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

23 comments:

  1. Dear Rouchi,
    I think that tough it is a small start in realisation by the people at a deaf and dumb school to invite you to share your experience of bring up your daughter, itself is a great step forward. keep up the good work and I am sure you efforts would defintely bear very positive results in the long run. Keep up the good work lady !!

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  2. Very touching to read about your visit to the deaf school and sharing your knowledge.
    Hugs from Spore

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  3. May be you can become Alka Hublikar for others. You may take up as a profession and purpose.

    Every small initiative to any scale is appreciable, but you can touch many more lives and transform their world to some extent is something which has no equivalence.

    All the best

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  4. Can anyone give me the phone no. of Dr Alka Huldikar ? My 3 years old son is wearing hearing aids. we want some guidance from Dr Alka. Please help.

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  5. you need to give me more details about you and your son and then I could give you her number.

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  6. Hi Ruchi,

    Thank you for getting back... i am a housewife and a mother of one. My kid is 3 and a half years old and has profound hearing loss in one of the ear while a moderate hearing loss in the other one. He has not yet started speaking despite it has been a month of using a hearing aid. We have been continuing with the speech sessions but not with much results and the other problem is that they are not providing us any home program and don't allow me to sit inside.

    I had gone through your website and was hoping if you could help me giving the contact number of a speech therapist Dr Alaka Huldikar.
    Thanks.

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  7. See it is only 1 month since you have out hearing aids , so his hearing age is just 1 month!Plus where do you stay and where are you going for therapy I need to know so that I can ask Ma'am for you.You need to identify yourself.\She lives in Pune and has many children coming, we need to know if you can come and meet her.It is not just talking once that would solve the problem.You would need years of speech therapy and that too a correct one.You have come to know about his deafness very late and so you would require to give more back ground too for me to help you out.The blog and speech therapy videos are for that purpose and so please fill in the details too.

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  8. Can I talk to you through mail ?

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  9. Please check your mail.

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  10. Sorry I have not received any mail from you.

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  11. Your Email address is rouchi_6@hotmail.com.I have sent again .Please check.

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  12. Can you please check your mail ?

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  13. This blog Is very informative , I am really pleased to post my comment on this blog

    Hearing Aids

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  14. This blog Is very informative , I am really pleased to post my comment on this blog

    Hearing Aids

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  15. I mailed you my skype id. Please check it and let me know when you will be online. Thanks.

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  16. The difference of time is 3.5 hrs.I will be on skype tomorrow at 1:30 pm your time.

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  17. Hi Ruchi,

    Apologies for missing out :( after posting i got engrossed with kid and completely lost track of time. Hope you understand. Will make sure that hence forth i will promptly check the mails. I would appreciate if you can reschedule the skype chat.

    Hope this would be okay with you.. and once again sincere apologies..

    Many Thanks.

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  18. Hi Ruchi,
    You told me about the dryer which i had to use to dry his ears after giving him bath. Is that the special dryer or is it the normal hair dryer ?

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  19. How do you talk to your child firmly with the right intonations ? I want to see your method. Do you have any video in which you are talking to your child ?

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  20. Hi
    Iam mother of 2n half yr old girrl.She is absolutely fine but does not speak at all apart from maa..tat too when she feels lyk speakin it..Ive even started her school but still she does not utter a single word..Ive shown her to speech specialist also..they also say she is absolutely fine but i dnt understand y she is not speakin lyk others..WHile chckin videos online for speech therapy i found Maam Alaka Hudlikar's name could you please give me her contact nummber so i can talk to her regading my child..I stay in Pune only...it would be of gr888 help n a relief for a mother..thanx in advance..will be waiting for ur reply eagerly...my email id is mail.shivanijain@gmail.com

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