CHENNAI: When a question pops up on the screen, the children seated in the audience quiver with excitement, the answer bubbling to their lips. However, they stay silent and wait for one of the teams on stage to answer, bursting into applause and cheers when they get the right answer.
This spirit of excitement and camaraderie was the highlight of Quizabled, the first-ever quiz for children with disability in Chennai, held on Saturday at the Spastic Society of Tamil Nadu’s (SPASTN) campus in Taramani.
Powered by Larsen and Toubro Infotech Ltd and conceptualised by Ruma Banerjee, chairperson of the Bengaluru-based NGO Seva-in-Action, Quizabled has enjoyed four successful editions in Bengaluru. “We wanted to break the myth that children with disability cannot come to a knowledge platform and cannot be competitive. I hope parents and teachers learn from this and give children with disabilities the opportunity to participate in such events because opportunities are essential for inclusive environments,” said Banerjee.
The quiz held in Taramani was designed by the edutainment company Catalyst Quiz Corp. According to quizmaster Surya Narayanan, presenting the quiz for children with disabilities was a unique experience. “I had to make sure that my questions were straightforward, as the processing speed of these children is less. All we had to do was adjust the format slightly for them, like reduce the number of animation clues we had. But, the students have blown me away — their answers were too good,” said Surya Narayanan, the 23-year-old founder of the Bengaluru-based company.
In the finals for Category B, which included children with autism and cerebral palsy, the six teams of two students each were from Maithree School, Avvai Kapagam School, Bala Vihar and SPASTN. The students answered the question faster than even before Surya could finish it, and the audience cheered for them. Volunteers from Larsen and Toubro Infotech Ltd were seen cheering excitedly when the team they were in charge of got the right answer, and reassuring the children when they got an answer wrong. After three rounds, the team from SPASTN emerged as winners.
“I am very happy that I won the quiz. We studied very hard for it, and now I will tell my friends and classmates to take part in such events next time,” said Saranya Ramkumar, who, along with her teammate Wassim Mohammed, won a cash prize of `8,000. The runners-up, the team from Bala Vihar, won a cash prize of `4,000 under Category B.
In Category A, which consisted of children with intellectual disabilities, Avvai Kapagam School won the first place and Maithree School won the second place. In Category B, which consisted of children with visual and hearing impairments, Louis School for the Deaf won the first place and Ajay Higher Secondary School for the Hearing Impaired won the second place.
Narayanan adjusted the format slightly for the contest and reduced the number of animation clues.