Children
 India
Project #8172

Early Intervention for Disabled Infants

by Samadhan
CWT Team with Samadhan
CWT Team with Samadhan

SAMADHAN`S Day out at Carlson Wagon Lit Travels office, Gurgaon(India)

It was such a wonderful Monday morning. A day out programme for the children along with their mothers and staff of Samadhan, was arranged by the team of Carlson Wagon Lit Travels at their office in Gurgaon, on 19th December.  All of them reached their office by 10.00a.m and they all together had breakfast and then spent the day with various funfilled activities like dance, painting etc.  The children also watched some cartoon movies and they were given beautiful gift packs with colourful books & other stationary. It was special day for the children; they had an opportunity to experience the freedom and joy with such a large group. The team was quite excited to participate in all these activities and enjoyed the lunch with the children.

 

Greeting cards made by our children were presented to the team at their office. The mothers and staff were appreciating the personal care taken by all the team members and made them feel comfortable during their stay.  We acknowledge and appreciate that even during these times of every man hour getting accounted for productivity, they chose to set aside time to be with the children with disabilities and their care givers bringing cheer to their lives. 

 

A big ‘Thank You’ from Samadhan team to Ms. Geeta Jain  CEO , Carlson Wagon Lit Travel, Gurgaon, and every member of the team for arranging such a lovely day out.

Our teachers with the team
Our teachers with the team
Greeting cards made by our children
Greeting cards made by our children
Card presented to Ms. Geeta Jain
Card presented to Ms. Geeta Jain

Links:

Shubhan
Shubhan

Early Intervention is very crucial and important as - neural circuits, which create the foundation for learning, behavior and health, are most flexible during the first three years of life. Over time, they become increasingly difficult to change.  Intervention is likely to be more effective and less costly when it is provided ealier in life rather than later. High quality early intervention services can change a child’s developmental trajectory and improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.                                                                                                                                                                 

This is Shubhan, from - The Early Intervention Unit at our Dakshinpuri Centre in Delhi. Even if he falls down, he extends a helping hand to his friend.  Five years ago he was born with intellectual disability. His birth impacted not only his mother Tabassum’s life but that of the whole family. No eye contact, no baby smiles, and no development like other babies. But today, thanks to Tabassum and her compassionate love and courage and the input of our multidisciplinary team, he is well on his way to achieve his potential. Had Tabassum waited and little Shubhan had continued to grow, but disabled cognitively and physically, he would not be where he is today. When he came to SAMADHAN, his life took a leap forward. He can now stand, walk, sing and even talk a few sentences. 

Here is the story of Tabassum and Shubhan:

Early morning at 5.00 am, Tabassum sat on the top step of her small one room house on the upper floor of a resettlement colony in Dakshinpuri, on the outskirts of Delhi. But yet the clutter and the sad debris all around left an ache in her heart as she remembered the beautiful small village in Himachal where she grew up.  It had all changed gradually but very definitely to bring her here her life, in Delhi. How well she remembered Sonu’s first visit. He was the chosen groom for her and had been brought to visit her village and approve of her!  He had been fifteen and she, just nine years old. She remembered her wedding six years later when she was showered with gifts and pampered. So it had been a happy life; at least until her son - Shubhan was born. This, not only changed her own life but that of the whole family. The family soon realized that little Shubhan was a very strange baby. He neither made eye contact nor did he smile and he did not develop the same way other babies did. It gradually dawned upon her and the family that Shubhan was never going to be normal and that all their dreams of a son and future plans had been shattered. People began to blame her. Most traumatic was the family’s changed attitude. She was house bound. Her mother in law said harshly - you will go out and talk about Shubhan and people will know we have been cursed”.Her father in law had also added to this saying - “for generations we have been a respected family , what will people say  now ?”

But hope came in the form of Sarojini, the door to door survey worker from Samadhan. On seeing Shubhan, she explained the importance of early identification and intervention and how crucial it was.  Tabassum, now realized that a door had been opened and she had to follow Sarojinis advice. But the family was adamant and saw no need for this. Sonu, tried to be supportive initially, but gradually gave up. He felt that since he was living in his parents’ home and he was not contributing much financially, he should support his parents. Not his wife!

As days went by an overwhelming and compassionate love filled her gradually. It was not Shubhan’s fault. Nor hers. She realized that she now had the courage to sacrifice everything for Shubhan.   She knew, just knew, what she should be doing and that she was right.  So, one morning, she told her family calmly  “I am taking Shubhan to the NGO , Samadhan, where they help children like him”.  As she walked down the steps she heard a voice “Wait I will come with you”.  It was Sonu.   The way ahead had just opened up for all of them.

Our services are accessible within the community and affordable. Just what Tabassum and Shubhan needed. We have reached out to more than 50,000 families.  It`s a long and arduous, but exciting journey.

THIS IS OUR MESSAGE –   There are still many Shubhans` in the community. Come, join hands with us. Impact the lives of the intellectually disabled children and their families.

Shubhan - Now
Shubhan - Now
with Psychologist on right and mom on his left
with Psychologist on right and mom on his left

Links:

At  - Special education Unit
At - Special education Unit

Pathways, one of the leading schools in Gurgaon, newly initiated coursework designed named, PROJECT EMPATHY. The Design Technology department of the school has set up a unique “collaborative project based learning Support team" with the purpose of expanding the learning opportunities for their students outside stereotyped school curriculum. As part of this initiative, the team linked up with Samadhan to provide an opportunity for the students to visit Samadhan’s Dakshinpuri Centre. The goal was to allow these students who are all from financially well to do families, to learn how families who are from a low socio economic community live and to meet and learn from our students with various types of disabilities and their mothers and the teachers. They were then to identify ways in which they could provide help. Whether it was a personal relationship or indirect support in the form of educational toys, furniture and learning aids was up to the students to decide. 

A group of 6 students of Grade 11 visited Samadhan, Dakshinpuri Centre, under the leadership of the project's coordinator, Ms. Kanika Sharma on 29th April 2016.  It was important for these students to understand the mission and vision of the organization and the services that are provided here based on the identified needs of the target community. Since all these students came from an entirely different social background it as an eye opener for them. This introduction session on Samadhan was conducted by the project leader Ms. Subhashini and the Director of the organization, Ms. Pramila Balasundaram. Dr. Bhatia, pediatrician at Samadhan, gave a detailed presentation on the various types of intellectual disability, which was very interactive and informative for the students. After the sessions, the most important and interesting part of the visit for the students was interacting with our children and their mothers in The Early Intervention Unit and Special Education Unit.  It was a very heart touching and emotional experience for them to know about children like themselves who were yet so different from them.  They got the opportunity to see and learn about the different therapies and rehabilitation services through interacting with our teachers.

The motive behind the project and the exposure visit is that, these students will be inspired to use their learning to design various learning aids, furniture and other products that could help improve the quality of life of children with various mental health issues like Down's syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Autism of our Dakshinpuri Centre. This exposure visit was a great learning for them and would help them in achieving the final goal of the project.  They would be visiting our centre again in the next quarter and probably would get some designs and models of learning aids ready by then. We, at Samadhan will look forward to this

 

Report on the exposure visit by one of the students : Anant Jain Raghavan, XI, Pathways School, Gurgaon

On 29 April, 2016, we visited Samadhan, a NGO which works for betterment of children with intellectual challenges. The visit opened my eyes to a world and life different from mine. It was undoubtedly a life fraught with challenges and I met children aged three to five, who were undergoing physiotherapy. I came back especially with memories of two children. A five year old girl who had met with a mishap when she was merely 10 days old and had fallen off a motorbike. The resultant injury on the frontal lobe of her brain had left the right side of her body paralyzed. I was happy to see the child having considerably recovered through physiotherapy. The other child was suffering from cerebral palsy but she had not shown substantial improvement. I was delighted to see these children being taught essential life lessons and skills through which they could turn their weakness to strengths and lead normal lives. I even befriended a child who through his amiable personality endeared himself to one and all. The experience was not only enriching but also highly moving. I saw a world and life about which I was totally oblivious. I learnt that struggle is the keynote of existence and one should not be daunted by challenges.

Students interacting with mothers
Students interacting with mothers
At - Early Intervention Unit
At - Early Intervention Unit
With children at Special education Unit
With children at Special education Unit

Links:

Hand prints of children involved in Music Therapy
Hand prints of children involved in Music Therapy

Workshop at Samadhan – “Capacity Building through Music Therapy interventions”

Samadhan has been regularly conducting In-house workshops based on Music Therapy, Drama Therapy & Creative movement Therapy, for the capacity building of the Therapists and teachers of both the Special Education Unit & Early Intervention Unit. 

Music Therapy makes use of our inborn ability to appreciate and to respond to music.  The music therapy room is arranged to offer a range of accessible instruments, and client and therapist improvise together, creating music spontaneously.  A relationship is built up within the music, which can help the children with intellectual disability to overcome their difficulties and realize their potential for communication and relationship.  Music Therapy can offer an opportunity for the development of interactive skills, physical and perceptual ability, as well as a positive experience of self, which can promote self-esteem and motivation.

One of the interns Ms. Vanessa Pinto who worked actively with the children at Samadhan Dakshinpuri Centre , is a student from The Music Therapy Trust, c/o Action for Autism under the guidance of Dr. Lucy Bolger, Course Tutor has conducted a Workshop for the teachers and Therapists at Samadhan.

The intent of organizing the workshop was to introduce a foundation for identifying   and using different ideas of musical instruments for learning, and to expand teaching skills, offer lesson plan ideas and discuss teaching and learning basic music practices. The session also provided an opportunity for the participants to fully involve in musical therapy that are especially designed for children.  The workshop started with a presentation on introduction of clinical music therapy training which can be implemented by the teachers, providing an important opportunity for children with intellectual disability to develop their practical skills in music therapy in real-life clinical settings.

The workshop included several individual, group and partnership activities that helped the participants to learn about making effective use of musical instruments in their field of work. Fun-filled  activities including music, props, body awareness exercises, warm ups, story-telling and creative movement activities interspersed with verbal dialogue and sharing left the participants requesting more such workshops. The information and teaching was provided on integration of movementof body and introduction of a wide variety of music genres which can be used as therapy especially for children with Autism.

This new approach to fun filled and musical approach to teaching/learning was much appreciated by all participants. Not many privileged agencies use creative movement therapy and so this was first even for SAMADHAN.Activities with props/musical instruments helped them to overcome their inhibitions and gave them confidence to perform the task. It was fun and they look forward to regular sessions.  More activities with music can now be incorporated in special education and early intervention rehabilitation to enhance the social and cognitive skills of children with special needs.

Most of the participants felt that Individual themes and musical developments can be merged for each individual child; some children would like to sing and dance, others would like to be sung to, and some would try to play an instrument on their own.  The specific advantage for our children in our low socio economic community center  is the fact that both  you do not need costly musical instruments to produce music but can use ordinary everyday things which all families have and use  for cooking etc  to use as instruments. For instance drumming to a beat on an upturned steel vessel used traditionally for cooking rice.

Thank you for all the support from Global giving for encouraging our interventions and program for the intellectually disabled children.

Ms. Vanessa giving Presentation on Music Therapy
Ms. Vanessa giving Presentation on Music Therapy
Ms. Vanessa with Teachers
Ms. Vanessa with Teachers

Links:

Therapy Instructor on the left & Sangeeta on right
Therapy Instructor on the left & Sangeeta on right

Sangeeta, mother of Roopali, a six year child who belongs to Delhi and her family has lived here for generations. The only thing she remembers is that they came from Rajasthan according to family stories passed down from generation to generation. Her husband is a tailor and is adept at stitching blouses for sarees and skirts for women who absolutely need these items of clothing for the sarees, all women wear. She was sent to school but discontinued soon since they family felt it was more important for her to get married. So she was thought fortunate to have been able to interest a tailor who had a steady income from his little shop in Dakshinpuri itself where Samadhan also has its first service center.

Sangeeta`s first pregnancy was something to celebrate and fervent prayers were made for a boy child. However her happiness turned into a major night mare when she gave birth to a girl and one who was identified as a child with Cerebral Palsy. She says that her first reaction was one of unbelief that something like this could happen to her.  Neither she nor any of her family member had any awareness on disability and in particular intellectual disability.  The fact that the baby was a girl no longer mattered.  But Sangeeta's story is one of courage, commitment and an absolutely amazing consistency to make her baby daughter, Roopali progress as much as possible. Her whole attitude has taught us all humility and a lesson to show that “unconditional love” can conquer anything. It is no longer just a term but has found actual meaning in Sangeeta's and Roopali`s story. When asked what her first reaction was to realizing Roopali`s condition she says with a smile. "There was just one thought in my head and that she was my daughter and all I can do is love her.  I have no time for weeping or being angry”.

Roopali came to us on 6th September 2012 and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy Spastic quadriplegia by the pediatrician in our center. When she first came to us she could not sit up, had no eye contact and was flat on her back. The multidisciplinary team planned out specific therapy sessions for her.  Today, it is a joy to document the remarkable progress Roopali has made. There is improvement in her grip and body movements.  Also now she is taking little bit of solid food, whereas earlier she was dependent on liquid diet only because of which her immunity and growth level was very low.  She can now hold things for few seconds with both hands.  She also smiles and makes eye contact.  Reacts to sounds in her surroundings. She is also able to sit with very little support.

It has taken about three years for Roopali to reach this stage. The unstinting input from Sangeeta  in carrying out the exercises at home with Roopali, her absolute conviction that Roopali will improve, her ever smiling face have been a major impetus for all the other mothers as well as for the staff. The only negative aspect of this is the lack of social opportunities for both Sangeeta and Roopali to be a part of the community in which they live. Sangeeta says that she usually avoids meeting people and that mostly people avoid her and Roopali as well. We are trying to bring about some change in this situation through workshops and house to house visits through our survey workers. But our strength is Sangeeta's courage as well and she is truly an agent of change and has impacted positively on other mothers as well.

Thanks to all of you for your continuous support in bringing change in the lives of the children with intellectually disabled children and their families.  We would be happy to know your suggestions or views on our early intervention programme.

Sangeeta & Roopali
Sangeeta & Roopali
Roopali with the physiotherapist Ms. Anju on left
Roopali with the physiotherapist Ms. Anju on left
 

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Organization Information

Samadhan

Location: New Delhi, Delhi - India
Website: http:/​/​www.samadhanindia.org
Project Leader:
pramila balasundaram
New Delhi, New Delhi India

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