Do you have a child with special-needs who was bullied and misunderstood due to the apathy and ignorance of school authorities and fellow parents? Head to the Spastics Society of Tamilnadu (SPASTN). They’ll understand your pain and assist you with the needs of your child.
Established in the 1981, SPASTN is a not-for-profit NGO working with children and youth with cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual impairment and multiple disabilities. The work of is carried out under the able guidance of a board of trustees. V L Indira Dutt, president of the trust, has a lot of experience and wisdom as she sits on the board of several NGOs that engage in key developmental projects in areas such as education, health, welfare, women empowerment and culture.
SPASTN empowers and enables students and persons with disability to reach their fullest potential through education, training and employment.The journey was humble one, with 10 students and two teachers providing special classes for children with cerebral palsy. When the society started soon after a was room loaned by the C P Ramaswamy Iyer Foundation in central Chennai.
Today, 30 years later, SPASTN serves about 1,300 people with disability every month, at three special schools in South (Taramani), Central (Ayanavaram) and North (Royapuram) Chennai. It runs a community-based rehabilitation programme in Tiruvallur district. The centres provide extensive rehabilitation programmes, including nuero-developmental therapy, hydrotherapy, speech and language therapy and sensory integration. Adopting an innovative approach which aims to be both cost and reach effective, SPASTN builds capacity and skills through sensitisation, training and awareness campaigns of government officials from the department of health, education, welfare, public transport, judiciary, rural development, police and NGO personnel within and across countries.
At the core of everything that SPASTN undertakes, is the passionate belief in the dignity of human life. SPASTN advocates the rights of persons with disability so that they can seamlessly and effortlessly gain access to life, information, education, employment, social security and full participation. Over the last two decades, thanks to SPASTN’s newborn screening facility, over 1,25,000 infants who are at risk have been identified. The service is available free of cost at various government hospitals in Chennai and Tiruvallur.
SPASTN also provides multi-disciplinary holistic intervention programmes through its dedicated team of special educators, therapists and visual and performance art teachers by developing individualised educational plans to manage physical impairment while optimising learning and mobility. Its community-based vocational training has placed over 100 students in open employment through placement efforts.
SPASTN is one of the early movers to embrace and promote the Right to Education for all by sensitising and building capacities of the education system, of families and communities to create an enabling environment for enrolment and retention of students with disability in regular schools. Till date, SPASTN has placed over 15,000 children in regular schools.
If you wish to contribute to the organisation, please visit http://www.spastn.org/ for details.
Call to Action
Going forward, SPASTN plans to develop a Therapeutic Enrichment Activity Hall (TEACH) — a training hub for activities that include indoor/outdoor games, drama, dance, medical camps, research, lecture demonstrations, seminars, exhibition and workshops. The training hall will help rehabilitate children, which is possible only with the generous and robust support from generous corporates and individuals.