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Nayi Disha’s 30-day plan of activities for children with developmental disabilities

Doing an activitity   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

In the lockdown period, it’s a bigger challenge for parents to maintain a routine for children with developmental disabilities. They need to constantly find activities to keep them occupied. There is help from Nayi Disha Resourceful Centre and its 30-day plan of curated resources. Here, parents can pick a day activity, worksheet, theme to do with their child, rather then going through an entire list. The centre’s second online campaign ‘Families that play together, Stay Together’ is based on April, the Autism Awareness Month; to reflect the focus on family members playing and bonding with the child during the lockdown. Nidhi Srivastava, the Centre’s programme outreach manager explains, “We asked parents to click pictures / shoot videos of their children doing different activities and also they participating in them.” This campaign has till now received more than 10 posts and connected parents across the country.

Bonding with family members

Fixing the puzzle

Fixing the puzzle   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

The lockdown period is also an opportunity for other family members to bond with the child. Nayi Disha’s founder Prachi Deo says, “While it is difficult to keep children at home all the time, it is even harder for children with developmental disabilities to be confined indoors. Mothers used to get some time for themselves while the kids were at school but now that is also gone. So we thought of ways to support parents and came up with these campaigns.” At their online support group meet held recently, one mother shared a recording of her son making a milkshake. “It was exciting for the child to see him being recorded like in a cookery show,” she says, adding parents can count each day or put a cross on calendar to explain the days one has to be at home.

A few activities

    Under the watchful eyes of his mother, eight-year-old Rudra with mild autism can prepare a milkshake, omelette and a simple vegetable sandwich and serve food to his family members . For 10-year-old Shlok with Down’s Syndrome, reciting Hanuman Chalisa, playing cricket with his father and UNO card game with other family members are part of his daily routine. Rudra’s mother Prachi Puranik narrated a story to explain the lockdown. “I told him there is a virus outside waiting to catch us hence we are not allowed to go out; he calmed down after the short dinner walks,” she recalls.

    Encourage your child

    Shlok trying to unscrew

    Shlok trying to unscrew   | Photo Credit: Nidhi Srivastava

    For Pune-based businessman Sachin Jakhotia, isolation provides a unique opportunity for other members to closely interact with his son. In a parental blog, he explains how he is making the best of the time. “Shlok likes to do hands-on activities like helping in kitchen, home chores and serving at dinner table. His dominant learning mode seems to be kinaesthetic. We also encourage him to play the mechanic set so that he can make various car models with nut and bolts, a screwdriver and spanners. This is one area to focus in the long term.” Shlok is a slow learner but responds well when he does an activity for 10-15 minutes and draws shapes and colours using Paint tool on Sachin’s laptop. “We believe in every 6-12 months we can slowly extend his attention span by few minutes,” adds Sachin.

    While dealing with challenging behaviour, parents have to ensure they improve the behaviour without calling the child ‘bad’ or reprimanding that they did ‘something wrong’. On day one of lockdown, Shlok became stubborn and was spitting on family members. “The situation got out of hand but my positive attitude and temperament did not change. I did not speak to him and later he realised I did not like what he did.”

    Prachi’s Facebook page displays the many activities she did with her son. “Till now he was comfortable only with me but now he plays with my husband, elder son and mother-in-law. Although it is a bad time because of coronavirus, my son mingling with others is a good sign.”

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    Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 5:05:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/in-the-lockdown-period-nayi-disha-launches-activities-and-online-campaign-to-keep-children-with-developmental-disabilities-engaged/article31336554.ece

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