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They help autistic kids bring out their best

Seven-year-old Ankur Singh (name changed) was abandoned by his father when the former wanted him most — after the death of his mother. Ankur was born with autism disorder.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2012 01:37 IST
Deevakar Anand and Leena Dhankhar
Deevakar Anand and Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times

Seven-year-old Ankur Singh (name changed) was abandoned by his father when the former wanted him most — after the death of his mother. Ankur was born with autism disorder.

The father thought the seven-year-old would be a burden and hurdle in his marriage plans.

Fortunately, Ankur’s neighbours were not as insensitive as his father. They took good care of the disabled child and admitted him in DAV Public School, Sector 10. Moreover, they religiously attend parent-teacher meetings at the school.

Not all parents share the businessman's views. Some parents go all out to support and encourage their differently-abled children. According to experts, the intervention of specialist teachers and other support system can bring out the best in these children.

For instance, Dushyant, 12, couldn't even take care of his daily needs when he was brought to DAV Public School six years ago. Thanks to a series of professional support measures, now, he solves simple arithmetic sums without much difficulty. He also comprehends English and Hindi lessons of Class 1.

“I have to ensure the kids get their medicines on time even as I try to engage them creatively," said special educator Veena Singh, who holds a diploma in Special Education from the National School for the Mentally Handicapped (NIMH), Delhi. In the school, the children with autism undergo sessions of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and behavioural management. “With constant support and help, these children show great signs of recovery within months,” said Anita Makkar, principal, DAV Group of Schools in Gurgaon.

The Sector 10 school admits only children from Gurgaon. This is to ensure that parents can reach the school in case of an emergency.

Also, the school admits children with mild disorder and in the age group of 4-15.

“Children with severe and profound category should be given home-based rehabilitation,” said a teacher.

The students leave the school after they turn 18 years of age. The school retains some students as trainers for other children.

At the vocational centre of the school, students above 18 years of age are given training. Here they make jute bags, candles and envelopes.

A private company, which supplies fuel meters for Maruti Suzuki, has tied up with the school to provide gainful employment to the students. The students put magnetic needles in the fuel meters for which they are paid nine paisa per unit.

Sonia Mitra, 18, went into coma after an epileptic attack when she was six months old. Again she underwent the same ordeal when she was 14. However, she came out of it and now she is a special educator earning Rs 3,500 a month.

“She should enjoy each and every moment of her life," said TK Mitra, her father.

Mitra is a senior executive with a multinational company and doesn’t care about what society thinks about the disability.

Her father’s daughter

Muskan, 10, has come a long way. When she first came to the school, she couldn’t take care of her needs. But after spending a year in the school, she recognises people. She suffers from Down’s Syndrome. But her industrialist father Hemraj Vasistha is her support. He drops her to school everyday and picks her up. “I am not even thinking of future. I have to support her and keep her morale high,” said Vasistha.

‘Now, he can use ATM, pay on his own’

Bahktawar Saini, decided to start a wing for special children in Scottish High International School, Gurgaon, after she gave birth to a differently-abled child.

It was not very difficult for her to convince the management as her husband was the chairman of the school. The section has nine children.

Bakhtawar’s could not talk. “His vocabulary would not go beyond mother and father,” she said. She consulted doctors who said Ranvir is a special child. Determined

Bakhtawar took up the task of teaching him. “Now he takes out money from an ATM using my debit card and pays after checking the MRP.”

First Published: Jan 23, 2012 01:28 IST