National Institute of Speech and Hearing brings cheer to moms of special kids

The advantage of the seminars is their progressive nature and how they help them treat their special kids better

KOZHIKODE: Shemeena (name changed), a mother of three from Kasargod, had only one dream: to equip her special child to do things on his own. Now, 14 years old, he is in class nine and able to count and understand objects with different colours. Thanks to the online classes she received through NISH Online Interactive Disability Awareness seminar, an initiative of National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH). “I realised the disability of my child when he was just three months. My husband and me took him to several hospitals without much results. Later, we took him for an Ayurvedic treatment and followed ‘nasyam.’ The child had slight improvement. Later, he was admitted to Karuna special school at Eranhipalam,” said the mother.

From the special school, he has been shifted to a normal school at Karanthoor, Kozhikode. The boy travels to the school with his teacher, also a neighbour, who also brings him back. The mother says that after she joined the online seminars at the District Child Protection Office, she learnt that the child has to be taught to do things independently and that she should not support him all the time.

“Many of our queries regarding raising of special children were answered during the sessions held online at the DCP office. The parents are given an opportunity to ask questions after the online presentations. At a time, one parent from a district is given the chance,” she says.

Another mother from Kozhikode, Laila (name changed), said that her daughter was also mentally-retarded and was hygienic to the core. “I had difficulties in coping with her strange mannerisms. Now that after the seminars, I learnt that it was not the fault of the children, but that of the mothers, in understanding them. We come from a poor family and could not have afforded the high fees at the private counselling centres. The classes here are a major help for parents like us,” she said.

Any parent is welcome to the online seminar at the DCP offices and can access the same in their house through computer and internet. The advantage of the seminars is their progressive nature and how they help them treat their special kids better. “We had doubts in the beginning whether these sessions would also turn out to be mere advice. But we are given a platform to raise our doubts. Every parent might be having different issues on raising their children since every child is special. Here, we can also email queries to the officials in Thiruvananthapuram,” said Laila, who had attended all the nine seminars.

How ‘webinar’ helps mothers train themselves

Dr Samuel N. Mathew, executive director, National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH), describes the NISH Online Interactive Disability Awareness Seminar (NIDAS) as a ‘Webinar,’ as the programme links the parents of the special children through internet and web cameras. NISH, under the Social Justice Department, started NIDAS after an email query by the mother of a special child from a remote area in Kasargod.

“An email by a worried mother was the inspiration behind starting this innovative programme in October last year. A mother in her email said she had a special teenage boy and was confused how to take care of him. We were also not in a position to help her from our office in Thiruvanananthapuram,” said Dr Mathew.
He proposed the idea of conducting online seminars (webinars) for the parents of special children to then Social Justice Director V.N. Jithendran.

“The director became passionate about the project and immediately approved it. This is one project with much reach and less investment,” added Dr Mathew. All the District Child Protection Offices have the system to arrange the seminars for the parents every third Saturday. Though the number of attendees is 260 now, this will be gradually increased. While the number of people who attended was just 30 in the first month, it has increased to more than 200 for the ninth session that was held this Saturday. The parents from Gulf countries are also attending the programme, said Dr Mathew.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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