Centre for Special Education for Children with Cerebral Palsy
This center has provided a pathway for all round development of the children in special need by guiding them to stand on their own feet. The programmes assist them in picking up essential skills and in achieving a satisfactory level of social interaction and activities. Here students are encouraged to develop broad skills and to boost their knowledge through specially designed classrooms as well as in the field of sports, games and leisure activities. This malleable approach encourages self-reliance, provides opportunities and motivates the child to develop at her/his own place and pace. Such an approach to education which is individualized and which gives importance to each and every child, also lays emphasis on equipping the child with the active support of the family members, especially the parents. A range of services has been developed to help the students in the wider aspect of life and to make them self-reliant citizens of the world.
Proper identification, diagnosis and referral for therapy and special education, which are integral to the process of rehabilitation, are met through the Diagnostic Centre on all working days. OLS diagnostic team, consisting of doctors, therapists, psychologists and special educators, adopts a flexible approach in examining the new entrants. On the basis of strengths and weaknesses of the entrants they are given exposure in the initial stages.
The severity of impairment giving rise to disabilities in the latter part of a child’s life is often because of lack of early remedial steps. Early detection and intervention can help to overcome the developmental disabilities in a sheltered environment. The baby clinic works with newborns and babies up to three years of age. Babies are administered assessment tests in the areas of gross motor, fine motor coordination and for development of a suitable intervention strategy. Parents are trained to take timely measures and to help the child achieve milestones keeping in mind the strength of the child and helping the child to develop at his/her own pace.Special educators along with the physiotherapist work with parents to design a program most beneficial for the child.
Play group is one of the major wings of the CP division. The activities are child oriented and are done through the joyful learning method. Importance is given to therapeutic stimulation, early stimulation, positioning of a child, training in Activities of Daily Living (ADL), counseling the parents and educational support. All these activities are carried out in line with our guiding principle i.e. ensuring and fighting for child rights. As a result our children develop a sense of self-esteem in their classroom interactions.
The fully equipped physiotherapy unit of OLS has been working with an objective to carry out correction and maintenance of posture, and improve gross motor integration and loco-motors of the child. Emphasis is given to toning of the muscles through exercises. Stretching is carried out to correct and prevent deformities and tightness, strengthen weak muscles and to prevent abnormal postures and movement. This is done not only through exercises but also by using newly introduced electrotherapy and radiation therapy. OLS trains the children to maintain normal posture and provides training on the use of gaiters and other external mobility aids. Activities are provided to improve fine motor function in order to improve the muscle coordination and normalize tone and strengthen the weaker group of muscles. A professional physiotherapist with assistant provides service from 10am to 4pm everyday Monday through Friday.
Sensory integration which is one of the most important aspects for the child with multiple disabilities is looked into by the occupational therapy unit in the OLS. It basically deals with sensory development, fine motor, ADL and functional aspects of the children. The unit gives ADL training to the children based on her/ his physical condition and their requirement. If even after a long period of therapy, it is not possible to bring their muscles and joints into normal functioning then provisions are made for adoption and assistive devices to help the child perform his daily living activities comfortably. After initial assessment the goals are planned depending upon the condition of the child and the child is assessed at regular intervals to check the improvement. Other factors determining the goal include the severity of the problem which is worked out by the special educators.
Speech Therapy Unit
A Speech Therapist is engaged to assess and give therapy to the non-verbal children in the campus by using electronic equipment and new techniques. All the children new and old are regularly assessed and those who are found to have difficulties in speech are given speech therapy. Alternative Augmentative Communication tools are being developed at the centre and the children are exposed to it.
Home-Based Management Programme
The home-based management program aims to provide necessary informationand skills for the management of multiple disabilities and train the parents in different techniques to prevent, maintain, and correct deformities in the home environment. This program caters to those children who come from faraway places and cannot regularly avail the facilities of the institution. The program emphasizes on the fact that parents play a vital role in teaching their children about various aspects of life.
Special Care Unit
Children with severe and multiple disabilities need special intensive care and management in the school environment. The special care group caters to the needs of those special children. Training for carrying out Activities of Daily Living (ADL) is imparted with far greater care and special attention is given to those children to overcome their severe physical problems. Functional therapy and early stimulation is provided to these children.
Counseling and guidance are an integral part of the whole management programme to assist the parents in dealing effectively with the situation arising out of having a special child in the family. OLS provides free counseling services to the children, siblings, parents and other family members who are unable to endure the pressure. Counseling is a continuous process to help the parents to cope better with the psycho-social process that emerges from the situation. Orientation Programs are carried out from time to time in the centre for the parents.
Special children need special care and attention for their social, emotional psychological and often their physical growth. The specially designed teaching/learning process is completely child oriented and the course is made to suit the ability and achievement of the child. Skills like handling money, measuring weight, making simple calculations are given priority. The special children are exposed to real life situations under the guidance of the special educators.
Pre Vocational Training plays an important role for developing the vocational skills among the children with intellectual disability. It helps an individual acquire functional skills and appropriate behavior necessary for a particular vocation. After acquiring the functional skills, the learners are considered eligible for vocational training. Prevocational training includes the skills and activities such as weight and measurement, functional mathematics, functional reading and writing, occupational skills, self-help skills, family life education, recreational activities, drawing, painting, group dance, music, playing indoor and outdoor games. Vocational training focuses on grooming of one’s self and social behavior.
Apart from the above functional academics, Open Learning Systems has helped some of the children in appearing in the regular High School Certificate Examination under the Board of Secondary Education, Odisha. Our special educators have gladly and enthusiastically acted as amanuensis purely on a voluntary basis. With a view to achieve the objectives of the rights based approach, the Open Learning Systems team tries its best to send the special children to formal schools to ensure inclusion.
Sex education as a part of family life education is something that is considered important and is imparted in the same manner as in formal schools. Separate classes are conducted for female students and male students. The special educators take extra care to ensure that all sensitivities are maintained while teaching the students about the functions of various organs, the intricacies of the human body and how to take care of it at different stages of growth.
Extra Curricular Activities
The centre provides opportunities for taking part in individual and team sports both indoor and outdoor and competitively as well as socially. There are extensive opportunities for sports and recreation supported by a team of trained and enthusiastic staff to provide activities that suit all ability levels of the children. Arrangements are made to give lessons in music and musical instruments depending on individual interest and inclination. Children are also encouraged to learn various arts and craft as a part of their recreation and excellence. The centre also provides dance therapy. This is a natural exercise where children get maximum pleasure and it helps in reducing the stiffness of their body. The success in this area is reflected in their improved social behavior.
The children’s homes are regularly visited by our special educators. This results in the special educator getting the real picture of the home environment of the special child and gets acquainted with the family members and assesses their competencies to deal with the special child. This helps in prescribing any aids and appliances or toilet specification, access to accommodations, ramps and disabled friendly innovations that can be used or developed at home. The involvement of the family members in the progress of the child is tracked by the Open Learning Systems team which gives them a strong foothold in times of crisis to help the parents.