Jivikam - Vazhvatharam

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.

Goals of Jivikam Programme :

Design 3-tier movement towards productive adulthood :

  •   Age 6 to 12 overall development through practical application in activity labs.
  •   Age 12 to 15 Pre-vocational skills training with apprenticeships.
  •   Age 15 to 18 Orientation towards Specific Job with internships.


  •   Develop the latent cognitive processes of the child with ID and Associated conditions through activity-based programmes
  •   Support each child’s physical well being through peer play, coordinated sensory movement and therapeutic practices
  •   Facilitate gradual growth of each child to communicate with their peers and family
  •   Reinforce the potential of each child through inter-related activities in group settings for self-reliance
  •   Foster socially useful behaviours through hands-on-training in structured learning environments
  •   Construct a systematic series of assessment, IEP, progress monitoring and periodic evaluation for each child annually to map progress

Pre-requisite for registration

Completion of 3 years of Upanayan Early intervention programme with 50% achievement.
Age : 6 plus


  •   Assessment base line performance of functioning by a team of interdisciplinary experts including the parents, special educator, therapists and medical professionals.
  •    Goals and Objectives for further training set by the interdisciplinary team.
  •    Working out Individualized Lesson Plans.
  •    Preparing the required Teaching Learning Materials for Training.
  •    Preparing the Environment required for Imparting Training.
  •    Imparting training using Special Education Methodology.
  •    Noting observations on the Responses from the children.
  •    Adapting the lesson plans for effective results.
  •    Term-end evaluations and annual assessment.

Programme Components of Jivikam

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.

Classroom setting :

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.

Activity Labs :

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.

Therapy sessions :

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 :

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.

Acts of Daily living :

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.

Expected Outcomes :

  •   Design and development of Jivikam curriculum with annual evaluation tools for 6 to 12 year olds in 6 years.
  •   Documentation for progress analysis, midcourse corrections, and evaluation.
  •   Each graduate will master 60 to 80% of 450 skills from the Jivikam checklist.
  •   Increasing self-support of each child by a minimum of 20% from baseline every year.
  •   Measurement tool for Assistance by the child in household tasks and chores to be developed.
  •   Systematic documentation formats for programme evaluation in 10 years.