SAMYOJANA – First Quarter Newsletter 2020
The final term started well with the academic courses gearing up for the final evaluations, that would fetch the vocational students, their certification from Guru Nanak College (Autonomous). The students participated in a number of events, like having a stall in which they displayed the products they had made, for the 3rd Hindu Spiritual and Services Fair, participating in the Ramp Walk in the Fashion Show at NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology), to name a few. The practice for the Annual Day was going on in full swing.
Alas, the Annual day event on the 15th of March, had to be postponed to a later date. COVID-19 came Like a Thief in the Night and took us down in stealth mode.
As COVID-19 moved from epidemic to pandemic status in March, declared by World Health Organization (WHO), school closure and social distancing took place and Swabodhini was no exception. With the nationwide lockdown and the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, let us pray to the Almighty, for this pandemic to end, for a safe and peaceful life.
Dear friends, please stay home and stay safe.
Founder / Managing Trustee
Swabodhini School and Vocational Center
Lockdown and Autism
To contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, schools across India remain closed. Children and their parents are now being confined to their homes.
Social distancing and staying indoors can be particularly challenging for individuals with autism. Adapting to this new set of circumstances is particularly difficult for children with special needs.
Here are few suggestions to as to how to handle this stressful situation.
- Focus on activities that kids enjoy and encourage them with positive reinforcement. This will help them bring down behavioral difficulties.
- Stick to a daily Routine. This will help establish order and engage with activities with a time-table or visual charts.
- Get connected with an online support group with therapists and parents with special needs children
- During this period, parents often will feel stressed about watching their children the whole time. An excellent way to manage boundaries could be by planning the time to spend together in advance — decide what they’re going to do with the child and for how long.
- Try and create an autism-friendly environment at home with dim lights using curtains, reduced noise, a sensory space with bean bags, therapeutic music, stress balls, relevant toys and etc.
- Above all take this opportunity to spend this time with children and reinforce practices as taught in their school.
The Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair 2020
The 11th Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair 2020, was a grand success this year too. The fair was held from January 29th to February 3rd, at Guru Nanak College grounds at Velachery. The event was inaugurated by Mata Amritanandamayi Devi “Amma” on Tuesday 28th, January 2020.Swabodhini had set up a stall at the Hindu Spiritual fair, exhibiting the products made by our vocational students. The students and teachers took turns to be at the booth. Our vocational students enjoyed watching various cultural activities and the interaction of the public with our students was very encouraging. The students helped the staff with billing and cash management.
'DIGITALIZING MEMORIES' - Inauguration of Supported Employment Project
PHOTO SCANNING PROJECT was inaugurated at Swabodhini, Thiruvanmiyur campus, on the 20th of January, 2020. Mr. Dilip Venkatachari, Founder of Access Brail Foundation for Blind and disabled children at U.S.A, sponsored 3 scanners for the project.
We sincerely thank Mr. Dilip Venkatachari for his generous donation.
The project aims to
To preserve, share and organize photo albums by scanning and saving them with minimal help.
Outcome of training:
- Arranging photos from album in a sequence in given file
- Maintaining documents to record details of batch
- Scanning photos using the photo scanner with minimum help
- Using PhotoShop to edit document according to the user’s need
- Saving, retrieving photos in assigned computer
Helper’s day celebration
To become a better you, remember to be grateful to the people who have contributed to making you who you are today.
We firmly believe that support staff play an important role in our organization.
Helper’s day was celebrated at Swabodhini's Thiruvanmiyur campus, on the 14th January, 2020 to honor them for their contributions & to create awareness about role of helpers in our day-to-day life. Teachers educated the students about the role, the helpers play in our life in the form of a skit. Students were asked to thank each helper for their support. As a sweet gesture, the staff of Swabodhini, prepared a grand lunch for the support staff. The teachers also danced to entertain the support staff and students. Gifts were distributed to all the support staff by the management.
Pongal festival was celebrated with great enthusiasm at Swabodhini. Our students dressed in traditional attire and decorated the campus with flowers and rangoli. The culinary students prepared 'Sakaraipongal' and 'Venpongal'. An earthen pot was placed outside with sugarcanes on both sides. The chanting of Pongalo! Pongal! Pongalo! Pongal was exciting for the students.
Workshop by Ms. Usha Venkat
Ms. Usha Venkat, Consultant Psychologist at Swabodhini, conducted two interactive sessions with the staff of Swabodhini at Thiruvanmiyur campus. The behavioral issues exhibited by the teens and young adults were discussed. Ms. Usha, explained in detail, the hormonal changes and their difficulties faced by the young adults. She suggested many techniques with practical examples as to how these issues can be addressed.
Interns from University of Madras
Two students from the Department of M.Sc. Counselling Psychology, University of Madras underwent Internship, at Swabodhini. They conducted investigations for their studies on 'Research on Childhood play therapy and Social skills' and ' Case study on Effects of Integrated Medicine and Super Brain Yoga on students with ADHD'.
Effects of group communications for Non-Verbal students
Group interaction sessions are conducted once a week at Thiruvanmiyur and Velachery campus to encourage students to participate in group activities and interact with their peer group. We observed tremendous improvement with students who are non-verbal across all sections of pre primary, primary and vocational. Autistic individuals may have difficulty talking to or carrying on a conversation with another person, but students who are non-verbal may have difficulties to express themselves, hence we facilitate the students to express their feelings and emotions with the help of visual supports and assistive technologies.
World Autism Awareness Day - April 2nd
World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized day on 2 April every year, encouraging the Member States of the United Nations, Non-profit organizations and education institutes to take measures to raise awareness about people with autistic spectrum disorders including autism and Asperger syndrome throughout the world. Awareness activities take place all month worldwide, aiming to increase the understanding and acceptance of people with autism in a more inclusive environment.
Mrs. Radha Ganesan (Founder and Managing Trustee, Swabodhini) made a presentation on Autism for the students of the Physics Department of Guru Nanak College (Autonomous). This was conducted as an Autism Awareness Program.
It was a nice gesture of the students to volunteer their services, for our cultural events.
Rehearsals were full swing at Swabodhini for Annual Day
The school's Annual Day Function is the most awaited event in the school calendar. Our students were very excited about preparing the annual day event, which is an integral part of the academic year was scheduled to be held on 15th of March, 2020. Unfortunately, the Annual Day of Swabodhini had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With a 100% participation of students and parents, the preparation included practices for dance, drama and musical performances to be held as part of the mélange of celebration.
The event is an attempt to motivate students while teaching and imbibing confidence in them. They learnt the values of sharing, caring, helping and saving the environment while enacting.
The students participating in the dance, drama and music programs were showing their talent during rehearsals. The best thing was during rehearsals team spirit, coordination, discipline, curiosity & determination to give their best shot was clearly visible.
We take this opportunity to thank Guru Nanak College students who volunteered to provide voice over for our skits.
'32 Dental care' camp at Swabodhini
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often exhibit poor oral hygiene with plaque and calculus accumulation due to poor brushing techniques, eating selective foods, not chewing and eating only soft textured foods, consuming and craving for sweets, food pouching and bruxism. Hence, having a regular check on their dental hygiene is paramount.
We thank '32 Dental Care' hospital for having taken the effort to organize a dental camp on the 8th of February at Swabodhini Thiruvanmiyur campus and assess the dental hygiene of our Children.
Fashion show at NIFT
Spectrum is the annual cultural event of NIFT Chennai where students from NIFT as well as all leading educational institutions in and around Chennai co-participate in events spanning the performing arts, sports, debates, fashion shows and literature. Spectrum 2020, held on Feb 13th - 15th. Feb 13th is the unique “Inclusive spectrum”, where, in the alumni get together is being planned as a special evening from 3 p.m. on 13th with fun, entertainment and games, ending with a grand special event for the evening, Stand-up Comedy Show by Kenny Sebastian.
Swabodhini’s vocational students participated in fashion show and performed Surya Namaskara asana.
Vocational students at Guru Nanak college campus are trained for photocopying along with students of Guru Nanak College. Inclusive learning initiative provides better opportunities for learning and develop a sense of belonging and become better prepared for life in the community as adults.
Thank you for all your patience and support during these unprecedented times. Let us continue to pray for each other and the end of this pandemic. Let us be kind and ready to lend a helping hand to those in need.