One such wonderful example is Abhishek, whose outgoing, friendly nature and cheerful smiling face could well be a fall–out of his wise parents’ attitude of taking him out. Then there is Muffazal who also helps out with his father’s business in the evenings by attending to customers or doing simple accounts.
“Negative public attitudes to disability are often the biggest handicap. Let us join hands to overcome this”, is their fervent appeal. More than basic academics, the child is encouraged to pay more attention to his surroundings. As Nafisa stresses, “The school is not just a place to pick up learning, but also to increase their social interaction. We emphasise the importance of grooming and appearance, which includes oral hygiene, foot and nail care. Sharing is an important aspect of life that we teach and if they have brought something special in their lunchbox, they are taught to share it with others. They soon learn that this is the way to build friendships”.
Some of the causes of mental retardation (at Prayatna)
Dinyar Aibara, 15, was slow in all his milestones. His parents even put him in Dastur School for a year where teachers recognized him as a slow learner. Repeated trips to doctors only elicited the response, “He will pick up soon”. It was only at age four, that his retardation was diagnosed as the effect of his mother’s bleeding during the third month of pregnancy, followed by a vacuum delivery which caused a bump on Dinyar’ head.
For Sudha Singh, 12,with severe dyslexia, the cause was put down to low birth weight as she was born after only 6 months of pregnancy. While these 2 are some of the causes, other causes may be
- Down’s Syndrome this may range from mild to severe and some of the recognizable signs are a thick tongue, stubby fingers and slanting features (Mongoloid).
- When the mother has had an illness like typhoid or Rubella during pregnancy or taken heavy medication for it.
- Sometimes a child may be born normal but meningitis, jaundice, prolonged high fever can lead to damage of brain cells.
- Thyroid deficiency or epilepsy.