February & March 2017 Newsletter

Feb 1: Smart TV donation

Swabodhini now has an additional smart TV to help with audio visual learning of our students, thanks to the generous donation of one of our student sponsor/wellwisher, Mr Bharat Kumar.

Swabodhini already makes an extensive use of technology via computers, ipads and learning apps to implement the lesson plans, as most of our students are very strong audio visual learners. The addition of smart TV as another tool for learning has got our special educators excited to try some new teaching techniques using big screen.


Feb 4: Yoga Workshop for Parents:

Yoga therapy is a daily feature in Swabodhini, where all classes have 45 minutes per day for doing yoga. Each student has an individual plan to cater to the specific issues that has to be addressed. We find yoga to be very effective to address behavioural issues. It also improves the gross and fine motor coordination and mobility of our students.

As a follow up, we had organized a workshop for the parents –a refresher on asanas, pranayama and yoga nidhra, so that they can help their children with their yoga schedule during weekends and school holidays. The workshop was conducted by our yoga therapist, Mr Jagadeesan and his colleague Mrs Padma Ramesh, from the Satyananda Yoga Centre, Triplicane.


Feb 4: Advisory Board Meeting:

Our Advisory board member Dr Chandru Rajam visited the school and had one on one discussion with the management team. He also visited the Great Lakes Institute of Management (GLIM) along with the Trustees to explore conducting a bench marking study for Swabodhini by the aspiring MBA students.


Feb 5, Fund Raising by Srinivasa Ladies Club, Mylapore:

Srinivasa Ladies Club, Mylapore raised funds for the cause of special education and autism awareness for Swabodhini. This was a part of the club’s 46th year celebrations.


Feb 9: Culinary event at IHM, Tharamani

Institute of Hotel Management, Tharamani had their inter college culinary competition on 9th Feb, in their college premises. Our vocational students, who are undergoing culinary skills training were invited as special participants.

Five of our students, under the able guidance of our culinary training staff prepared vegetable rice and raitha in the college kitchen and served other participants and judges. It was a wonderful opportunity for our students, where they got to display their skills and show what they are capable of.


10th Feb: Madras University and IHM:

It was a busy Sunday for Swabodhini. Our students participated in “S’peadosfet” organized by Madras University. Our students participated in various events like fancy dress, group dance, art and craft and drawing.

IHM Tharamani had kindly extended an invitation for Swabodhini to perform at their alumni meet. Our students did Surya Namaskar and Mr Kaustav and Mr Venkat Naren enthralled the audience with their singing.


14th Feb: Valentine’s Day at Apollo Greams Road:

Apollo Hospitals at Greams Road, Chennai, as a part of their Valentine’s Day celebration, shared their love and cheer with our students. It was a lovely afternoon at their auditorium, where post a lovely lunch hosted by the staff, our students enthralled the audience with a dance program.

We also set up our Swayam stall at the auditorium. The staff supported by purchasing diyas, gift envelopes and paper bags made by our students. After some more singing and dancing with the staff of Apollo, we wrapped up the day with lots of love and smiles all around.


Mar 2, Aims Multimedia Course commencement:

Swabodhini, in collaboration with Aims Media Pvt Ltd, New Delhi has started the 18 month certification course in multimedia. 10 of our students are attending this course and the classes are held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at school premises. The course aims to provide multimedia educational solutions for students with special needs with focus to enhance education, therapy and employability.

At the end of 18 months, the students will get a diploma in Ability Enhancement Multimedia Program (AEMP) and will get employment opportunity in production house and also regular multimedia projects to work on as sheltered employment.


Mar 3, MCCI’s CSR Conference:

The Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry conducted a conference on corporate social responsibility at Hotel Crowne Plaza, TTK Road. Swabodhini participated in this conference, where many NGOs and corporates came together on a single platform to discuss the emerging trends in CSR. It was a very insightful conference where Swabodini was provided with a good platform to network with the corporates and other NGOs.

We had also set up a stall, displaying the diyas, paper bags and gift covers made by our students.


Mar 8, Visit by Srinivasa Ladies Club:

Members of Srinivasa Ladies club, who had raised funds for Swabodhini in February, visited the school on 8th March, as a part of their women’s day celebrations. They visited all the classes and interacted with the staff and students of Swabodhini.


Mar 16, MNRI Workshop:

Swabodhini’s Head of Therapy, Ms Akhila Subramaniam attended a 4 day workshop on Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Intergration (MNRI). This was conducted by Dr. Svetlana Masgutova, at Hotel Savera. MNRI is another mode of treatment apart from the conventional and traditional methods. MNRI helps understand -

  • The difference between Automatic Motor Reflexes and Learned Motor Reflexes
  • How reflexes work to automatically regulate each of our bodies under normal conditions in reaction to normal stress or traumatic situations
  • How Primitive Reflexes or Infant Reflexes play an important role in maturation, development and normal life functioning
  • With this training, we have started devising therapy plans for our students in batches of 5 to implement the MNRI techniques.

Mar 17, Rasa Annual Day

Rasa –Centre for theatre arts and special needs celebrated Rasa Day on Mar 17. Students from various special schools participated in their cultural event. The theme of this year’s celebration was Universal Oneness. Eight Swabodhini students were also a part of their dance and drama program, where they enacted the story of Chidananda Maharaj, who was the epitome of universal oneness.


Mar 17, Three day workshop on behavior modification

A three day workshop on behavior modification was conducted by WeCan, based on ABA at Spastn. The workshop started with an introduction about autism and associated behavior and had interactive sessions with therapists and special educators. Our special education Ms Jayanti participated in the workshop and was benefitted with added insights on behavior modification.


Mar 26, Annual Day

The much awaited 28th annual day celebrations of Swabodhini School for special Children was a grand success. Attended by over 300 guests, the annual day was held at Kumararaja Auditorium in Chettinad Vidyashram, MRC Nagar. Mr Chandrasekhar, Whole Time Director of Higginbotham was the Chief Guest. He was accompanied by his wife Mrs.Shymala Chandrasekhar, professor with Savitha dental college. Annual report of the school was presented, followed by one hour cultural program, where our students performed on the theme “Chennai”. Stay tuned for a detailed report on the annual day celebrations in May 2017 newsletter.


Mar 31, Workshop for staff

The second part of the communication workshop happened at the end of the month for both the teachers and the helpers individually. The workshop for teachers began by sharing each teachers practice and mindfulness in implementing the weaning away of physical prompt. A 40 minute video on “Decreasing Prompt Dependence” was used to convey the need for decreasing and ultimately weaning off prompt dependency, especially physical prompt.

In the workshop for the helpers, the same was discussed. The helpers were given a target of 15 days until end of the year, wherein they would practice not using physical prompt as much as possible. Instead they would substitute with verbal or visual prompts. They were very enthusiastic to get started. They were also encouraged to think about the ADLs (activity in daily life) that they are facilitating currently and come up with how the child can be made to master the skills involved in ADLs.


Mar 31, Fund Raising by Ms Nimi Kadir

Ms. Nimi Kadir, a passionate social activist who supports various social causes raised funds for Swabodhini. We are very thankful for her support. Ms. Nimi Kadir is an avid traveler, based out of Chennai. She was working with the British Deputy High Commission, Chennai as Visa Officer.


Mar 31, Media coverage of Swayam Shop

Popular daily newspaper The Hindu featured about Swabodhinni’s Swayam Shop and Swayam on Wheels in their supplement “Downtown”. Click on the link below to access the article.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-downtown/a-new-course-of-action/article17747038.ece


Parents’ Corner

This month, we want to share the feedback of our student Mr Abishek Rao’s mother –Mrs Anuradha Rao. Mr Abishek is a pre vocational student, who joined Swabodhini in ..., prior to which he was at another special education school. Her feedback is as below.

“My son Abhishek Rao has shown following improvements after joining your school:

  • General understanding and communication has improved drastically
  • Responds to anybody's commands easily
  • Awareness of time concept for getting ready to school
  • He was very comfortable and appreciated by one and all for his immediate responses during his cousin's wedding spanning 10 days
  • During cousin's wedding reception, Abhishek took center stage on his own initiative for joining the group dance, which took everybody by surprise
  • We were totally surprised when he immediately learnt how to change songs in the mobile taught by his cousin

We are very happy about his progress in the school where teachers are supporting for his independency in tasks. Also mixing with vocational students for computer class is a good move which is a credit for Abhishek being non-verbal.

We thank Swabodhini school for taking lot of efforts in teaching and guiding Abhishek for independency”