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Monthly Archives: September 2016

Autism and Cerebral Palsy: Myths and Reality

Autism and Cerebral Palsy: Myths and Reality

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.” – John F. Kennedy

Be it historical, cosmological or medical, a myth can only be curbed with facts, that are why it is extremely important to place proven facts against myths related to certain disorders as well.
Autism and Cerebral Palsy are disorders with symptoms that cannot be cited but felt over a period of time. This might also be the reason why several myths start doing the rounds in due course of time. In fact, most people use the terms Autism and Cerebral Palsy interchangeably, when they are actually quite different from one another. Autism is a developmental problem which limits the ability to interact and communicate whereas Cerebral Palsy is a congenital disorder related to muscle tone, movement or posture.
With this article, we delve into the myths versus facts debate in an attempt to elaborate upon the different aspects of both disorders.

Autism
Myth: People with autism do not care for others. They cannot feel any emotion and are unable to express themselves.
Fact:An autistic person can care deeply for others but cannot show spontaneity in developing empathy. According to Meenakshi Lamba, a special educator of Autism Spectrum Disorder at Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan (MBCN), a charitable school for the differently-abled kids, “Children with autism are mostly non-verbal. They learn to communicate through pictures. They can simply express happy, sad or angry emotions.”

Myth: People with autism do not like making friends and love to stay in isolation.
Fact: Such people like to interact socially but are non-verbal, therefore less adept at developing good social interaction skills. Social skills can be taught to them quicker through specialised instructions and training, as opposed to letting them develop those skills just from daily life experiences.

The fact is affirmed by Meenakshi. “People with autism interact well with those known to them like classmates and siblings, and are happy but take a lot of time while interacting with strangers. We try a positive enforcement method in autism to motivate children to work.”

Myth: Autistic individuals are believed to be intellectually disabled.
Fact: The level of intelligence among these people may vary in general as they can be really bright or average or going through cognitive deficits. Meenakshi explains this very simply. “It is totally different from mental impairment but includes intellectual disability. Under this, the impairment occurs in three areas ”“ communication, social skills and thinking as well as reasoning power.”

Cerebral Palsy
Myth: Individuals with Cerebral Palsy don”t get any better with time. Their condition only worsens.
Fact: According to Dr. Shruti Mittal, Head of Department in rehabilitation therapy at MBCN, “This condition is non-progressive. It is not curable but can be managed up to a level where a child can be independent even up to handling activities of his daily living.”

Myth: People with Cerebral Palsy can never become independent.
Fact: Children suffering from cerebral palsy, especially with hemiplegia and spastic diplegia, can go on to become employed adults with a family of their own. They can be taught to self-care for reducing the burden off their families. In the words of Dr. Shruti, “All we need to do is understand and accept these children as how they are and what they are. This is something that keeps them motivated and enhances their confidence to work for life.”

We believe that the views expressed above will help change notions regarding autism and cerebral palsy. When all such myths are busted, the world can move on to finding and inventing better ways to nurture, educate and motivate children suffering from these disorders.

ThankYouTeachers: Say MBCN Students

ThankYouTeachers: Say MBCN Students

A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.

A teacher has always proved to be an anchor in our journey of life. As soon as we begin learning, we hold their hands and walk through the path of education. Learning is an enriching experience that allows us to keep going until we reach our destination leaving us wiser and feeling liberated.
It was time for Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan (MBCN) students to say #ThankYouTeachers to each one of those who have helped them move ahead in life. As the week began, they were gearing up for the Teacher”s Day celebration due on 5th of September. The pre-event activity saw a special gesture from the kids who went the eco-friendly way.

There were ”˜Thank You” messages written all over the notice board that paid a compliment to every special educator at MBCN. Children prepared special message cards and handmade paper bouquets for their teachers. Having received such love, how could their mentors not reciprocate? In return, they delivered a series of touching performances for these special kids.

They are and will always be unique

Unlike the usual, the special educators and rehabilitation therapists at MBCN had a different story to tell. They acted, danced and sang for their beloved pupils. The decorations were made, the stage was set and the rehearsals were in full swing when you had visited the place a day before.
Then came the day when the lamp was lit to begin the day by an inspiring figure, Mrs. Vandana Sharma, Director of MBCN. There was dance and silent skit performed by the teachers and students between the humming of songs. As the HOD of Junior Wing, Mrs. Rosy Kak welcomed the guests, students saw an entire range of performances lined up by their favourite teachers.

They are full of laughter and passion

In between, Mr. Rohit and Mrs. Anita kept the audience engaged through their anchoring. There was comedy full of laughs and romance full of passion when teachers danced all the way to our hearts. Mrs. Manju Chamoli”s performance was a special attraction as the students saw her dancing for the first time on a romantic number.
Inspired by life itself, and aimed at imparting lessons from everyday incidents, speech and hearing impaired students enacted a scene capturing the myriad milieu of general train compartments. Their expressions clearly matched the raw emotions of people who find themselves in situations that are difficult to evade.
There was a lot of talk about the MBCN teachers cum rehabilitators cum therapists; but have you ever wondered why they are different?

They are parents, educators and role models

Since 60-70 percent of MBCN educators are parents of specially-abled kids themselves, they have the empathy to play both roles equally well. Not just that, some of these Heads of Departments (HODs) aren”t just caregivers and tutors at the charitable school for differently-abled. They are extraordinary change-makers who are often invited as guest lecturers by noted government organisations like NIMH and NIHH. On the occasion of Teachers” Day, these educators performed hand-in-hand with their differently-abled students to regale the audience.

They unfold new chapters every day

These are actually life”s hidden lessons for kids to learn from. We thank our teachers for unfolding new chapters every day with their words, actions and colourful personalities.