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Training Children with Disabilities

RDT works extensively to bring dignity of life, equal rights and opportunities, and rehabilitation to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). If they can achieve confidence at young ages, then they grow out to be independent individuals. Cultural training at our Special Schools helps them immeasurably in achieving this.

RDT has six cultural organisers to train teachers and children with disabilities the year-round at all of its Special Education centres as a part of its Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) sector. Cultural studies are directed at helping children with disabilities build confidence and sociability. In total there are 18 centres operating under the CBR sector, of which 3 are for children afflicted by Cerebral Palsy, 6 for intellectually-disabled children, 4 each dedicated to visual and hearing impaired children, and 1 orphans’ home.

The classes follow a similarly structured syllabus as in Special Cultural Schools. Students learn from a systematic yearly syllabus according to their division-junior or senior. Each cultural organizer takes care of 2 to 4 centres, taking a session every day. These children from RDT- CBR schools are trained by the teachers as per their interest levels and aptitude. After gauging their latent skills, the teachers nurture and facilitate them to develop if possible into capable professional performers.

Apart from the regular classes and the platform to perform, which enhance each child’s capabilities, it’s interesting to note that students who are trained in cultural activities have shown a marked improvement in their interest in education and theatre.

Expressing themselves through their preferred art form hones their concentration and expression in other spheres. An interesting fact is that all 13 special athletes who went to Los Angeles, U.S.A. for the Special Olympics Games in August 2015 went through primary school cultural training.

“Working with childen with disabilities is a learning for every person who feels competent in every way. There is so much courage in these children, and they inspired me to look beyond my petty personal problems.”
Lisselte-Teacher
RDT Special School

The high point in the cultural calendar for children with disabilities is the biennial Srujana Festival held every even-numbered year since 2008. In this function, children with disabilities put up performances like the orchestra by children with visually-impairments, group rhyme recitations by children with intellectual-disabilities, solo and group mime by children with hearing and speech impairments, and magic acts by children with hearing-impairments.

At present, 42 visually-challenged children are being trained on a weekly basis in instruments like Tabla, Dholak, Dappu, Keyboard, Drums and Kanjeerain 2 primary level schools. 206 students with speech and hearing impairment are training in Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam under the guidance of dance masters.

Apart from this, quiz and art festivals are conducted once in 2 years where children with disabilities participate and compete in activities like making-collages, rangoli, clay modelling, paper craft and calligraphy.

HIGHLIGHTS
 
STAFF SPEAK
 

“I am often asked- isn’t my job risky. People feel that children with disabilities must be rowdy, moody and at times very aggressive. All I can say after working with these angels for the past 15 years is that, I feel bad for all those who can’t experience the little joys of being with these darlings. Their innocence is unmatched, just like their love. I am glad for the opportunity to interact with them and bring in some change in their lives. For nothing in this world would I want to leave what I do.”

N Sasikala,
Cultural Organizer with CBR

SUCCESS STORY
 

Every year the children are trained to exhibit their best through performing arts. The culmination of all this training and hard work is seen when these kids take to the stage and perform. Each performance is of immense joy and a very proud moment for the students, teachers and every member of RDT.

Out of 101 children trained by RDT, who participated in National Cultural Festival organised at Chilakaluripeta, 11 were children with disabilities. The competition saw many students emerging with flying colours. But, RDT’s special children indeed stole the show.

Hearing-impaired children pursuing their special education at B.K. Samudram stood first in classical group dance, while a visually-impaired child, Reshma, bagged the second prize for singing with her sweet voice. The way the students connected with the audience, by the sincerity of their performances is commendable. While the emphasis remains on performing and not so much on the laurels brought home, RDT students have never failed to bring additional joy and raise the bar and beliefs of the organization.

“There is a belief that cultural training is the preserve of the well-off. RDT’s special students have proved that talent is not patented by anyone person, caste, or societal strata. RDT is to be appreciated for its initiative in tapping the rich cultural talent among these children and bringing them to limelight.”

Sathyavati
Chief Guest, National Cultural Festival

PARADIGM SHIFT
 

I have worked elsewhere with PWDs and children with disabilities. We are stretched to our limits to relax and engage our students in the time we spend with them. Once I took up work with RDT’s Special School in Uravakonda, I realised that the additional input of cultural activity training, be it singing, mime, magic, dance and so on, made our jobs so much easier and pleasurable. Most of all, the children benefit so much more with the inclusion of such activities in their module.

Mrs. Padma Raju,
Special School teacher, Uravakonda

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