Sangeeth Kurian

DPI and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will train them

Programme will be held after Onam

50,000 participants are expected

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When Gayathri, a student of the government school at Sreekaryam, cleared the Secondary School Leaving Certificate examination held in March this year, it proved to be a triumph of her indefatigable spirit.

A victim of osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones lose calcium and become brittle, Gayathri was confined to bed for nearly three years. But thanks to her meritorious performance at the examination, she has now enrolled for higher studies in a leading city school.

Gayathri’s success is not just a one-off incident if Johny K. John, Director, State Institute for Educational Management and Training (SIEMAT), is to be believed. There are several other special children living in our midst who are waiting to be discovered.

It was an awareness programme conducted by the institute for the parents of children with special needs prior to the examination that revealed the plight of Gayathri to the school authorities.

“Her (Gayathri’s) triumph was greatly due to the support she received from her parents, who stood firmly by her in fulfilling her dream of writing the exam,” Mr. John says.

Hidden talents

Aimed at identifying more such hidden talents, the institute will conduct a massive orientation programme for parents of special children after Onam.

More than 50,000 participants are expected to take part in the State-level campaign.

The Directorate of Public Instruction and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will train parents in batches of 50 each across 38 educational districts.

Parents of children from classes I to VIII will be covered under the programme and will be given an update on how to manage the children and how to press for their rights on the basis of legislation.

Only when parents accept special children, with all their deficiencies and limitations, as individuals will society do so, Mr. John says.

Most of the children with disabilities will have a special talent to tide over their limitations.

It is the responsibility of parents to create a right ambience for the fruition of their innate flair.

He describes how Arun Joy, a student of Assisi Higher Secondary School for the Deaf, Neerpara, got over his speech and hearing impediments to enrol for a course in fashion technology.

“The boy displayed a remarkable flair for tailoring, despite his handicap,” he says.

The training in September will inform parents on how to identify possible disabilities in children with the help of toys and by observing their responses to various environmental stimulations.