CHENNAI: A World of Difference is what the book is called. And speaking about the work and service that the Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children has done in its 25 years of existence, the book is probably one of the better named.
The book covers the journey that the centre has gone through in its quest to bring about a revolution in the field of care for exceptional children. It includes all information — from the conception of the idea to the current centre and the thousands of children it has ushered in through its doors.
Launched by Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Thursday, and written by columnist Ranjitha Ashok, the book commemorates the vision of the founders, Air Vice Marshall V Krishnaswamy, his wife Jaya Krishnaswamy and N Kumar, current vice chairman of the Sanmar Group of Companies. ‘Begun as a research and demonstration centre for early intervention for children with special needs, the centre quickly developed the Upanayan Early Intervention program,’ read the introduction presentation to the book.
“Upanayan means to lead along. This interpretation symbolises the essential philosophy and ultimate goal of MNC — to help transform parents into leading lights for their children. The singlemost unique factor in the structuring of the projects is the attention directed to the parents,” said a spokesperson.
The project that the MNC runs is in itself an exhaustively researched and conceived idea. Dealing with several disorders including Mental Retardation with Hydrocephaly, Microcephaly, Metabolic Disorders, with associated Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism, ADHD and ADD, the programme begins with children below two years of age — the period with the most brain development.
According to the presentation, an interdisciplinary team of experts in Developmental Psychology, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Special Education, Yoga, Nutrition and Information Technology, worked on the programme for over two years before it was field tested for workability and feasibility. And from the moment it was officially launched by Mother Teresa in 1989, the programme has not looked back.
Before the book launch, eminent physician Dr Rajiv Bahl, with Newborn Health Research and Development, World Health Organisation, Geneva, gave the second AVM V Krishnaswamy Memorial Oration. Dr Bahl spoke at length about the care of pre-term babies and how improper care could lead to disabilities in the future. “There are still a lot of fatalities in new born children, especially in preterm babies. Improper care could also lead to disabilities,” he said. The doctor emphasised the importance of breast feeding in the first six months of a child’s life.