Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Maths sums

Well this month Prisha learnt to do a bit of maths.She has learnt simple addition , subtraction and also learnt half the table of 2, thanks to her aunt.She loves to rattle off.She has the yearning to learn and is very fond of books and stationary.All day her pals are these.Her zest for life keeps me amazed. I hope she is always this way.I can excite her into any activity.I was cleaning up this month and she was more worried when I was cleaning up her book cupboard than when I did her clothes cupboard.I could not chuck out even a lil pencil or piece of paper.She was relieved when all was in her cupboard was closed .Clothes cupboard was left to me.
Y'day was diwali, she loved to dress up and looked all dolled up.She has fetish for ear rings and shoes.I was worried with the loudness of sounds from the crackers.I kept asking her if it was too loud in the hearing aids.But I think the aids were working well for her.I am glad the settings of the aids was changed after I got hyper with the audiologist.I am still wondering why this setting was not given when we 1st bought the aids as she told me this time that she had given her the best settings this time.Well I wish I was able to open a centre where all this could be taken care of for parents who are less aware.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Visit to a deaf and dumb school

Yesterday was one of the most memorable day of my life.I was called by one teacher of the deaf schools on Sunday.She told me that she had heard me relate my story in children's welfare institution a few months back and also heard Prisha speak.She asked me to come to her deaf school where children from villages studied.Most of the 150 odd students were living in hostel.As the parents were coming to pick them up , she wanted me to speak with them to make them understand what hard work with the deaf child can do and inspire them.I was sceptical and as I wasn't well I was trying to excuse myself.But the way she pleaded I decided to go.
I was a bit nervous as I was not sure what I was getting into.I knew the visit to a deaf school where there would be only children who have no hearing aids, no speech and would be using sign language and there would be mostly sad stories. The other thing that worried me was the harsh reality would make me see how my life would have been had I not met Mrs. Alaka Hudlikar.
I drove down to the school and 2 teachers waited for me outside the school. I walked in and the school was clean well maintained and the children were mostly from villages.The teachers were very warm and gave me much respect.They asked me to relate my story and focus more on the importance of hearing aids as most people never bought them.The children used aids given by school and then left them back.Most could not speak and used sign language.I spoke to the parents about 50 of them along with about 15 odd teachers. I spoke for about 30 mins and really tried to go down to the level of the people who were mostly from the villages and spoke marathi language.I used the most simple examples and tried to touch their emotions to show them the importance of hearing aids, speech therapy and the need to communicate in the language of the masses which is certainly not sign language.They all listened but the expressions were mixed.Some genuinely understood , some gave me blank look and some listened to it as it was a lecture from school.It was really sad as these people have , I think given up and accepted that this was a way of life.To add to it life in the villages is tough.For them it would be unnecessary expenditure to buy aids and to spend energy on the child was beyond imagination.I told them how hearing aids are like spectacles of the ears and needed to be there as they helped them to connect to the world.I requested them to not to buy that necklace for the wife and paint the house this festival and instead spend 7000 Rs on aids to help the child.The teachers came and told me about their stories how children steal the batteries of pocket model aids, cut the wire, stole them etc.I felt it was largely due to the fact they were not used to the world of sound, it was unnecessary disturbance and it made no sense to them to hang them in the ears as sound has no meaning for them. The principal said that she would like me to come to them again and speak again to parents.I requested her to be specific to new parents that admission would be given to little kids only if aids were worn by the kids.I felt the place was being used by the parents to leave the kids there as they were a burden.The teachers work hard. I could get their point of view that if they closed such centres for kids , these kids would not have any mode of communication as in villages they had no education and schools for them.AVT does not exist in this world.It was a very heart wrenching and eye opening experience.I felt more educated than the teachers as Mrs. Hudlikar has taught us the art of AVT which has brought normalcy in our lives.The teachers talked to me of their problems and it made me realize how fortunate I have been. They gifted me flowers made of cloth made by the students.They wanted to reimburse my visit expenses which I refused.How could I even think of it when here they are waiting for donors to help them fund aids.The warmth and awe that I received was so over whelming and it was a very humbling experience.If called I would go there again.
I came back thanking God for showing me how much He loves me.I am in a position to buy the best aids for my girl, give her education in the best school, got speech therapy from the best teacher possible and above all for giving me the strength , the mind, intelligence and will power to work on my Prisha.It is because of Ma'am that I am able to stand up and feel confident of helping others.I feel it is my duty to share the knowledge that I have received.If it wasn't for Priya Kshirsagar,who showed me the way to ma'am's classes, I would have been still running around looking for solutions to my problems.The sight of empty eyes of some children and parents haunts me.I really wish government in India could do more and help bring light in the life of deaf children.I wish awareness of deafness was there, every child could be be tested for deafness at birth, hearing aids could be made available at subsidised rates, AVT was practised and every child could speak and there were more happy families

Friday, October 17, 2008


I found it on the net and thought should share with all of you. Click on the link to know more.

Taking correction

I am having a bit of a problem with Prisha's speech therapy classes.She has started to get a bit of performance anxiety in the class.She gets a bit too hassled if Ma'am corrects her and then starts to cry when corrected a couple of times.It is not even as if she is strict.She has started to avoid my teachings too, but can't get away as I insist on it.In the class she had started to say "I don't know" for everything to avoid speaking as I think she had the fear that she may be wrong and will be corrected.She does look so timid but is actually quite a brat.I am worried about it but will actually have to work on it.God, something or the other is always there to think about.She is a good listener and if she gets down to it she takes correction and speaks well.She also prefers to sit on her drawing books and loves colouring.But she also prefers it as it is easier than racking your brains and speaking!The kids are smart and really know how to try and get away with things.If you are not smarter, then for sure you shall be fooled and they will have their way out.I am always on my tenterhooks and firm .Hope this problem also gets solved soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stage appearance

Yesterday was a big day for me.I came on stage after a gap of 17 long years!It was such a good feeling.My son plays keyboard since the last 6 months and so his teacher wanted to have a performance in our housing complex.Well we had been practicing and he asked me to do a vocal and also host the show.I was nervous and I think after such a long gap you develop a complex and stage fright.But thanks to Prisha's speech therapy , I have the confidence to speak in public.Since I use a lot of language , it is not difficult to speak in public anymore.Mrs. A Hudlikar's classes have given me the trust in my abilities back.I used to sing , act in plays etc on stage till I was in college.After my wedding I got so involved in my family that my personal growth was on the back burner.I am coming of my own now.I called my teacher to take her blessings as I feel what I am today is thanks to her.

The performance was well received and for the 1st timer my anchoring was appreciated too.Prisha too spoke on the mike with so much ease and confidence that it was highly applauded.It was a great day for all of us.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Picture Discription

Picture reading or picture description is a pre-reading activity.It is given as a oral activity [reading] and a writing activity later.It is asked as "describe what is in the picture ". So the child must be able to interpret the picture before he can interpret the printed word. The child may or may not have had that experience ,may or may not know the things. But they must be able to say something about that picture. Its importance lies in the fact that our lives is very limited , we may not be experiencing or doing those things and also we don't talk about it even if it is happening , and so through pictures we can bring that experience to the child through picture description.Teach them exactly what is happening in the pictures.They should develop that much mental capacity where they are able to see the picture and say what happened in the past and what is happening now and what will happen next and to be able to say why it all happened. It is not that simple activity that we think. Parents give books of pictures to children to look and they do so mindlessly.There has to a motive to see those pictures and the children should learn to ask questions and think what a picture is trying to say.They should learn to look at pictures intelligently and say something about it.For that the parents have to sit with them and get them books which are meaningful.

There are 2 pictures that she talked about.I would like to show how she read them.
The 1st picture-
In the picture , there is a boy.There is a clock.The boy was sleeping in his bed.The alarm clock rang.The boy woke up.
Here she demonstrated how at night the alarm clock is wound and set and then how it rings in the morning at that time.The children were made to pretend play sleep and then when the alarm rang they all woke up.It was fun for the kids and the picture concept of alarm clock cleared to the children. The concept of "why the boy woke up?" was that he woke up because the alarm clock rang was understood by the kids.
The 2nd picture-
In the picture there is an elephant.There is a bucket.In the bucket there is water.The elephant is drinking water.
Now when ma'am asked the kids what the elephant doing , they all looked blank.I too was perplexed as to why Prisha could not say the word "drink". This where the transfer of knowledge is required.Maybe as they have never seen the elephant drinking water , they did not really know about it.
In picture reading initially make simple sentences where you break the sentence the way we did it above. With practice the child would learn to make complex sentence like- In the picture , there is an elephant drinking water from the bucket.Since they do not have language maturity , it is important to follow this pattern.