CHENNAI: On Saturday, a little before 10 am, parents began gathering along the edge of a field that was laid out with bright-coloured balls, rings and cricket bats. A steady stream of excited little faces obediently marched from their classroom to the ground.
It was not an ordinary sports event. It was the sports day of Chrysalis Special School where children with autism took part in structured sports. “For both special and normal kids, sports is important to build endurance. For special children, we have both individual and group sessions. We know the particular needs of children in our school, and improve their motor and communication skills in group sessions,” said Vimala Srinivasan, principal, Chrysalis special school.
Conducted in three categories — sub-junior, junior and senior, the students actively participated in all the sports particularly running race, obstacle race and cricket. Sanjay completed the running race amid loud cheer, his mother Rupa Devi said, “Initially, he wouldn’t respond to anything at home. During sports practice, we were amazed to see him use bottles, and practice obstacle race at home. He has now started understanding the directions we give, and now he goes to the shop alone to buy chocolates for himself.”
The chief guest of the event, C Maheshwari, joint commissioner, south zone, Greater Chennai, assured assistance from the police department, if needed. “I appreciate the institute for their effort. Each special child has a hidden talent and it is the duty of parents to find that out and facilitate specialisation in that area,” she said.
Chrysalis School for Special Needs was established in 2007 and promoted by Roshinipriya Charitable Trust. They offer screening and assessment, early intervention, structured specialised education programme, occupational therapy and training in activities of daily living.