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Challenges Faced by Parents of Autistic Children

Challenges Faced by Parents of Autistic Children

Raising a child with autism comes with a lot of responsibility and fears. There is always a sense of doubt in the form questions like “Am I doing enough for my child”, “Is my child able to know what makes him special”, “Is my child independent”. Optimism and a strong will do not come out of the blue or aren’t something which can be imbibed only through constant practice. It is only after one win over the concerned fears and apprehensions that one becomes an evolved being. Something similar is applicable to the parents of the autistic children. They are fraught with immense strength and perseverance. However, they do have their own set of fears which are justified in themselves. Some of these doubts are as follows:
1. The fear of not being able to accept the autistic condition: Parenthood is about a sense of fulfillment. However, when it comes to the child having autism, the aspect of fulfillment becomes a complex affair. Here, the fulfillment is just not limited to the kind of values which are to be given to the child but to imbibe acceptability regarding the specially abled condition both on the front of the parents and how they help their wards to accept the disability.

2. The fear of insufficiency: There is always a feeling of “Am I doing enough for my child?” Autism characterizes problems with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication. In such cases, the children need added care. This constant fear is justified as it is this very feeling, if channelized, can help such parents to become understanding beings.

3. The fear of the child’s adulthood: It is comparatively easier to look after the child’s needs until the age is less. Entry into adulthood is the beginning of the phase when the children enter into society on their terms. An autistic child has to face a lot of challenges of being differently abled which might have an impact at the psychic level. This fear constantly troubles the parents.

4. The fear of Child’s attitude towards Parents: There is an apprehension in the minds of the parents if their children can actually understand as to how much they love them or whether they will mistake love with sympathy.

5. The fear of Autism being an incurable disorder: Autism does not have any treatment. It can only be regulated through therapies and counselling. This, in itself, is needs to be accepted and accordingly dealt with. It is a lifetime disorder.

If you’re the parent of a child with autism, these fears are justified and should be accepted so that you can bring up your autistic child in the best possible manner keeping in mind all kinds of complications. The best thing is to face the reality with awareness and not escape it through dejection.

School Readiness: Opening Doors for Inclusive Education

School Readiness: Opening Doors for Inclusive Education

What is Inclusive Education?

Inclusive Education is education for all irrespective of differences. According to UNESCO, inclusive education is seen as “a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion from education and from within education.” Inclusive education means that all students attend and are welcomed by their neighborhood schools in age-appropriate, regular classes and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of the life of the school. 

What is not Inclusion?

  1. Educating children in regular classes but different course of study.
  2. Educating children in special segregated environments in regular school
  3. Dumping children with special needs into the regular classroom
  4. Educating children in part-time in special school and part-time in regular school

What is the meaning of School Readiness?

Is school readiness about child being ready for education or is the school ready to offer adequate facilities? There are many questions which arise when it comes to think about practicing inclusive education. The more the questions, the more are the chances of finding solutions. Some of the other questions related to school readiness are as follows:

  1. Does your school have a mission statement that expresses the belief that the professionals and other staff strive to meet the needs of all students? Is this mission statement discussed by staff and used to guide instructional practices?
  2. Have teachers had opportunities to discuss their concerns about inclusion and have steps been taken to address these concerns?
  3. Has planning for inclusion included classroom teachers, special education teachers, other support staff, administrators, parents, and students?
  4. Have you clarified the expectations for students with disabilities who will be integrated into classrooms?
  5. Has shared planning time and possibly shared instructional time been arranged for teams of teachers?
  6. Have staff members received adequate professional development on pertinent topics (for example, collaboration, behavior management, curricular adaptation)?
  7. Has the plan for creating an inclusive school addressed the needs of all students, not just the need of students with disabilities?
  8. Have staff members become comfortable with working collaboratively?
  9. Has a pilot program been planned prior to full implementation?
  10. Have start-up resources been allocated for the inclusion effort?

These questions subtly hint at various challenges that need serious attention.

  1. The number of disabled children is very large.
  2. Their problems are very complex. 
  3. Available resources are very limited. Lack of additional manpower required to handle specific needs. Children drop out from mainstream schools due to lack of accessibility.
  4. Lack of awareness leads to demotivated and prejudiced social attitudes. Issues with Acceptance for different educational needs.
  5. Lack of suitable, quality trained, good special education professionals. 

Some measures for implementing Inclusive Education in India

  1. The Right to Education (RTE) must apply to all citizens of India.  State and central. Governments, as well as all the other social actors, should recognize the importance of a broadened concept of inclusive education that addresses the diverse needs of all learners. 
  2. A standard policy and norms of inclusion needs to be implemented in all schools and throughout Indian education system. 
  3. The preparation of teachers for special education programs should be planned differently, as the aim of these programs would be to integrate disabled persons in their own environment and community. 
  4. Differently-abled children should be treated equally as the normal children and instead of looking them in sympathy their talents and abilities should be recognized for their self-respect and welfare of the society.  
  5. Necessary school supplies such as audio learning or textbooks in Braille should be made available. Suitable modification to examination system may be required, so as to eliminate pure mathematical and logical assessments. 
  6.  Teachers attitudes towards inclusive education could be formed and developed in the context of an educational system which can provide some specific conditions in order to have a good practice in this field. 

It is imperative to understand that inclusion is more than a method of educating students with special needs.  Success for inclusion needs collaborative efforts of all stakeholders. The road to achieving inclusive education is a long one, on which challenges and opportunities will arise. But if we start now with the first step we will certainly move forward towards our goal.

Stress Management Tips for Parents of Special Need Children

Stress Management Tips for Parents of Special Need Children

Stress is a part and parcel of our lives. With each and every passing phase, the degree and kind of stress varies. One of the most complicated phases wherein the amount of stress is at its peak is that of parenthood. As parents, bringing up the children calls for a lot of balance and patience at all levels. This results in a huge psychological crisis which demands serious attention. Here are some tips to improve coping skills to prevent depression in parents of children with special needs:
• Giving Up Is Okay as Well
Well-meaning friends and professionals have also told parents that they have not worked hard or long enough with their child with a disability. Statements such as “If you would just do this at home for 15 minutes a day on the weekends, it would make such a difference,” or “if only you would take the time to train him to use the toilet/feed himself/manage his emotions/cut up his food every time/etc.”.
The truth is that it could just as easily make no difference at all, and the instruction may in fact be getting in the way of your just plain enjoying your child.
• Setting Limits on Expectations
There are limits to what one person can do. You shouldn’t expect yourself to think about your child all the time. And your child with a disability shouldn’t expect to be the center of attention all the time or the center of your life all the time. It is often easy to have the child with disabilities set the schedule and tone for all family life. You have limits and your child has limits; learn to recognize both and give yourself a chance to examine the situation before responding in anger or fatigue or with frustration.
• Having Fun With Your Child
When every activity becomes ‘a therapy session,’ a lot of pleasure can be lost that would otherwise be shared by you and our child. You are the one who lives with your child, and you are the one who is being asked to do just one more thing. If you cannot do something tonight, or every day, okay. That is your decision. Having fun with your child with cerebral palsy can be a radical idea when you are surrounded by people telling you what to do or what should be happening next.
You are not your child’s therapist or teacher. Therapy and educational activities at home are certainly beneficial but you and your child need time to just fool around, tickle, giggle, tell stories and just hang out. These times are one of the most important parts of your child’s “education” and the love and social skills learned by them will stand in good stead for the future as they will contribute greatly to the self-esteem of your child – and your own self-esteem as a parent.
• Being Unenthusiastic is Part of Life
No one expects you to be full of awareness all the time regarding the disability of your child. Sometimes, you feel sad or you are worried about money or your other children, or you are sick. If other people take that as a sign that you’re “not adjusting” or that you’re “not accepting your child’s disability,” that is their problem. No one is excited about work every day. It can be tedious one day and new and interesting the next. The same is true of parenting. There will be days when your child thrills you with joy and days when parenting will seem like the most boring job on earth. You have the right to be “up” sometimes and “down” other days, and living with a child with cerebral palsy may emphasize this aspect of parenting.
• Taking Time Off or Having a Life
As a parent you need time to yourself, with your spouse or partner and with other family members, and just time without kids around. Many parents describe the first time they went to the grocery store alone after their child was born as a tremendous feeling of freedom — even though they were doing a chore, and even though they didn’t talk to anyone but the checkout clerk. There are many parts of your life and each deserves as much attention and nurturing as does your special needs child. At one point I realized that I had no social life and, even though it meant spending money for a respite worker, the time taken to build friendships has probably helped me be a better parent to my child.
• Being the Expert-In-Charge
You know your child better than anyone else as you have spent the most time and lived the longest with this child with a disability, longer than anyone else. You know what works and what doesn’t; you have the big picture and history of your child and can utilize this in any situation. Support personnel come and go but you are the expert with the experience and first-hand knowledge of your child.
As the expert you have the right to be in charge of your child’s educational, social and medical and other decisions, at least until your child can do this for him or herself. Professionals do not live the consequences of their decisions, so while you want their opinions, remember that they are only ‘informed’ opinions and not facts. Handling pressure from family and friends. And it is not just experts who put this pressure on you; you may experience criticism from unexpected quarters, such as family members or visitors.
• Experience of a parent
A dinner guest once criticized me saying I should feed my son first, not me beforehand. I do this because I know how cranky I get when hungry and that I won’t have the patience to feed my son. This rudeness reminded me that casual strangers often can misinterpret and misunderstand situations.
Parents are probably the single most important resource that a child with a disability has and often the child’s only friend and advocate. This should be respected and if it isn’t, it is time to find and surround oneself with supportive people, and professionals, who will respect this.

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The Beauty of Non- Verbal Communication

The Beauty of Non- Verbal Communication

Richelle E. Goodrich said, “I do listen. I just wait for the words to stop and your eyes to speak.” Indeed, the beauty of non verbal communication lies in the essence of substantial exchange of ideas without the adherence to the words. Such kinds of communication make for just an ordinary interaction but an extraordinary experience. This is the specialty which people with hearing impairment are endowed with. When it comes to non- verbal communication, people with HI are the best ones who indulge in conversations through sign language. Sign language comprises the usage of hand movements, facial expressions and body postures which are the primary aspects of non-verbal communication.
However, the journey from encoding a message so that it reaches to the decoder through sign languages which is a difficult a difficult process. There are many kinds of hearing impairments such as:
1. Conductive Hearing Loss
2. Mixed Hearing Loss
3. Sensorineural Hearing Loss

In all of these hearing impairments, communicating with others becomes a challenge. However, sign language is a special medium of interaction which functions on the idea of silence being eloquent . The gap which gets created due to inability to hear properly gets filled through non verbal communication. The eloquence is brought through the emphasis given on physical gestures and hand movements.
At MBCN School, students who are deaf are provided with the best exposure which includes many therapies and activities. One of their HI students, Kartik, communicates with others with ease and comprehends them too without any difficulty. The sense of hearing is one of the most important sources of day to day interaction. Hearing Impairment acts as a barrier in this process. But every cloud has a silver lining. Sign language fills up the gap created by the inability to exercise verbal communication. The beauty of non verbal communication can be felt and witnessed through the way HI students interact with external world in sign languages.

Cerebral palsy – Challenges and Tips to overcome it

Cerebral palsy – Challenges and Tips to overcome it

Cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder and a leading cause of disability in young children. This condition can render stiff or weak muscles in children causing restrictions in movement and functioning. Cerebral Palsy in most cases is caused by structural damage to a child’s developing brain. Essentially, the condition can be attributed to abnormal growths in areas of the brain that is associated with balance and movement.

There is currently no cure for cerebral palsy; however, there are different treatment options for people. These options include therapy, medications, surgery, education, and support. By taking advantage of these treatments, people with CP can improve their functions and optimize the quality of their lives.

Certain health problems are more common in individuals with cerebral palsy, from drooling, lack of proper nutrition, bladder dysfunction, Gastrointestinal Issues, Constipation, Respiratory Issues and insomnia. Children also suffer from pain in various parts of their body – Hip pain being a very common one. Communication is another aspect where this condition severely cripples children as oral articulation becomes really hard due to a very little control of the facial muscles pertaining to problems with eating, chewing and swallowing too.

Parents or supporters often look for information about their child from professionals. It is important to encourage the families to work with to track their child’s development, including movement milestones, and get help if they are concerned. A child suffering from Cerebral Palsy can easily have multiple disorders that will make it very difficult to carry out daily activities; a professional who is helping a child should remember this and try to empathize with the child.

It is extremely significant to carefully observe a child who has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as early diagnosis of other underlying neurological conditions can help connect the child with concerned therapies helping lead them a better life. Early and careful addressing of a child’s condition is crucial.

There are many challenges pertaining to cerebral palsy, let us discuss some tips that can be beneficial to anyone learning and researching about the condition.

● Professional help should be given to children for various kinds of exercises. Expert aid through exercises can help children overcome their physical disabilities to a great extent.
● People around the child, relatives as well as their friends should be more empathetic towards the child not sympathetic. Empathy alone can be a great help to such children and their parents in overcoming the challenges associated with Cerebral Palsy.
● Such children must not be deprived of education. Proper education would help them gain confidence and also allow them to have a societal presence.
● Parents should make the house more adaptable according to the needs of the child.
For instance: instead of stairs, the house can have a ramp that lets the child move freely.
And lastly, love, care, and support at home, at school, and from the society are essential for any child’s growth. Under the supervision of a medical specialist or any professional, the main aim is to reach an individual’s greatest potential physically, mentally and socially. It is significant to understand that therapies differ from child-to-child and should be curated as necessary.

Dr. Vandana Sharma
(Director cum Principal)
Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan
(Charitable school for children with special needs)
Visit us at www.mbcnschool.org
A-12, Sector-132, Next to Genesis Global School,
ExpressWay, Noida, U.P.
PH: 9711000832, 9810772167

UNIFIED SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIP AWARD- DEEPANSHU

UNIFIED SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIP AWARD- DEEPANSHU

Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan has received the Unified Champion School Distinction Award for achieving, the national standards for the year 2018-19. The event organised at Amity University, brought us not one but two achievements as our student Deepanshu – has become a selected member of the National youth activation committee of Special Olympics.
Achievemt

Sumer-Achievement

Sumer-Achievement

Proud moment for MBCN, our student Sumer (From Feb 2008 to May 2012), who had CP and Quadriplegia, was integrated in main stream school, affiliated with CBSE, by MBCN had scored 92% marks in 10+2 exams. During his course of time at MBCN he was imparted with Special Education and was treated in Physiotherapy Department.

Special Olympics World Summer, Games 2019-ABU DHABHI

Special Olympics World Summer, Games 2019-ABU DHABHI

Special Olympics World Summer, Games 2019-ABU DHABHI, Our students have glorified the name of their country and the Institution at the International Forum.

DATE 08th – 21st March 2019

Place- Abu Dhaabhi

1) Arushi Sharma – Basket Ball, Silver Medal

2) Sweccha Nanda- Cycling 500mts 04th place, 01km 05th place, 2km 06th place

3) Khusboo- Atletics- 200mts Silver Medal, 100mts 04th place,

Importance of Sports for Children with Disabilities

Importance of Sports for Children with Disabilities

Disabled Population in India as per census 2011 (2016 updated) – In India out of the 121 Cr population, 2.68 Cr persons are disabled which is 2.21% of the total population. Among the disabled population, 56% (1.5 Cr) are males and 44% (1.18 Cr ) are females. Disabilities in children range from mental retardation, cerebral palsy, physical infirmities, seizures, autism, visual and hearing impairments, and multiple disabilities. Hence, it is extremely important to focus on their urgent needs, allowing such children to lead a reputable and a life of equality in society, recognizing their rights.

Sports is the birthright of every child with or without a disability. Disabled children need to play as much as their non-disabled peers; indeed the benefits of physical activity proves to be, far greater for disabled children. Sports help special children understand their bodies better, control their physical and mental balance, and prepare them to accept the moral virtues of sportsmanship and equality. The inherent structure of sports, with its organization and rules, can be used as a learning tool for introducing and practicing self-regulation and decision making skills.

The advantages of sports for the development of disabled children are manifold. It not only helps in the physical development of the child but also helps them in their mental growth. Let us discuss some of the main advantages of sports for disabled kids:

Development in Gross Motor Skills

Children suffering from disabilities find it difficult to perform physical movements properly; which includes movement of large muscles like walking, running, crawling or jumping. However, with various kinds of sports activities, improvements can be seen in muscle strength, coordination, and flexibility leading to better body balance and improved motor skills. Involvement in sports activities has proven in improving stamina, cardiovascular efficiency, and possibly increasing life expectancy. This will eventually lead to decreasing the secondary health complications like obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL and diabetes.

Communicating and Socializing

Disabled children frequently miss out on social activities, impeding their ability to improve their communication skills. Participation in extracurricular and sports activities can help them overcome this obstacle, providing them with the ability to engage in social interactions, make friends and initiate social skills.

Emotional Benefits

As disabled children find it difficult to express their emotions, sports or physical activities act as an outlet to their emotions – helping them cope up with stress, anxiety, and depression. Sports helps enhance mental health by building confidence, self-esteem, and resilience.

Cognitive Benefits

The hands-on aspect of sports leads to cognitive skill improvement in children and allow them to discover and access strengths that cannot be challenged in the traditional classroom setting. These children will eventually experience an increase in attention span, on-task behavior, level of correct responding and improvement in academics. Additionally, they can learn verbal communication and interaction with peers through involvement in sports.

It is very important to recognize the rights of differently-abled children. We need to understand the practical difficulties that such students face and accommodate them, letting them participate and compete for sports and games. Sports are vital for the mental and physical development of children. They promote inclusion, minimizes de-conditioning, optimizes physical function, emotional upliftment, and enhances the overall well-being.

Dr. Vandana Sharma
(Director cum Principal)
Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan
(Charitable school for children with special needs)
Visit us at www.mbcnschool.org
A-12, Sector-132, Next to Genesis Global School,
ExpressWay, Noida, U.P.
PH: 9711000832, 9810772167
E mail – mbcn_vandana@yahoo.co.in

Open Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities (PwDs) & Challenges

Open Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities (PwDs) & Challenges

Just like the right to education, the right to work is also a fundamental right. A person’s work becomes his identity and it is also essential for an individual’s dignity. It is also a very big part of one’s human right. The right to work is directly linked to the acceptability of a person in a community. However, if the person in question has some disability, things change drastically. For people with disabilities, the real challenge is to explore their ability to work in any field or train them according to their capabilities – to make them part of the working population.

Scenario in India

In India, it is estimated that disabled people constitute around 4-5% of the population. Another World Bank report indicates that between 4 to 8% of India’s population comes under the category of differently abled. In total it is a huge part of the population that is ready to work as per their competencies but either they are not skilled adequately or are a victim of severe discrimination. Despite a huge population of disabled people constituting a significant part of the population, their prospects for meaningful employment largely remain unmet.

Skill development

It is estimated that there are approximately 5 to 5.5 million disabled people in the age bracket 12-24 years. It is a huge segment of the untapped labor force. With the government’s initiatives like Sarva Shiksha Abhyan that focuses on inclusive education, the number of educated persons with disability is gradually increasing. In addition to that, assistive devices and technological advances skilling, this population segment have become easier. Such initiatives are bringing positive changes in society. It is making them even more acceptable in society and they are better equipped to join the mainstream workforce.

Employment

Various organizations working with disabled people propagate a strong role of the companies employing disabled people in their growth and providing them a platform to live an independent life in society. However, there are several attitudinal barriers in providing employment opportunities:

  • It is assumed by the employers that other workers may react negatively if people with disabilities are hired.
  • It is people with disabilities that often shy away from even applying for certain jobs. They fear social stigma and adverse reactions from potential co-workers.
  • At a certain period, people with disabilities reach a development plateau where they are unable to learn new things or are not comfortable to perform further complex assignments.
  • They are also not able to undertake assignments with greater responsibilities due to their disabilities.
  • Another challenge is for it becomes difficult for people with disabilities to adjust to the fast pace of the environment of the companies.
  • Also, people with disabilities have limited interaction with other people in the organization.

These are the challenges a person with disability faces, however, there is a huge segment that of people with intellectual challenges. For this group, opportunities become more narrow and they face a lot more prejudices. Companies must promote sheltered workshops for such people that would help them acquire suitable skills.

People with intellectual challenges are most comfortable in jobs that are repetitive and this is where companies can come forward in providing adequate training and suitable employment opportunities. A sheltered workshop model can be created within their workplaces providing a comfort zone, where they can work under the supervision of rehabilitation professional.

Experts point out that there are many reasons that favor the employment of people with disabilities – as there is less attrition, higher productivity and along with being loyal to the company, they are always ready to learn. Companies need to be sensitized and made aware of the needs and requirement of this workforce. Also, adequate policy changes can help people with disabilities get vocational rehabilitation.

There is an urgent need to recognize the needs and requirements of the physically and mentally challenged. Serious efforts need to be made to include them as productive members of the community so that they can live a life worth living with dignity.

Dr. Vandana Sharma
(Director cum Principal)
Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan
(charitable school for children with special needs)

Visit us at www.mbcnschool.org
A-12, Sector-132,Next to Genesis Global School,
ExpressWay,Noida,U.P.
PH:9711000832, 9810772167
E mail – mbcn_vandana@yahoo.co.in

‘Take One Day at a Time’ Stress Management for Parents of Special Kids

‘Take One Day at a Time’  Stress Management for Parents of Special Kids

Every Parent perceive their children as their own second chance, a reflection and extension of one’s very being. But what happens when these dreams are marred by their child’s disability? Parenting a child with special needs is not an easy job. Such parents experience stress, worry, panic & also guilt on an everyday basis. A child’s disability changes a lot of things in a parents life – from their social life to their marital harmony, stress and depression can take a disturbing toll on their overall well-being.

Proper care for the special kids can only be achieved with proper care of their parents. A happy parent is more likely to understand, adapt and implement regimes that can help them as well as the kid. Here we discuss, few tips on how to cope with stress and depression for parents of the special kids.

 

You aren’t perfect—and that’s ok!

If your well-meaning friends and professionals have told you, that you have not worked hard or long enough with your child – Don’t be overwhelmed or stressed for that matter. The truth is that others advice could have; or may not have made a difference at all, and such suggestions, may in fact be getting in the way of your just plain enjoying your child.

You won’t always get it right.

There are limits to what one person can do. You shouldn’t expect yourself to think about your child all the time. It is often easy to have the child with disabilities set the schedule and tone for the whole family. You have limits and also your child; learn to recognize both and give yourself a chance to examine every situation with peace.

Have fun with your child.

When every activity becomes ‘a therapy session,’ pleasure gets lost. However, while everything on your calendar is important, it’s also important to make time to play, laugh, be silly and just enjoy your kids. Read to them, snuggle with them, engage with them with what’s important in their worlds.

You don’t have to be the Ultimate Parent

No one is excited about work every day, it gets tedious one day and interesting the next. This goes for parenting as well. There will be days when your child thrills you with joy and days when parenting will seem like the most tiresome job. You have the right to have your ups and lows.

Don’t lose yourself

As a parent you need time for yourself without the kids. There are many parts of your life and each deserves as much attention and nurturing as your child. Find things in your life you enjoy doing, a glass of wine, a hobby, shopping for yourself.

Trust yourself

You know your child better than anyone else. You know what works and what doesn’t. You have the right to be in charge of your child’s educational, social, medical decisions. While the professionals are the best in their area, you are the best for your child.

A child’s disability is stressful, agreed; but choosing to create a better future for them is possible only when you give yourself, and your child time to adapt, learn and love the good days as well as the bad.

“Love your child, promote strengths, do the best you can, think “outside the box”, and don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Dr. Vandana Sharma

(Principal)

Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan

(charitable school for children with special needs)

Visit us at www.mbcnschool.org

A-12, Sector-132,Next to Genesis Global School,

ExpressWay,Noida,U.P.

PH:9711000832, 9810772167

E mail – mbcn_vandana@yahoo.co.in