Thursday, November 8, 2012

Parents to Parents Interaction

Last week, SBP-Centre for Mentally Challenged had Diwali exhibition where things made by special students were put up for sale in the school premises. There was a good response and the profits were shared with children too. There was a separate section where parents made food stuff at home, things like PaniPuri, Idli Chutney, etc. and put up on sale and there were games corner too. 

This is a parent involvement during such celebrations that make such events so memorable. 

There is a very active parent-teacher association at school which helps keep the student cheerful. It is with cooperation of such parents that staff is able to bring better result with the child’s development in different areas of physical and psychological needs.

You may have hundred of helpers to help you cope with your mentally challenged child but the presence of parents play a very important role in the development of the child.

Four parents of the mentally challenged children of Swami BrahmanandPratishthan were asked to address the parents of students at Ankoor in Pune. They were asked to share their experience and discuss the ways to get the best results from their children with proper training and skills.

Dipti Mehta stressed on three main points.

1.    Acceptance. It is very important to accept the fact that your child is special and will not be able to cope with regular school curriculum. He needs help, a special care and customized training to help him cope with his limited ability.
2.    Search the proper institute that can help your child. It is important to discover what your child’s interest is and more attention should be given to develop that area. For example, Dipti’s son Devansh, loves to play tabla, a music-tutor helps him develop his skill and he get enjoyment and satisfaction in performing well. Academic may be taught, but only on basic level, more important it is to discover, which area is the interest of the child and the emphasis be given to develop those skills. Initially, one-to-one attention is given but as the child begins to have confidence in his skills, he can be involved in group activities.
3.    Make yourself happy first and build your own comfort zone. How can you give happiness to others if you are not happy yourself? Parents tend to forget their own needs and are so busy looking after their mentally challenged child that they have no time for themselves, this results in depression and unhappiness. It is very important for the parents to have some time set aside for their own activities, it could be a social activity like visiting friends and relatives, or leisure activities like drawing and painting.
Parents should be in regular touch with school staff to keep abreast with all the school activities and get the regular feedback on child’s performance at school.

DiptiBakshi, parent of our student, Jesal of primary section, spoke about the different activities that parents are involved during the academic year.

Parents are invited for every event at school. School has care-taker’s day, parents day, grand-parents day, sibling days, etc. during which they get to spend time together in the social activities. All festivals are also celebrated at school during which, children learn the importance of each festival and the other details related to each festival. End of every month, group birthdays are celebrated whereby parents and teachers co-ordinate to make their child’s birthday memorable, a different theme is selected each month and all the activities are focused around that theme, for example, Last year the theme was the colors of the rainbow, this year the theme is bouquet of flowers. Every month, there is a focus on the flower of the month. One flower is selected and all the activities like songs, games, handicraft items, surround around one selected flower of the month.

There are regular meeting held at school to co-ordinate the events, the parents get to share their experience, during discussions they realize that they are not the only ones facing difficulties at home. By sharing and caring, they are able to help their child more and have a positive attitude towards all the activities at school.

Another parent, Vijaya Jhewade, mother to Apeksha, spoke about her own personal experience and how there has been a change in her personality since her interaction with other parents of the students.

Vijaya Jhewade was a shy woman, who never interacted with anybody. She was invited by school staff to take part in the parents’ group dance, which they were to perform during the annual school function. Taking part in the group dance forced her to interact with other parents while rehearsing, coordinating and discussing the dance steps, slowly and gradually, she shed off her her cloak of shyness and became friendly. Her dance was appreciated and this gave her a satisfaction of performing well, restoring her confidence and she discovered her new talent. With interaction with other parents, she realized that she needs to make time for herself too, hence went on to pursue her career and is now a qualified nurse.

One dance performance has changed my life” she said.

Another parent Mr. Dashrath Parag spoke about all the privileges that special child can enjoy legally.

 He spoke about the legal aspect of special child’s rights at the National level, informing the parents about all the facilities available for the special children and how one can go about achieving it.  There is a Parivar Sayadri at all India level that the parents can join. A minimum of 5 parents is required to form a group, become the member of the SayadariParivar to get the regular support at National level.

The meeting was a great success and the parents came back in chirpy mood, happy that they were able to share their knowledge and help other parents in a similar situation.

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