EnAble India is an organization involved in empowering people with disabilities, to rehabilitate them and help them be self dependent by providing employment assistance. Pankhudians at Bangalore recently got an opportunity to get a good guidance from Enable India on how to interact with and train the visually impaired. The presentation was given by Ms. Nandhini, Ms. Shantala and Mr. Santosh each of whom seem to be deeply committed and passionate about the cause for which they are working.
The presentation started off with Nandhini explaining us about the various technical terminologies related to the visually impaired and that it’s a myth that people with disabilities have any ‘sixth sense’. We were told about the behavioral aspects of the visually impaired and how to deal with them. Like for example – small children have various habits like poking their eyes, head banging, making shrill noises etc which can be a faux pas socially. In this case, the children should be advised not to do so or divert their habits to something socially acceptable.
Children with disability undergo mental trauma and generally have a low social interaction and to help them overcome this, we need to know a bit about their life history. It helps if we know their names and call them accordingly thus building a better rapport with them. We always need to have high expectations from them and let them be self dependent as much as possible. Since they are devoid of the visual learning, which makes about 80% of the total learning for the sighted people, they have to depend on the remaining senses. So, they should be taught with a feel and touch method. For example, you can get a live cat and make them feel it. Then you can explain how to imagine a lion – which is a bigger cat. A toy of the lion shape may not work here, because that will make them imagine a wrong picture of a lion. This point was well driven to us by actually making us play a small blind-fold game!
Computer learning is important for the visually impaired because it is the easiest source of information it makes them independent. It is again a myth that these people cannot compete with the sighted ones in the fields such as IT developer, System Administrators, Data Entry operators etc. The feedback from the industry says that these people, with their extra hard work, can even outperform their sighted colleagues. Also they seem to be loyal to their employer because they consider a job opportunity to be important and cannot hop jobs frequently.
In order to make the training sessions to the children at SRMAB more effective, fun and interesting, EnAble India provided us with a new curriculum. As a cherry in the ice-cream, they will also send trainers to SRMAB to help Pankhudi volunteers teach the students in a proper way catering to the needs of the children.
We are thankful to Enable India for having extended this helping hand and thus providing us with valuable insight in training children with visual impairment.