Vishesh Gupta is back in school. A new school. A week old at the Rajkumari Amrit Kaur Child Study Centre at Lady Irwin College, he sits on a high chair close to his class teacher Madhur Mohun. Vishesh has a catheter attached to his appendix to drain urine. His classmates, however, don’t make much of it.
Pooja Gupta admitted her son here after Dr Indu Kaura, the school coordinator contacted his parents after reading a report in Hindustan Times, that Vishesh’s parents were asked to withdraw the child from the Patel Nagar branch of Mother’s Pride. His condition was ‘scaring’ other children, they were told. Vishesh was admitted in June 2007, and the Guptas have also appealed to the school to refund Rs 18,000 paid as quarterly fees. Vishesh has attended classes only between 4th July and 6th August.
Pooja and Ajay Gupta were invited by Dr Kaura to study the school’s programme on inclusive learning. “Vishesh’s class is a class of 22. Of the 22, there are four children with disabilities — a case of Down’s Syndrome, a child with Albinism and another child with delayed development,” says Dr Kaura. “We encourage mixed groups in our school. All our children have been taught it is normal to have a child sit next to you in class whose needs are different.”
Madhur Mohan, Vishesh’s class teacher, says his ‘first day’ passed without event. “Before Vishesh joined us, I just told the other children they would have a classmate whose toilet habits are different from theirs and so they have to look after him.” While playing outdoors, if he lags behind, the other students bring it to her notice and the entire class slow their pace, she adds.
“Vishesh is happy in his new school. He comes back home with stories of how he has played with his friends,’ says Pooja Gupta.