Weaving as a means of occupational therapy for mentally challenged

Inhabitants of Manasadhara engaged in weaving activities in Shivamogga on Wednesday.— Photo: VAIDYA  

The handloom used by Mahatma Gandhi as a weapon in the struggle against the imperial rule of the British, has been employed as a means of occupational therapy to treat and rehabilitate the mentally challenged persons at Manasadhara, a residential centre for mentally challenged persons here.

K.A. Ashok Pai, chief psychiatrist of Manasadhara Centre, told The Hindu that along with extending pharmacological treatment for the ailment, it was essential to provide cognitive-behavioural and occupational therapies for the mentally challenged persons. The occupational therapy would facilitate the patient’s easy and smooth assimilation of the mainstream, he said.

Earlier, those living at Manasadhara were provided training in vocations like candle making, preparation of cloth bags and incense sticks. Dr. Pai said, a visit to Charaka, the women's cooperative society at Bheemanakone village, changed his perspective towards occupational therapy. It was decided to provide training in handloom for those living in Manasadahara. Theatre activist Prasanna, who is also a mentor of Charaka cooperative society, provided the necessary resource persons, who trained the staff and the occupants of Manasadhara centre on handloom. A handloom unit was established there in November 2014 and the production of apparels commenced from July this year.

Rajani Pai, psychiatrist serving with Manasadhara, said that even after pharmacological treatment, the mentally challenged persons used to suffer from problems in establishing eye contacts, lack of concentrat6ion and attention deficit. The process of weaving cloth with handloom was done in various stages, including bleaching and dyeing of cotton yarns, arranging the cotton rolls on the warp, designing the patterns and working on warps with shuttles. By engaging in these activities, the occupants overcame cognitive and behavioural problems, she said.

Mr. Ashok Pai says, working with handloom had improved the psycho-motor coordination of the inmates and thereby it brought about qualitative changes in their health. The coherence between their body and mind had improved. Moreover, involvement in productive activity had boosted their confidence, he said. The Department of Textiles and Handlooms is paying Rs. 3,000 as stipend for the inmates, who are working with handlooms here. It had been

planned to form a weavers’ cooperative society, comprising the inmates of Manasadhara and thereby help them get the benefits offered by the government for traditional weavers, he said.

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Printable version | Jul 22, 2021 5:50:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/weaving-as-a-means-of-occupational-therapy-for-mentally-challenged/article7661494.ece

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