.Palani took particular note of those whose hearing threshold dipped when they listened to sound in the frequency of 4,000 hertz. "A few of them who came straight from noisy surroundings could hear only sound louder than a certain level.The condition is only temporary and their hearing will become normal after proper rest,"she said. However,the condition could worsen leading to loss of hearing in some cases,she added. According to MTC general manager M.Chandra Sekaran,the camp was held to create awareness and prevent health problems. The organisers are planning to take the audiometry camp to other depots in the in the next two days.