Sadhana Unit for the Deafblind at Clarke School for the Deaf might want to know how children with deafblindness learn. These children communicate through tactile sign language, thanks to the teachers as it is increasingly getting difficult to find trained faculty.Inspired by Helen Keller, some of these teachers have dedicated their lives to children and young adults with deafblindness. She (Helen Keller) conquered her dual sensory impairment of hearing and vision and is one of the famous persons with deafblindness. June 27 is celebrated as Helen Keller Day, as it was on this day in 1880 that she was born. “Deafblindness is a unique disability involving the senses of vision and hearing. It has consequences that lead to problems in communication, orientation and mobility, socialisation and accessing information. We can help a child with deafblindness become someone like Helen Keller, by identifying them early and giving the right kind of intervention,” says Jayanthi Narayanan, special educator and head of the department at Sadhana.
She has been instrumental in grooming many young children with deafblindness “One child, Soundharya, was brought to me with a diagnosis of hearing impairment and mental retardation but when I began to interact with her, I realised that she had a vision problem that had to be tackled immediately. With glasses and visual stimulation, she showed remarkable improvement. She began to trust me and I became her eyes and ears,” she says.
With large print and training in sign language, Soundharya got her initial education. But things went downhill and she began to lose her vision rapidly. She has now begun to learn Braille and uses tactile sign language. “What Ann Sullivan was to Helen Keller, I am to all my little students,” adds Jayanthi with a smile of contentment.
P. Srinivasan, lecturer for Diploma in Special Education Course at the School, has been reaching out to as many people as he can to take up a course in special education.
“Want to be another Ann Sullivan and groom more Helen Kellers?” asks Srinivasan
“We run a two-year course in Deafblindness, recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment,” he says.
“Spend a day at the Sadhana Unit and feel the difference you can make in the lives of children or young adults with deafblindness,” says P. Leelavathy, director of the Clarke School for the Deaf.
To know more, call 2847 5422.
The institute is located at 3rd Street Dr. RadhaKrishnan Salai, Mylapore.
(Dipti Karnad is the Teacher Training Coordinator and Principal at the School)
source : http://www.thehindu.com/