Unit for Children With Special Needs

Our centre for children with special needs provides a 360 degree rehabilitation platform. Through our programs we reach out to over 1500 children annually. With an aim to provide an inclusive platform, we initiated the Innovative Accessible Learning model and our Community Adoption Program to unite the community to suit needs of children with disabilities. Our programs work in collaboration with the Education department, Mumbai Municipal Corporation and the Department for Social Justice and Empowerment.

Education for all :

Pratham is registered with the National Institute for Open Schooling (NIOS) board, Delhi and has received accreditation for the Open Basic Education (OBE) program under the NIOS since 2002. On inception of the program 12 years ago, 3500 - 4000 annually drop out women, children, aganwadi workers and many more beneficiaries registered with us for the program nationwide. Post the ratification of the RTE, drop outs were enrolled, however a group of children yet remained out of school, they have been children engaged in labour, street children, majority however children with special needs. Since the last 4 -5 years we have observed that majority 95% of children enrolling for the program are Children with Special Needs (CWSN), this is because of the flexibility in the program, moreover giving them equal opportunity to education. Our experience has been CWSN drop out due to denial of admission, inaccessible learning opportunity and non-friendly assessment patterns. • In order to make education accessible for CWSN, we initiated the Innovative Flexible Learning within this program for CWSN. Wherein we have developed TLM (workbooks and textbooks) to suit needs of CWSN and also made Assessment child/disabled – friendly together with the board • With the help of a committee constituted of experts from the field and an examination board to make examination procedures smooth sailing, this program has benefited CWSN tremendously • Over 1,200 CWSN from Govt aided/ private special schools, mainstream schools, homes and individuals register with us every academic year The program gives a platform for children with disability to avail a certification, which is at times farfetched due to denial of admissions from schools and problems in coping with the content and structure. This certification gives an opportunity to help children enrol in future academic courses or skill based trainings.

Training and Sensitisation :

We have developed training booklets based on need assessments through our field experience for teachers, caregivers and parents.
1. Training on Early Identification and Detection – ARE YOU AWRE?
This booklet has been developed keeping in mind the need of early detection of developmental delays in children. In order to facilitate early detection and ease interventions and benefit the overall rehabilitation of the child, we propose to conduct trainings with teachers, parents and caregivers.
2. Disability Orientation

In the phase of post identification of disability, parents and caregivers are confused on the symptoms and overall rehabilitation help. In order to make them aware and facilitate the entire process of rehabilitation we have developed a booklet that covers areas such as Disability orientation (covers all 21 disabilities as per the PWD Bill), Role of the child in school, Role of the family towards the child, schemes that will benefit the child and home based programs. We propose to carry out trainings with teachers, parents and caregivers who have or work with children with disabilities.
3. Parents Empowerment Model
We have designed a model on parenting children with special needs, that focuses on areas such as rehabilitation care, prevention of disability, household mechanisms to support children with disabilities. Sessions for example include – how to support your child during an epileptic attack, how to support your child’s drooling, how to identify developmental delays in children, how to improve your child’s handwriting and more.
4.Inclusive Education

Under the RTE act and adapting guidelines of the NCERT, we have developed a booklet on Inclusive Education, which includes areas of difficulties the teacher may face in the classroom, methods he/she can adopt to include children with disability in the classroom through use of local resources.

Community Based Interventions :

Through continuous field interaction and experience we identified that services in the Rehabilitation sector for children with disabilities coming from marginalised communities have been farfetched as financial barriers and access to these services still remain a constrain. This is as we identified is the “NEED for ACTION”.

In order to bridge this gap and assist children with disability we designed a program the “Community Adoption” wherein we cater to all needs of the child, keeping his/ her primary stakeholders in mind. Disability Certification Drives, Awareness Programs, School enrolment drives, Parent meetings, Computer training and Assistive Device Camps all these services are provided within this program. In addition to this a one of a kind Resource centre which provides therapy, remedial assistance, support classes, dance and singing therapy to children with disabilities enrolled in the centre. This centre has fully accessible infrastructure including an accessible toilet, making it completely barrier free.

In order to initiate a sustainable model and sustain activities under the community adoption program we empower parents to become therapists and educators for their child. Parents undergo training through the course of the year to help their child in the process of rehabilitation. This not only gives additional support to the child but inturn creates a surrounding wherein the family is independent of external support. All the services under the Community Adoption program are unique as they are easily accessible to children with special needs in the community and without any financial binding on them.

Skill Development :

A common concern amongst parents and caregivers of children with special needs is making their child independent. Thus Pratham also provides training in skill development to these children. We enroll the children in vocational training programs designed Pratham Institute prathaminstitute.org which primarily works on skill development in collaboration with the National Skill Development Centre. All the courses are jointly certified by Pratham and NSDC. Prior to the enrollment children are assessed on their capabilities and are provided suitable courses

Program Head: Ms.Deepali Kapoor
Email Id: deepali.kapoor@pratham.org