Children celebrate Saraswati Puja with devotion, joy
They may be repetitive in their behaviour, rigid in their actions, unable to communicate their feelings like the normal children of their age groups but one thing is common among them – they all love to dance. They live in their own world which is colourful, musical. Such children studying at a school meant for autistic children being run by a young couple supported by volunteers celebrated the Saraswati Puja/ Vasant Panchami with joy.
One of them is Ishan Tete, son of a city-based doctor. He has been studying in the school for the past 10 years. He is now 22 and he loves to write in Hindi and English under the guidance of a teacher. He used to be excitable when he joined, but now his temper has cooled down thanks to the patience and affection of the founders of the school- Deepesh Chandra Prasad and Pinki Prasad- who are running Abhiprerna Foundation. He greets a visitor with a warm ‘good morning.’ Ishan led the little children, aged between 4 to 24 years, in offering yellow flowers on the idol of Mother Saraswati during the puja held in the school. “We have children of four categories, mentally retarded, autistic, with down syndrome and those afflicted with Cerebral Palsy. I did my PhD in Clinical Psychology and one year research at NIVH in Dehradun. There I gathered that each child has a special instinct and corresponding behaviour which needs to be identified,” shares Deepesh.
Yellow rice mixed with jaggery was enjoyed by each one served to them to mark Basant Panchami fest. Dancing and swaying to the tunes of ‘Hum hongey kamyab’, the children had a message to share which they alone could understand. The youngest of such children Yogesh Kumar from Jwalapur Kadachh Mohalla is the most difficult to handle, said Deepesh. “The biggest challenge is to bring their mind back once they start behaving wildly,” said Pinki. Another student, son of an IPS officer, Aditya charmed all while he wonderfully sang a few lines of a popular song.
For each student, there is a teacher. Apart from regular staff of four, there are volunteers from different colleges who come to study the special needs of these specially abled children.
Shreya, who is in first year of MBA from Narsee Monjee University, Pune said, “During his internship, I learnt the teaching methods meant for such children. Usually, these children down with autism have trouble in understanding what other people think and feel and also communicating their own feelings. It is very difficult for them to express themselves either with words or facial expressions or even touch,” Shreya said.
Somna Gupta, a homemaker from Shivalik Nagar, devotes her morning hours in looking after the children studying in the school. “I came to the school for the first time to celebrate my husband’s birthday with these children. Now I am spending my morning time with them daily. My own children are settled. I have thus plenty of time to share with the society. This is very gratifying for me,” she said.
Nikita from Raiwala who is student of MA in Psychology spoke on the joy the children feel when they are taken to a park with swings and games.
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