SPECIAL NEEDS CENTER
SPECIAL NEEDS CENTER STARTED IN APRIL 2019
A dedicated center for children with special needs and children
in special circumstances started by us in April 2019
PURPOSE / GOALS OF PROPOSED PROJECT
The ‘Street Smart’ program at Aasraa Trust is the first step of bringing children into education; this is where the magic begins! Begging, rag picking and working ‘Out of School’ street & slum children transform into confident, happy children who can read and write.
Firstly, we reach out to the children in the slums through our community outreach team. Outreach is an essential part of the process as it allows us to meet with the children, parents, family members and the community on a daily basis. Then the children are initiated into the first step of our ‘Street Smart’ education project where we conduct classes within the neighborhood to foster trust and basic education.
Among all the children that come to ‘Street Smart’ we noticed an increasing number of children who are unable to cope with studies in a natural classroom environment. On further inquiry we noticed that children showed signs of developmental issues. Children are unable to recognize, learn, retain or even manage basic interaction with their peers. After a formal assessment at Indresh Hospital these children have been diagnosed with having various forms of learning disorders.
Aasraa needed a dedicated center where selected children can be given the opportunity to learn at their own pace and with a different approach. The formal assessment of each individual child highlights the need to develop a specific curriculum for their overall development.
What appears as normal interaction/behavior for a normal child, is a very challenging task for a child with special needs. A few of such centers do exist but none for parents without financial means. But what about a child from a poor family living under a tarpaulin sheet on the streets and slums? Parents who are daily wage earners cannot afford a “special center/day care” for their child. There is no hope and vision for these children.
The current status of inclusive education does not meet the special needs of these children. They need a dedicated center with a loving atmosphere for learning.
We have another group of children who come from most distressed backgrounds and need special attention and care. They are victims of abuse and exploitation and are handed over to us via the Child Welfare Committee and ChildLine.
Every child in need is welcome at Aasraa.
We want them all; we have space in our homes and our hearts for all children;
We are here to give them love, care and the opportunity they deserve.
There are two types of beneficiaries in this model:
- Children who are currently enrolled in various Aasraa Projects across Dehradun
- Children who have been assigned to us by the Child Welfare Committee and ChildLine, Dehradun
Our initial target is 50 children who will benefit from the proposed project in a year. This number will rise as we develop this project. Most of these children belong to families where the parents work as migrant labour and fall under the economically weaker sections and/or have BPL status. Most of these children live in slums. They live in most vulnerable circumstances, often falling prey to exploitation, abuse and social neglect. Aasraa currently has 23 children with different special needs and 19 more waiting to be assessed, all from the slum communities. We also have 10 girls living with us in our shelter home who need special care and protection.
Under Aasraa’s umbrella, we now provide these children with quality special education and much required medical care.
Aasraa Trust provides a wide range of activities and services for children with special needs.
Each room in our facility is equipped with the following to make it a conducive learning environment:
- A comfortable seating area (specially designed low chairs and tables) in every classroom along with carpets and cushions for floor activities/free play.
- Cupboards/Storage Bins to stock visual learning aids, teaching materials, toys and child’s daily classwork.
- Audio-Visual Equipment including a Large screen TV with speakers to enable Computer Aided Learning
- Whiteboards for instruction; Soft Boards to display the child’s creative work.
- Instructional Charts on the walls to reinforce daily activities/tasks
The following direct activities are undertaken for every child enrolled in this program:
- Evaluation of each child by a team of professionals (psychologist, special educator, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and speech therapist) (this is done in consultation with Indresh Hospital)
- Placement of the child under a special educator according to evaluation and development of IEP (Individual Education Program)
- Planning of individual therapy for each child according to evaluation highlighting short-and long-term goals
- Regular assessment of periodic progress
- Regular case conference (with optional presence of parents) to review the child’s progress and to define the future plan of action
- Annual assessment towards the end of the academic session to discuss promotion of the child
Our daily activities with the children include:
Pre-session prayer/assembly, Warm Up Activities, Academics – Basic Hindi/English/Maths, Social Class, Arts and Crafts, Kitchen Activities, Lunch Activities, Basic Gardening, Health & Hygiene Education, Computers/Computer Aided Learning Classes and Outdoor Play/Indoor Play with toys
Our Indirect Activities include:
- Parents/Guardian/Sibling – Awareness and Counselling Sessions
- Home Visits including suggestions for creating a suitable environment for the child at home
- Guidance and support for paperwork related to Disability and Rehabilitation and access to Government Schemes
Results/ Expected Outcomes of the Project:
We have designed individual models to meet the specific needs of children enrolled under this program.
This includes a better understanding of the condition of each individual child. On successful evaluation and the development of an IEP (Individual Education Program) and with regular classes/sessions with the child, we hope to see a marked difference in the overall behaviour of the child.
We aim to provide the children with the tools to enable him/her to carry out various daily tasks by themselves. Our goal would be to make the children independent, as much as possible with continued support from their parents/guardians.
Through regular counselling sessions, we aim to educate the parents/community about the various conditions and help them to become active participants in their child’s/ward’s development and future.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION:
Monitoring will be carried out by Project Incharge/Coordinator and Aasraa Trust Management.