EDUCATION — CHILD STUDYING IN REG
Milind and Nilakshi Joshi were greatly overjoyed when on August 24, 1999 their first child – a daughter – Nupur was born. Though Nupur was premature baby, it was smooth sailing till her parents discovered some white spots on her eye-balls. They consulted an ophthalmologist who referred Nupur to Shankar Netralaya, where she was diagnosed as suffering from Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). Though medical treatment was pursued, Milind and Nilakshi very soon learnt that Nupur’s blindness was non-curable. The initial shock and despair prevailed for some time. Gradually they accepted Nupur’s blindness and turned their attention on her upbringing and education.
Milind and Nilakshi visited NAB when Nupur was one year old. After some counseling from our Client Service Department, her case was handed over to NAB Department of Education. Nupur was formally enrolled in our IE program. Our Itinerant Teacher Ms. Mrunalini Belhe visited her. Initially Nupur was trained in daily living skills. Her senses were trained and fine tuned to be more receptive. She was subsequently taught Braille, orientation and mobility and use of special arithmetic devices. All this training through regular home visits by the itinerant teacher enabled Nupur to join a regular school and pursue education along with her sighted counterparts. Nupur studied in Samarth Vidyalaya, Thane. Constantly performing on par with her sighted classmates, Nupur was always among the first few rank-holders in her class. Nupur passed the Maharashtra Board class X examination 2015 with 88.40% marks. What’s more, she scored a whopping 96 out of 100 in Math and 99 out of 100 in Sanskrit. Nupur has joined the Arts stream from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
Nupur’s success story is built on four important pillars – her own hard work and determination, positive parental attitude and home environment, excellent cooperation from the school and NAB (India)’s support services. All these put together have facilitated Nupur not only to excel in academics but also participate in extra-curricular activities like music, dance etc. Nupur undoubtedly has a very bright future to look forward to.
Jitendra Kumar Barik
It was 26th January 2002. In one of the localities in Bhubaneswar (Orissa) school children were returning home after the Republic Day celebrations when suddenly the gas balloons which were providing a pleasant sight to the spectators burst, leaving 10 children among others seriously wounded. They all lost their vision in due course. Jitendra happened to be one of them.
At the time of the tragedy Jitendra was residing with his parents and was studying in Std. VIII. The tragedy ruined all his hopes and for the next four years he remained at home without education.
NAB Orissa State Branch while conducting a survey spotted Jitendra in 2007. After lots of counseling his parents admitted him in Std. IX. In 2008 Jitendra appeared for SSC and came out with flying colours. He also received computer training at NAB (India) in July 2008. Later, he was admitted to Jayadev Government Music College. Jitendra cleared his Std. XI and pursued education in Music.
Interested in Cricket and Carrom, Jitendra has participated in national level competitions. Jitendra is a role model for many blind children and can certainly hope for a bright future despite his blindness.
Multi-Disabled Visually Impaired
An exercise regimen for Aditya.
Born prematurely at seven and half months Aditya Bal spent a month in Pediatric ICU and another fortnight in the hospital. When he was two months old, Aditya was diagnosed as having Retrolental Fibroplasias [Retinopathy of Prematurity ] – a rare disorder affecting premature babies. This ailment led to Aditya being born blind.
After two unsuccessful surgeries, Aditya’s parents accepted reality and decided to go all-out to make Aditya as independent as possible. They brought Aditya to NAB Mata Lachmi Nursery for the Blind when he was one and half years old.
During the two years at the Nursery, Aditya started exhibiting autistic tendencies. He threw tantrums, would not mix with other children, banged his head, bit others, wouldn't allow anyone to touch him other than his parents and a couple of close relatives. Since he had no communication skills his parents could barely understand his needs. He had sleep disorder and would remain awake at night. He also had very short attention span and was hyperactive. All in all it used to sometimes get impossible to handle Aditya.
Aditya's Parents' decision to consult experts – both medical and behavioral – proved to be important. The medicines prescribed helped in controlling his tantrums as well as sleep disorder. He slowly became more amenable. The advice of behavioral experts helped them understand why Aditya was behaving the way he was, and cope with him.
When they learnt about the Home-based Education Program operated by NAB Department of Education, they seized this opportunity and Aditya became one of the first five children to be enrolled in this Program. NAB’s itinerant teacher, Mrs. Archana Joshi started visiting him regularly. The sequence of activities carried out with him were:
- Establishing rapport
- Fixing a daily routine
- Socialization with neighbors, peer group, relatives, etc.
- Building up his vocabulary – from repetitive talk to about thousands of words, songs, poems, etc. along with expressive communication
- Training in gross motor and fine motor skills, followed by vocational skills like stringing beads, grinding chutni, pan masala, flour, etc.
- Cognitive development – building up memory, identification of peoples, objects, etc.
Now, Aditya regularly attends Sobti Parents’ Association’s Vocational Training Centre. He enjoys working there. He also attends the summer camps and trips organized by NAB. Aditya's parents have taken him for trekking and he tours with them during summer holidays to various places. He can strike a conversation – albeit haltingly – with others and is always eager to know what people around him are talking or discussing. He likes to sit on a swing and sing songs; he knows umpteen songs by heart. He likes to go for walks and loves to ride a two-wheeler and travel by car.
Looking back over a span of 24 years it's apparent Aditya's parents have gone through a great deal, faced lots of difficulties. But when they see the progress Aditya has achieved – albeit with great struggle, their troubles appear to them insignificant and makes them forget all their hardships.
Bibhunanda Ratha (Bibhu)
With training in independent living, Bibhu is now able to manage petty transactions.
In 2004, NAB Dept. of Education undertook a National Program for providing Home-based Services to Multi-Disabled Visually Impaired Children, with support received from Hilton/Perkins Program, USA. Five locations in the country were identified along with local implementing agencies, for this program. Saheed Yuba Sangha, Bolgarh (Orissa) is one of them. The program was initiated with a survey in the selected locations, for identifying MDVI children.
The teachers carrying out the survey reached village Kendupalli and learned about Bibhu – a ten year old MDVI child. When they visited his home, they were horrified to see a filthy, naked, violent child, chained and confined in a small room.
It was in these circumstances that work with Bibhu – a low vision child with communication disorders and spasticity – began.
Initially the teacher embarked on appropriate strategy for building rapport with Bibhu and his family. The child had several mannerisms and behavioral problems making it very difficult to work with him. The teacher however persevered and gradually obtained the support of Bibhu's family.
Bibhu received training in all the developmental areas like motor skills, communication, sensory skills, orientation & mobility, activities of daily living etc. and has come a long way leaving behind the traumatic experiences of early childhood. He now goes to a regular school and is studying in Std.II. Bibhu is independent in many respects because of the assistive devices such as the physio-ball, a walker, etc. given to him from time to time. His case was also referred to ALIMCO with a request for some assistive devices to correct postural defects. However, they advised only physiotherapy which is being given to him regularly. It is matter of great pride for both Saheed Yuba Sangha and NAB, that our efforts on such a complicated case have borne fruits. Further, considering the prevailing situation, Bibhu in all probability would certainly have a bright future.