Category Archives: Success Stories

Understanding the Needs of a Hearing Impaired Child

Understanding the Needs of a Hearing Impaired Child

Our ears expose us to the wonderful sounds of nature and the ambience surrounding us. We understand things when we hear them. But, when we are unable to receive sounds through ears then it leads to a condition of hearing impairment. Although, there is always a possibility to amplify sounds with the use of a hearing aid in various conditions. However, if the hearing loss is found to be severe, a person develops an inability to distinguish sounds. Still, students who are hard of hearing can comprehend audio information by supplementing their properly working senses with listening devices.

When a person is repeatedly exposed to loud noises, there are signs to watch out for. For instance, when a special child starts facing difficulty in listening to other people clearly or often misunderstands their words. Such children expect others to repeat themselves and they tend to watch television or listen to music at a volume higher than what is required.

Types of Impairments

Hearing impairment is generally found in four types. The first one is called ‘Conductive’ which is a result of obstructions in the middle or outer ear affecting all the frequencies of hearing. This kind of loss can be corrected by the use of a hearing aid. Come to another type, ‘Sensorineural’ that is caused if any damage happens to the inner side of ear.

The loss can go up to being profound and may affect certain frequencies to a greater extent. Sounds may often come off as distorted even after using a hearing aid. Hearing aids enhance the capacity of a differently-abled child to communicate and hear with the use of digital hearing aids or bone-anchored implants. Depending upon the extent of severity, middle ear and cochlear implants are also advised and sign language is taught.

Then, there is a mixed kind of hearing loss that is caused due to problems occurring in both the middle and inner ear. Last but not the least, comes ‘Central’ that is caused when the damage extends to the person’s central nervous system. For hearing impaired children, communication is mightier than sword. They interact with people through a variety of communication methods. These methods include the sign language, finger spelling, lip-reading, written and oral communication which they pick up at special schools meant for them.

Coming to the Visual Aid

Educators make special considerations while teaching such children in their class. Much of these come from the common sense that prevails while working in collaboration with an affected student, his/her family as well as the speech and language expert. Apart from depending upon the constructive criticism from a differently-abled child and his/her family, teachers emphasize upon using the visual aids to reinforce the available auditory information. Keeping the environmental noise to the minimum level inside a classroom also restricts any kind of interference to occur with the listening devices.

But the most important of all the efforts to tend to a child suffering from a hearing loss is to be more verbal and expressive to him/her and maintain continuous eye contact while talking. Face-to-face interactions help the special child to read the lips and talk directly to the person trying to strike a conversation with him/her. While communicating with children, it is necessary to keep in mind that one utters complete sentences. It can help them brush up their linguistic skills which is a key to their academic development.

Talking Through Signs

Being expressive, giving an effective speech and putting up demonstrations is appreciable while talking to the deaf. Being a qualified sign language expert is an icing on the cake. Shouting in front of a special child is obviously not allowed as usage of hearing aids can make sounds louder but not normal.

If an oral speech, sign language, finger spelling, gestures or lip reading fail, then we can still communicate to these children through writing. Apart from this, a semicircle sitting arrangement could be preferable for a child suffering from hearing loss in group gatherings. This gives them access to all the members in their peer group and the setting is more beneficial if an interpreter or visual aids are arranged.

The extent of success while communicating with a deaf child depends upon observing his/her body language or facial expressions. If there is any trouble in understanding the parts of speech of a differently-abled student, he/she can be asked to repeat. The willingness to understand them and the desire to communicate with them helps the people to be at ease with such students.

It is a widely welcomed move to lend a helping hand to a child suffering from hearing loss as the impairment proves to be a hindrance in the overall development of a child. The earlier this loss occurs, the more serious are its effects. In the same manner, the earlier it is identified and the interventions are underway, lesser serious are its probable threats.

A special child is always a visual learner. Therefore, educators can be encouraged to use graphics, pictures and text labels more extensively into teaching. The bottom line is that students not just at the special schools for deaf in India but those being taught in a normal classroom setting should also get an ideal atmosphere to prosper and flourish. Special educators only need to build a habitat for the deaf that can be conducive to their situation and help them avoid the life of a recluse.

Acting in this regard, the WaveRiders of Ponty Chadha Foundation (PCF) decided to make an effort to educate and empower the hearing impaired kids at their special school for deaf children, Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan (MBCN) that was set up with a motto to brighten lives.

Adapting to a Child with Hearing Loss: A Teacher’s Perspective

Adapting to a Child with Hearing Loss: A Teacher’s Perspective

A teacher’s job is to ensure that his/her students have a hunger to learn overcoming all odds and limitations. Even though the child has a hearing impairment and requires extra care. Being a teacher for special children, I have learnt adapting to different teaching strategies that work in the classroom setting. But before taking any step, I try to analyse the extent of hearing impairment every child suffers from. Proper assessment of the situation allows me to ensure educational accessibility for these special children. Adding flexibility and willingness in the creative abilities, goes an extra mile in finding ways to overcome difficulties. And, not to forget, effective communication is the key.

If a person never had a chance to experience how hearing loss occurs or how hearing is made easier then, he/she may not have an exact idea. For instance, talking in a high-pitched voice makes it difficult to hear or donning a thick beard poses a problem in being able to read lips. Further research into the topic makes it easier for an educator to examine the problems faced by a hearing impaired student inside classrooms. But a teacher can address these issues very well by applying techniques like enunciating, lowering tones and face to face interactions. When I know that I have to deal with a child suffering from a hearing loss, I have to keep an account of his/her problems as well as experiences they are going through.

Hand-Signal Codes Always Work

Listening is exhausting for those who cannot hear properly. There is so much of work on a teacher’s part that includes trying to figure out meanings, interpret the signs and comprehend the language. Small steps make a huge difference. Over the years, I have developed a few hand-signal codes while teaching at Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan (MBCN), a special school for deaf children run by the Ponty Chadha Foundation. These codes helped me in determining whether a child’s supporting devices are working properly. If I ask a simple personal thing like ‘Show me the place where you sit or tell me the reason why you sit there,’ goes a long way in designing the most effective classroom strategy for such children.

Getting students to give their reasons helps me a lot in reflecting upon my actions and contemplate about the reasons behind them. There have been moments in life where I found all my efforts gone kaput just because of lack of communication. Therefore, it all boils down to effective communication at last. To justify these words, I applied few of simple methods in my special class that made a difference.

An Adapted Class

While speaking, I make sure that my face is visible to the child suffering from a hearing loss. Another way is making friends. A student, who can hear well, can work with those who are hard-of-hearing. Peer support is of great relief to an occupied teacher. Furthermore, providing context and background behind everything and repeating lessons increases the power of memorizing. Give a quick recap of what has already taken place and announce what is coming up next in advance. I also take help from the assistive technologies that help me derive success by eliminating the background noise for a child with hearing impairment and increase his/her access to sound. In most common usage is the FM technology that directly transmits sound to the listening device of the hearing impaired child. Though, the technique is effective only if the device is in place and is being used properly. It is also to be made sure that the teacher is speaking through a microphone.

If the transmitter cannot be passed around the classroom, a teacher can make the situation conducive by repeating back whatever is being spoken. The mike will pick up the sound. It is possible to maximize the efficiency of this technology by conveying its importance to all the parents, students and faculty members comprising the substitute teachers as well as the administrative staff. Also, encourage a student to speak for himself. Create an environment where a child can raise his/ her hand and say ‘I am not able to hear you’ as an idea can change lives of those whom you teach.

Communication is the Key

Now, take the communication considerations into account. As my special student relies on lip-reading, I always signal his/her attention before speaking. I assign him/her a desk in front where I stand generally. While giving lectures, I also slow down my lip movements so that students are able to grasp what is being taught. I communicate to them through gestures, facial expressions and body language. Idioms could be taught explicitly and jokes could be explained. These children often lag behind in developing social graces. Therefore, specific social skills like carrying on a conversation or joining them is also taught to them. These techniques of teaching things differ for every student.

Getting Visual

Adopting visual strategies and making curriculum accommodations for them is also a welcome-step. The class instructions, homework assignments and procedural changes are written on board. I use posters, flash cards, charts, graphic organizers, pictures, captioned videos and artifacts to illustrate concepts. In addition, visual aids like semantic maps and word webs also help in establishing connecting links between information. The available human resources, such as teacher aides, peer-tutoring, interpreters, note-takers and therapy services can also be utilized. Resources like sign-based websites or pictorial programmes can be used on instructions or borrowed from an advisory visiting teacher or a special education facility located nearby.

These efforts are surely to bear fruit with a bit of prior planning. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) was a concept devised to meet the needs of every differently-abled child at special schools for deaf in India. To know about the impact, periodical assessments are equally necessary. They are fruitful in identifying barriers, altering a process and making special arrangements. At MBCN, I am not just a teacher but a WaveOfChange which takes a multifaceted approach to deliver socially driven outcomes through an act of philanthropy.

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Vikas Shows the Light through Vocational Training at MBCN

Vikas Shows the Light through Vocational Training at MBCN

Vocational training programmes play a key role in empowering the lives of the differently-abled. This is so because rare disabilities come with rare qualities which even a normal person cannot possess. Here, we put up an example of Vikas Midha who suffers from mild mental retardation, general seizure and Cerebellar Ataxia. His condition can be defined as a neurological deficit that comes from cerebral palsy related to cranial stenosis. But the question is that why we mention him in the conversations at Ponty Chadha Foundation (PCF).

Vikas is a real gem of Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan (MBCN), a vocational training NGO run under PCF in Noida. He had joined MBCN only in April 2003 and went on to become a sales representative within just one year. So, what it took in the world for him to become that? Only positive attitude, sheer hard work and the collaborative efforts of his family and the entire MBCN staff that walked hand-in-hand with him while he moved ahead to achieve so much in life.

Here goes his success story. Son of a retired colonel and a homemaker, Vikas is singlehandedly handling the customers, cash and the stock report while working as a sales representative at the MBCN Kiosk running since 10 years in the Centrestage Mall of Noida. The MBCN Kiosk has several outlets to showcase the products made by the students of the sheltered workshop at various prominent malls spread across the northern India.
Sheltered Workshop Project
The kiosk at Centrestage Mall sells out various products made up of printed and handmade paper. These comprise carry bags, gift box, jewellery box, envelopes, chocolate box, cards, file folder, office kit and bangle box which are handcrafted independently by the special children of MBCN under its sheltered workshop project. It is with due regard to Ponty Chadha Foundation, the philanthropic arm of WAVE Group that has taken up an initiative to run a vocational training programme under its umbrella with an attempt to empower the special people. PCF provides them opportunities to realise their talents and hidden potential while taking part in extracurricular activities.

Moulding the Talents
Like a potter, ‘We, the #WaveRiders of MBCN’ work with the differently-abled while considering them as tender and soft as clay to be moulded into independent individuals. We start over again with the same lump spinning in our hands until the imperfections are done away with and a useful vessel of the desired shape is obtained. Thus, these vessels depicting humans grow to serve a purpose in life.

It is estimated that India would require around 500 million vocationally trained helping hands by the year 2022 across various sectors. Therefore, the government and non-profit organisations are making efforts to vocationally train and tap the skills of differently-abled people to bring about a desired change. Such training plays an important part in boosting the confidence of a special person.

An atmosphere for both learning and earning was developed at MBCN while keeping the talent and interest of every candidate in mind. These special people are looked over by professionals who work for their rehabilitation. Its sheltered workshop has now attained the status of a top manufacturer and supplier in paper items. For that, the students are continuously trained in cutting, pasting, designing, fabrication methods and screen printing techniques to prepare paper goods of high quality materials to ensure durability.

In the last few years, some of the corporate houses like Lakshita Fashions have also come forward to lend a helping hand to this initiative under the corporate social responsibility. The entire profit earned with the sale of these products goes to the students in the form of stipend on the equity basis. Therefore, help them and keep following to join-in the initiative. This is our way of empowering the talented lot of MBCN.

 

How MBCN Observed World Cerebral Palsy Day?

How MBCN Observed World Cerebral Palsy Day?

World Cerebral Palsy Day celebrated on October 7th is not just a day but a movement started by people suffering from cerebral palsy, their families and organisations. Over 50 nations in the world observe this day to acknowledge and support those suffering from this neural disease. These people have a vision to ensure that those affected from cerebral palsy hold similar rights and opportunities as compared to other human beings. The occasion gave the world an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the affected every first Wednesday of October. Since they are extraordinarily gifted, it is important for the world to acknowledge these wonderful souls on Cerebral Palsy Day.

Knowing Cerebral Palsy

This initiative was taken up thinking about the 17 million people who are grappling from cerebral palsy around the globe. And, there are 350 million more that are directly connected to either a child or an adult living with cerebral palsy. Globally, the numbers affected by the disease are huge, and to address their concerns and empower them with rights is essential.

While analysing Cerebral Palsy and its implications, the physical disability generally occurs in childhood that can affect movement on a permanent basis. The extent of its impact ranges from experiencing slight weakness in single hand to hindering the voluntary movement completely.

If statistics are to be believed, 1 out of 4 differently-abled children faces difficulty in talking. 1 out of 3 suffers from spastic cerebral palsy making it difficult for them to walk. 1 out of 2 patients face intellectual disability and 1 out of 4 has epilepsy. Since, the disease is a life-long disability with no cure yet known, the idea is to help them make the best use of their limbs.

The Way MBCN Sees It

Working with the same motto, our school for cerebral palsy in India, Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan (MBCN) recently observed the World Cerebral Palsy Day that witnessed participation from all its special students accompanied by their parents and teachers. The event was one-of-its-kind effort by the Ponty Chadha Foundation (PCF), the philanthropic arm of the WAVE Group. It attempted to bring all the participants together on one platform to share their experiences while taking part in fun activities. Here, children enjoyed playing games with their parents like touching and identifying objects.

Participants Take Over

The aim behind celebrating cerebral palsy was to create awareness regarding the disease. The occasion saw both children and their parents sharing their experiences of coming out in light and interacting with the public. They talked about their concerns arising out of stares and comments from people on a child’s condition. The emphasis was on how the society’s reaction affects both the guardians and their wards. Also, they highlighted the need of doing something more when mere advices from people do not help a child or a parent in dealing with what is incurable.

Thus, our school for children with cerebral palsy concluded the programme with a message that a behavioural change through communication is needed to tackle with the age-old mindset and break the myths regarding the social stigma attached with the ailment. Then only a WaveOfChange would be created to sweep off the societal problems which still hog a child coming out with cerebral palsy.