THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It was a story telling session. The boy who finished telling the story ‘A Day of Appu’, with the help of a slide show was appreciated with a loud round of applause from the audience comprising friends and teachers. For some, it was a song while others needed a bit of assistance.
The scene was one from the summer camp at Insight, the ICT centre for differently abled located near Murinjapalam in the city. The camp had 32 differently abled kids, a majority within an age limit of five and 15. In the institution that offers training for the differently abled, the get-together of so many students is a phenomenon that does not occur during regular classroom sessions.
“Unlike the teaching that we offer during their regular sessions, in the camp we make them indulge in creative activities like clay modelling, craft making, entertaining games and so on. The interaction with so many kids of their kind give them an exposure to novel experiences,” says James Mathew, project co-ordinator of Insight. Mornings at the five-day camp started with a yoga session. After that, they proceeded according to the classes scheduled. “In the class, we also aimed at increasing their number sense and time concept and to identify and to develop the potential to be employed. The response of many kids to such activities was astonishing,” adds James.
One such interesting activity at the camp was to exchange food coupons to get snacks at 11 am. On each coupon, the value of ` five was imprinted. Each kid was given a token to exchange at the counter to get light refreshment. “After the first few days, the kids started demanding food coupons from us. We made one of them sit at the counter and he also began to ask for his coupon seeing the others. That signalled a very positive response,” says James.
On the last day of the camp, a string-puppetry show was arranged, where a puppet, resembling a Rajasthani dancer dressed in colourful costumes, was made to dance to a popular Malayalam film song. It was nice to see the kids clapping their hands in accordance to the rhythm of the song. “The song was intentionally chosen as it was full of foot-tapping rhythms. A blend of colours, movements and rhythms appealed to the kids,” says Subin A A, the puppeteer, who teaches at a school in Wayanad.
The participants of the camp were children suffering from autism, mental retardation, learning disabilities and Down’s syndrome.
The camp was held from April 16 to 20.