Father’s day was celebrated on Saturday, 21st September 2019. Early Intervention services for children with disabilities or developmental delays are focused on being family centered and is ideally carried over in home settings. Even so fathers are often left out of the process. It is usually the mothers who get involved in the day to day affairs of the child to sensitize the fathers to the intervention being given to their child and to see the benefit the child accrues the fathers were invited along with the children to spend a day at the center. Many of the mothers stayed back and sent the children with the fathers. However some of the mothers came since they had reservations about their husbands being with the children alone all day. 57 fathers came this year and made the meet a grand success.
At the stroke of 10 am the fathers, children and staff gathered in the prayer hall. At the outset Aruna Rathnam our Executive Director welcomed the gathering and gave an introduction about the programme in detail. She took the audience through a narrative of how the day for their child starts with the Prayer, followed by Yoga, Therapies, IEPs and Group teaching. She explained every aspect in detail so that the fathers have a clear picture of how their child receives the intervention at the centre. She also explained the various projects that help the Early Intervention programme. All the Group heads and the Special educators were introduced one by one to the gathering explaining the roles they play in the life of the children.
This time MNC had planned a short distance outing (for the fathers with their children) to a place where the child has already been taken by the school under the Sambhavam Project and has enjoyed. Some of them went to a Restaurant and the others to the, Jeeva park near the center and Tree Park at Kotturpuram. These were places that their children had earlier visited and were familiar with.
After the welcome and introduction fathers, children and the staff had tea and snacks together. At 10.50 everyone got ready to step into the van that was to take them to the place of visit. The children who went to Bombaystan (restaurant) ordered their own snacks and relished them. They were taught how to order, wait for the food and how to pay the bill. They also used the waste paper basket to throw away their used napkins and other waste. Another batch of fathers and children went to the Kottupuram Tree Park. At the Tree Park the children gathered dried leaves, watered the plants, and sat under large trees and enjoyed the cool breeze. The tiny toddlers of the birth to two years went to the nearby Jeeva park. Here they had a good time at the swing and played games in groups. All of them returned just before lunch time.
A feedback meet was arranged when the fathers returned to MNC after the trip. Many of them spoke frankly about how they enjoyed the day. When the fathers were asked at the end of the day how they felt, mixed emotions were spelt out. They said that they had not even imagined that an outing with their child could be so much fun and educative. They were surprised that the children actually liked an outing and felt sad that they had inhibitions about taking their children out and now they have understood that they must do this often. Some of them said it was overwhelming and to think that our wives were doing this everyday was really surprising, they said ‘that in acting as carry over agents at home they understood that they must also play a vital role and support their wives’. Some of them were apprehensive about the future of their children. Their fears were allayed.