November 2017 Newsletter
Continuing with the theme of personal hygiene, the students learnt the concepts of activities of daily living (ADL) through interesting and innovative methods like pretend play and picture exchange communication system (PECS).
Pre vocational students were taught to enter their personal details against the correct fields in computer. They also learnt how to sort and place things as per label in cupboards, making inventory list and filing day to day activity sheets. The concept of categorizing and sorting was extended to retail training as well.
Scrap books were created with pictures and phrases of simple recipes and students were taught to do the recipe without verbal instructions.
The concept of place value, additions and multiples of 5 were taught for learning time concept, alarm/ stop watch.
Students of computer skills training did a wonderful power point presentation for the project day. They also created code sheets of vocational products matching each product with an item code.
Students of office administration skills training were taught to maintain visitors log and type the same into an excel sheet.
Students of retail skill training were taught to identify and sort different varieties of spices. They were also taught different types of packaging.
Students of culinary skill training were taught how to make idly and dosa batter. The students soaked the grains and used the grinder in school to make quality batter, which was later brought by staff for their consumption.
All our vocational training activities are aimed at making our students ready for open employment, so that they can lead an independent and dignified life.
Sports/fitness training and Music therapy
In our constant endeavor to improve the quality of life of our students and to give them an exposure to different activities, Swabodhini has started music therapy and sports therapy for our students from November onwards. Both these therapies are aimed at addressing behavior challenges and to provide an outlet for channelizing their energies productively.
For music, we have tied up with Hitham Trust, founded by renowned Carnatic vocalist Ms. Bombay Jayashree. Talented and trained music professionals visit school once a week and conduct music sessions for our students. Hitham Trust works extensively with individuals with autism and we are very happy to have these experts on board.
We have started sports therapy for our boys in pre vocational class. These young adults, who are in the age group of 16 to 28 years of age predominantly lead a sedentary life. With a lack of peer group to sport with and also with their behavior and mental challenges, these young adults have no outlet for the bursting physical energy.
The sports therapy will be done by Mr. Mathiyalagan. He is a senior fitness trainer, personal training coordinator and was a kids coach at The Quad. He has been involved in training and coaching for more than 10 years with the intention of changing people's life for wellness.
Mr. Kaustav Chakraborthy, our vocational student of computer skills has been offered an internship for inventory management of all the 47 classrooms in Guru Nanak College, Velachery. He should be starting off this in December and we wish him all the very best!
Every academic year, Swabodhini conducts “Project Day” at school and we invite the parents to come and visit the various exhibits and activities set up by the students. It is a fun and interactive way of showcasing the learning of our students at Swabodhini. This year, project day was conducted on 29th November.
The primary students set up a mock dental clinic where they did a mock dental checkup for the parents and explained oral hygiene, steps of brushing and home based remedies for dental care.
Swabodhini TV channel; Our young journalists interviewed classmates and parents on their likes and dislikes through PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and sight word cards.
A fresh salad counter was also set up by the primary students where freshly cut salad veggies were sold to parents, demonstrating the concept of counting and selling.
Pre vocational students transformed their class into a live demonstration room for traffic and road safety. Through role play, charts and models, they demonstrated road safety concepts and the importance of following traffic rules.
Vocational students made a model of a clean city, explaining the concepts of waste management. They also demonstrated how to make paper bags and paint diyas. Students of culinary skills training set up a live demo of different types of cooking –baking, frying etc.
It was a fun filled day full of activities. It was heartwarming to see our students display their learning and progress to their parents.
Workshop for staff:
In collaboration with Mirra Charitable Trust, our education consultant, a story telling workshop was conducted for our special educators. Called the story circle, its objective is to foster and build relationships. It has a therapeutic effect when facilitated by a mediator who invites the participants to think about stories that have been shared and what it means for each person in the circle. For our special educators, it proves to be a reflective tool and it helps them become story teller for their students.
A very interesting and therapeutic workshop on drumming was conducted for our support staff. Called the drumming circle, its objective as a therapy tool is that it is liberating and healing. For students with needs, drumming helps to bring in the rhythm in their bodies. For our support staff, they leave their homes and their worries to be with our students. If their emotions can be touched, the impact will be seen on their interactions with the students.
Both these workshops were a part of our train the trainer initiative to help our staff become better equipped to handle our students.
Sports and cultural events:
Our students had a busy month participating in various sports and cultural events. These events give great exposure for our students in social interaction and help them acclimatize to new environment.
Swabodhini’s students awed the audience with their fabulous dance performance and displayed their skill in drawing at Neeta Talent Competition conducted at Kamaraj Arangam. Every year, Rotary Club of Madras, T.Nagar, and Neeta Memorial Charitable Trust conducts this mega talent competition and Swabodhini has been participating in this event consistently.
“PUNNAGAI” – a cultural show & talent competition for Special Children conducted by Rotaract Club was held at Asan Memorial School. Our students participated in the dance completion.
In the sports meet organized by DDRO at St. Loius School, four of our students participated in running competition. Many schools from across the city came for the sports meet for the differently abled and it was a wonderful platform to meet and interact with our peers from other parts of the city.
In the month of November, we focused on training our students to paint diyas and agarbathi stands and posted the products made by our students in social media. We had tremendous response with many coming forward to patronize the work done by our students.
Making of vocational products help in improving the hand eye coordination of our students, improve their concentration skills and reduce their anxiety and behavior issues. With their energies focused on the task at hand, the students made beautiful diyas, which were much sought after for the Karthigai Deepam Festival.
This month, we had the privilege to display the vocational items made by our students at two places –The Little Market at Luz House and at The Maris Hotel for The Inner Wheel Club of Central.
The Little Market was organized by Madras Midtown Ladies Circle 7 (MMLC7) for Children’s Day on Nov 12, where stalls were set up by children, displaying items made by them. It was a bustling event with stalls run by enthusiastic children. Swabodhini’s stall had lovely jewelry, colourful notepads, eco-friendly paper bags and ethnic hand painted diyas, all made by our vocational students.
At the Maris Hotel, the Innerwheel Club of Madras Central, who have been supporting Swabodhini and the cause of special education consistently, invited us to display the diyas made by our students so that their members can buy for the Karthigai Deepam Festival.
Children’s Day Celebration at School:
This year, for Children’s day, we had students from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) visited the school and conducted fun activities for our children. Our children explored with colours and paints and participated enthusiastically in the fun and games conducted by NIFT students.
Our terrace, where we conduct yoga therapy and sports therapy for our students and also where students and staff have lunch everyday got a new makeover, thanks to Mrs & Mr. Muralikrishna. With their donation, we have redone the protective chain link fencing all around the terrace to ensure the safety of our students.
Mr. Ravi Srinivasan and Mrs. Srividya Ravi donated a set of 20 yoga mats, water bottles and towels. The students are excited to do yoga on the brand new yoga mat. Thank you dear supporters of Swabodhini!
Awards and Recognition:
It is with immense pleasure to wrap up this newsletter with the awards and recognition that the school has received for the work that we do for autism and special education.
Lion’s Club of Fort St George awarded a trophy in recognition for service to special needs to our head of education, Ms. Sudha Karthik and our head of administration, Ms. R. Amirthavalli.
Our director Ms. Anuradha Mahesh was the recipient of CSR @ Redington Foundation’s Sahyog Award for exemplary contribution in promoting education.
Ms. Jagadeeswari, our special educator who handles primary class got 2nd rank in B.Ed special Education in the exams conducted by Tamil Nadu Open University.
Congratulations to all award winners and we are so proud of you all for keeping the Swabodhini Flag flying high.