“When I first learnt about my child’s condition, I was distraught. I thought, why me? Why do I have to suffer this? I kept hoping that someday some miracle would happen and he would be like the other ordinary children. Today that has changed. I realise that whatever I am today is because of him,” said Sudha Madhavan, mother of a special child, at Samyam, an event organised by Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children in Chennai on Saturday.
The event, the first of its kind to be organised by the institution, saw the participation of many special children and their parents. These children included those who had newly joined, a few who had already received some intervention and those students who had been main-streamed into schools or colleges. For mothers like Sudha Madhavan, who has established a school for special children herself, the event became a forum to voice out her experiences with younger mothers.
“After the training that I got from teaching my own son and taking him to a special school, I realised that I was not the only mother, there were several others. I understood how I could be of help to other mothers. It gave me the inspiration to complete my B.Ed in Special Education and start my own school,” she said.
It is this feeling of helping each other out and networking that the event hopes to bank on. “The centre works for an early intervention on children with special needs. Once the students are mainstreamed into schools, the parents tend to lose touch. But when it comes to parents of special children, an efficient network can be of great importance. They always need each other, be it for sharing experiences, for resources, counselling, showing each other directions at various stages of their child’s development or for networking,” said the Director of MNC, Jaya Krishnaswamy.
Apart from the parents, siblings of the special children also came forward to share their experiences with others. “I have learnt a lot of things from my brother,” said Shakthikumar, a class 11 student, whose brother Rishi suffers from autism. “He has taught me how to be positive in life. He has showed me to be patient and to be courageous. Today, my brother means everything to me,” he said.
The event also saw special children come together to perform skits, action songs and theme songs. Mothers also came forward to dance and sing for the orchestra.