Staff Reporter

Early intervention centres for infants being planned in 10 districts

TIRUNELVELI: The State Government has permitted the State Commissioner for the Disabled to establish early intervention centres for infants and young children with hearing impairment in 10 districts.

It includes Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruchi, Thiruvarur, Salem, Kanyakumari, Thiruvallur, Dindigul and Tirunelveli.

The centres would be set up with the assistance from non-governmental organisations.

The objective is to identify children with hearing impairment and provide early intervention. This includes early detection and identification (birth to five years old) and training to parents and families. This would ensure maximum development of the child's potential, an official communication from the State Commissioner for Disabled, V.K. Jeyakodi, told NGOs.

Only those children with hearing impairment without additional disabilities and children less than two-and-a-half-years of age (in rare cases up to three years) would be admitted to these non-residential centres. By the time they turn five, they would learn to communicate and be ready to enter Standard I at regular schools.

The Centres would be located at Government-aided Tamil medium schools and at classrooms away from noisy environment. Children would be given early stimulation in batches and a maximum of 30 kids be admitted by each Centre. The performance would be evaluated by an expert nominated by the State Commissioner.

Parents may contact the following persons for admitting their children in the Centres: Coimbatore - Sr. Jees Mary (94436-55461), Salem - N. Subharaj (93448-94994), Tiruchi - Sr. Josephine Mary (0431 - 2491336), Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari - Hepsi (93622 - 51095), Madurai - Sr. Margaret (0452 - 2465467) and Thiruvarur - Sathish Kumar (94432 - 75232).

The first centre was inaugurated at Nallur near Alangulam recently by the Minister for Social Welfare, Poongothai Aladi Aruna.

She asserted that six out of the 10 children being trained at such centres had started speaking perfectly.