Saturday, March 24, 2012

Updates from school

         I have been waiting to see the reactions a few days after my talk at Prisha's class on deafness. These effects die down soon and was hoping that all the kids would still understand Prisha's issues. But I am happy to know that she has a few who still help her out and are playing with her. Makes me happy. The teachers are more cooperative and give her a lot of attention in a positive way. Some girls have now started to be with her in group games. The teachers also try to understand her needs better. She used to give a few answers in the class which were a bit out of context, few kids laughed at her then. The teacher now makes an attempt to let her give an answer where they know she has better understanding and expect a correct answer.It boosts her confidence and gets her more respect and acceptance in her class by her peers. The teacher is giving me a few more hints on what is being taught in class which helps us to work with her at home and in turn she is more comfortable in the class in her understanding of the subject being taught. We get a few books home too on the subject. So hoping all is going good this term. We are still waiting to see if she gets a mentor to work with her once a week. The mentoring head is away so waiting for her to come back and get a best fit for her.The counselor would also work with a group of girls to get Prisha more friends soon after the Easter break. So we just wait and watch. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Alaka Hudlikar....perfect speech therapist

Here is a video of what Alaka ma'am has done to some of her students and their families.....bring happiness and joy in each home of the deaf. A video in Marathi epaper Sakal. I am proud to share it on my blog !

keep going ma'am, we are so blessed to have you in our lives.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Prisha has friends !!

    I am so delighted at how kids can be so warm and caring. I have got such good feedback from school and the teacher said that she found me very interactive and warm with the kids and it did bring a change in their own attitude as well as the kids too in class. So I offered that I could talk to other sections too about it as some moms have shown a lot of interest. And she said it would be a good idea as they all play together during lunch in the play area and also they would be shuffled in grade 3 too. She even said that Grade 4 has disabilities as part of their unit of inquiry right now and probably it would help if I could have a word on this with them. That excited me immensely. So looking forward to some good news from school.
         The kids who were a part of it yesterday went and spoke so much to the parents at home that I had a lot of moms coming and appreciating our journey and were very supportive. Now Prisha had a girl coming over, giving her a card which says they are going to be forever I was so happy and Prisha seems to be beaming with joy, now I really don't know how long this would last, but am happy that the little girl had those thoughts for Prisha. She now has a playdate this Friday at a  classmate's home and the next week another one has called her home. So things are looking up, just hope she is able to make use of this in a big way. I hope the change in attitudes of all around her at school would bring more learning experiences at school.I am happy I spoke out and took this step.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spreading awareness on deafness in 8 year olds

Talking about deafness

Tried hearing through hearing aids

Fascination !! 

A power point presentation
            Today was a big day when I was going to talk about deafness to Prisha's class. Did not have too many expectations just that they sit through without getting bored. The session went really well and I had them listen to our story, know what it is to be deaf and also our daily struggles. When I asked if they had to loose a sense between hearing and seeing, they all said hearing. But at the end of it they knew how much struggle goes behind Prisha learning the language. The kids were keen to learn all that I had show, loved to hear through the hearing aids and they really thought that Prisha was very brave. We did earn more friends and a few who came in to ask if Prisha could come and play with them after school. We earned a bit more empathy from teachers and students who are all now looking forward to helping Prisha.
            I did tell them her daily struggle to manage new words and listening and socializing in a bigest way.I think this talk made them realize how lucky they are to have normal hearing and to be able to make friends easily. This also gave Prisha a big shot in the arm, as she sat their proudly listening to her mum talk. A few questions from kids too came a surprise and was happy to answer them. I am glad the school gave me this chance eventually to talk about this subject and hope the kids develop empathy for any child or person with disabilities in future. I feel elated too and gave me the confidence too. Few mothers asked if I was ready to talk about this to the other classes where the kids had no clue about deafness to spread awareness. I am more than willing , I said ! It would help me spread awareness about this subject which is so close to my heart.

Educating the 8 year olds

Today I am going to educate 8 year olds from Prisha's class about deafness, its effects and constant fight to be a part of the social structure. I am hoping to plant seeds of empathy into the little minds where in they learn to empathize with not only people with deafness but also other disabilities and become a bit more sensitive to the needs of such people. Taking hearing aids so that the kids can feel them, hear through them and would know what is life for the deaf. Keeping fingers crossed and hoping to make it exciting and fun enough to make them listen up. I am excited, a very young audience !

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Update with the school counselor

      Prisha has issues making friends. I think it does happen with any child with any disability and special needs. The normal children cannot identify with the issues and are not aware of the depth of the problems. Being kids they are unaware and so cannot keep pace with the needs of special kids. And so when I see Prisha complaining that kids do not include her in their games, or she isn't able to hear the instructions in the play area as the kids mutter and run away, I do not blame them. Some kids are considerate and do try but then they need to play with others too. Sometimes some kid pulls them away too, the regular stuff happens too. Some days are good , some days as she has missed out some instructions, she misses out a good time with friends too. So after a long discussion, we eventually had the school counselor stepping in to see how best we could work out things for Prisha so that she has a good and decent social circle at school to make her more happy at school.
        The counselor said that she was happy to see Prisha's growth in the last year and she is more intelligible in her speech and she has started to hear better and learn a lot more. She did acknowledge our work that we have put in to help her understand the big change in her life after our move here.So next thing to work was her social interaction which is very important for her emotional development. After much discussion we concluded that Prisha would benefit greatly if she had a mentor who could spend time with her once a week and talk to her, talk new and varied topics and play some games which would be fun for her, that would include story telling too.I was very keen on this as it would be a good extension for her, learning new things in different context, accent to learn and also learn what other parents talk to their kids.The challenge is to get the best fit, we have to just see if it is a senior school student or a parent. Keeping fingers crossed on that.
       The next thing is that she would make agroup of about 5-6  students from her class. It would have a few kids who are nice to Prisha and the rest who have been nasty and unkind to her. She would then ask those kids to help her help Prisha make happy at school secretly. That way the kids would be kinder, learn her problems and the nasty kids would learn to be more friendly with her. The counselor would be in touch with Prisha to get updates about who was being kind and played with her at school. I think these plans look good. I even suggested if Prisha could be a part of the ESL group where she would be part of the English learning group. She would learn English and what she is confident of, would give her confidence. We shall review this in due course. I am now waiting to hear from the mentoring and counselling team eagerly. Let us see what they would eventually decide which would make Prisha even happier at school.