Special needs children have a ball, thanks to Trivandrum Tennis Club and SSA
Pettah native Sidan was always fond of outdoor games such as football and cricket. The 13-year-old 8th grader never expected to be selected from his school for tennis coaching.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sidan Ibak Humayun and J S Malavika were elated when they got the opportunity to play tennis at the Trivandrum Tennis Club (TTC). The two students of Cotton Hill Girls Higher Secondary School are beneficiaries of a novel initiative for differently-abled children. And thanks to TTC, tennis coaching is being included in their school curriculum with the backing of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) programme.
Pettah native Sidan was always fond of outdoor games such as football and cricket. The 13-year-old 8th grader never expected to be selected from his school for tennis coaching. Sidan, who has marginal autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is excited about the opportunity, his mother Rahila Beevi, an assistant professor at the Sanskrit College, here, told TNIE.
“Special needs children like Sidan have to find a release for their excess energy. Tennis is an excellent option and he is very happy to get the coaching free of cost,” said Prof Rahila. Malavika, 14, who has learning disabilities, is also cashing in on the chance. The Jagathi native’s mother, Jayanti Sivakumar, said that she was reluctant to leave the TTC after the first day’s coaching.
“Malavika was a bit apprehensive initially. But once she learned how to hit the ball, there was no stopping her. Now, she is looking forward to next session,” said Jayanti. According to R Jayprakash, honorary secretary of TTC, 80 special-needs children from various government schools in the capital city have been chosen for tennis coaching.
“We have targeted special needs children between 5-15 years of age and they will be provided with coaching from 10 am to 12:30 pm on Tuesdays. This has been included in their school curriculum with the support of the SSA,” said Jayprakash to TNIE.
SSA state programme officer S Y Shooja stressed the importance of sports for the differently abled children. He lauded the TTC’s initiative, which her termed as the first of its kind in the state. Seven trained coaches conduct the sessions with the active support of 20-odd special facilitators.