BENGALURU: A mother’s determination to see her son through the greatest of hurdles has set a rare feat. Her son Bharat Shetty, who was born deaf, today speaks two languages fluently and has a masters degree in Computer Science.
People born deaf are usually unable to speak in a legible manner without years of extensive speech therapy.
Shetty was initially schooled in a school for the deaf. His mother later moved him to an English medium school, Vijaya Vithala Vidyashala, in Mysuru at the age of 10.
This was a rather difficult move because all of Shetty’s classmates would pick up the lessons easily but, because of his deafness, Shetty had trouble keeping up.
This is when Ratna Bhaskar Shetty, his mother, convinced the teachers to slow down their pace of speech so that he could comprehend them.
When Bharat turned two, Ratna decided to step in and took a diploma in special education from the SR Chandrasekhar Institute of Speech and Hearing to teach her son.
The determined mother taught her son lip reading when he was three. At the age of five, under her patient tutelage, Bharat learnt to read and write Kannada and English.
Ratna taught her son to speak by teaching him words by naming objects. She would show him an object, would mouth its name and ask him to say it. Bharat soon progressed to sentences after learning words.
When he was seven years old, Bharat was introduced to incident-oriented learning where he was taught using his own personal experiences — such a fall on the floor or recalling the time when he was running in the garden — that are recounted to him as incidents.
He would lip read his mother and learn to put words together and in turn string sentences together to construct a narrative.
His conversational skills greatly improved during these training sessions.
Shetty found Kannada to be to be tougher than English to grasp, since it was his first attempt at learning a language.
“He showed more interest in learning English after Kannada. He was always curious to learn more and read more because he couldn’t properly communicate with his peers. Books were his only companions,” says Ratna.
Today, her efforts have borne fruit as he works for a big startup in the city. Bharat credits his mother’s grooming and patience for his success.
Ratna Bhaskar Shetty is now veteran in the field of teaching the hearing impaired.
“I understand how parents facing this issue feel and so I am in a better position to teach these kids. I want to help them as much as possible in making the quality of their life better,” she says with a smile.
“I’m thankful to her for teaching me humility, the value of simplicity and hard work as well as the ability to forge ahead.
“Whatever be the difficulties that I face in my everyday life. She continues to inspire me even today by her sheer dedication and passion to uplift the hearing impaired children while managing the household activities too,” says Bharat Shetty.