The Rights of Persons with Disability Act (2016) has advanced equal opportunities to all persons with disabilities to assure them their “inclusion” in society. Yet in reality, poor physical access to facilities, information, and transportation have indeed been barriers for the persons to realise their rights. For children with multiple disabilities, entrenched attitudes towards adaptation of learning environment within conventional school settings add to their difficulties to access equitable education with quality as they grow older.
Recognising the importance of access to services as early as possible, Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children developed and field tested a structured early intervention programme “Upanayan” from 1989. Based on indigenous practices and multi-disciplinary inputs, Upanayan ensures training in 850 skills in 17 domains of development from birth to 6 years to children with intellectual disability and associated conditions. Through activities in group settings and IEP, a child is guided to master these skills for holistic development at the Centre, while the parents act as carry over agents at home for the same skills.
Building on Upanayan, MNC has initiated a holistic programme Jivikam focussing on the underlying cognitive processes in 15 domains for children with ID and associated conditions from the age of 6 and above. Each child will learn in activity-based ways with his peers so that personal growth and social maturation take place in meaningful contexts. The activities are designed to take the children through the inter-related developmental processes needed for sustaining and deepening the performance of the child in the long term. In the short term, each child will enjoy the activity as well the master the skills embedded in each activity.
Design 3-tier movement towards productive adulthood :
Completion of 3 years of Upanayan Early intervention programme with 50% achievement.
Age : 6 plus
IEP in group setting will be the broad approach to how the programme will be carried out in the Centre. Parents / care givers will be briefed on a weekly basis so that children get to practice at home as well.
Skills, concepts and behaviours related to the domains of functional academics, work and communication are structured into an upwardly widening spiral curriculum. Learning materials and methods.
Application of functional academics as well as practising of behaviours related health, safety and leisure. In the first 3 years, urban gardening, mock kitchen, fine arts and crafts will be set up.
Apart from recommended therapy specific to the impairment, blending in ideas/ items for targeted physical & sensory stimulation in other settings (use of standing frame or textured learning aid in a classroom) helps strengthen overall performance.
Physical education for children with multiple disabilities offers scope for realizing the potential of unimpaired sensory processes. As this is the period of gradual growth of the body towards adolescence, awareness of how to maintain and increase the overall stamina of the special child gains urgency.
Independence in carrying out these acts enhances the quality of life for the child as well as for the immediate family members. Practice of skills necessary for acts of daily living makes these competencies second nature. Hence meal time, bio-break time, arrival and departure times are part of the time table.