Mainstreaming the differently-abled
By Rajagopalan Venkataraman | ENS | Published: 04th June 2013 07:55 AM |
An institution started in 1985 by the mother of a child with a disability, Vidya Sagar today is a bridge between educational institutions for the physically challenged and mainstream ones, helping the two sides know more about each other.
Adults, not just children, with disability are provided holistic development, primarily education. The institution has made vast strides, especially in integrating special children in mainstream schools. Deputy director of the institute Deepti Bhatia says, “The empowerment of adults and children with disabilities figures high in our scheme of things.” This is achieved through various processes such as providing vocational training and helping them stand on their feet
While helping the differently abled join mainstream schools, it is an absolute necessity that there is no miscommunication because it takes a special effort to understand the thought process of such people. “Teachers who take in differently abled students need to know how to interact with them. There are chances that the emotions of such children are misconstrued as something else. Demystification of the disability helps,” she explains.
The children, for their part, have proven that they are made of sterner stuff. Students from Vidya Sagar recently integrated in mainstream schools have proved proficient academics – a heartening fact. At least 4 to 5 students had impressive scores beside their names in the SSLC and Plus-two examinations this year.
Deepti says that lack of awareness has been a major constraint. “It is important that the physically challenged are aware of the legislation they can fall back on. We believe in the right to equality of opportunity, an inclusive society where differences are celebrated,” Deepti explains. She points out that landmark legislation such as the Right to Education and schemes such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have made their lives easier.