What was the inspiration behind setting up such an institute for differently abled children? Was it a personal experience or is it a collective initiative?
The inspiration behind starting Tamana was Tamana Chona who is the daughter of Padmabhushan Dr. Shyama Chona. Tamana who was born a spastic child made Dr. Chona feel the need of establishing an institute for differently abled children and hence the NGO Tamana came into being in 1984.
However, establishing the institute was not an easy call as during those times the infrastructure was not up to the mark.
What are the kinds of disorders under which a differently abled child is eligible for admission?
Although disability is a wide spectrum, children with mental disability, cerebral palsy, autism and multiple disabilities are eligible for admission. Under each of the disability the emphasis is given on the type of disability, that is, mild, moderate or severe category and training is provided accordingly.
Coming to the academic part, what is the curriculum and syllabi that is induced in the learning system?
Tamana School of Hope follows a holistic approach when it comes to working with children with special needs. Individual students have their own curriculum vis-à-vis their needs and capabilities. Tamana also follows NIOS curriculum for educable group. Interestingly, our students will also be appearing for class XII level of NIOS in 2012.
Does the pattern rely heavily on special objects such as pictorial representation?
Since the level of disability varies from each student, we do depend on lot of pictorial, auditory and technical devices for our students. Therapeutics, occupational therapy, speech therapy, sports, yoga, dance, drama plays a very important role in our training programme.
Parents of such children are often conscious of the fast changing educational patterns and competition. What has been their experience taking into consideration the progress of their children?
At Tamana we try to keep ourselves updated with latest information and technology. Every year an International Conference and workshop is being held at Tamana so as to keep the parents acquainted with the process.
Is it also your objective to ascertain that self esteem of a differently abled child is retained along with the learning process?
Our basic aim is to develop feeling of self respect and make the children capable of being socially acceptable members of the society to best of their capabilities.
How many volunteers has Tamana School of Hope had ever since its inception in terms of monetary help and individual help?
Giving the exact number of volunteers would be a difficult task as the institute was established in 1984. However, the response has been very encouraging that is the reason, we have come so far.
Is there any noteworthy success story of the children that you can share with the readers?
There had been many success stories at Tamana but I would like to share one here to let the parents know that do not give up hope. Proper training by professionals and parents does show the result. We had an autistic boy who joined Tamana at the age of five years. Initially, he would run out of the class and run around the school at least 20-25 times in a day.
Slowly with therapeutic interventions, structured programme and visual timetable we were able to keep him in class. After seven years of training in Tamana, he has been in an inclusive setup at one of the prestigious schools, that is, DPS RK Puram Vasant Vihar for last four years. There are many other who are working in some companies as office assistants, teacher assistants at nursery schools.
Taking into account the pathetic state of government agencies and private institutions, how has Tamana School of Hope ignited a ray of hope amongst the parents of differently abled children?
Although government concerns are not next to nil, they are yet to give special emphasis on children with special needs. Meanwhile, Tamana has always filled in the gap with its sincere effort, care, professional support and empathetic attitude has developed trust, confidence and hope in parents.