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Anushruti Academy for the Deaf: Integrating the Differently Abled Seamlessly

By auther pic. Divya Tiwari

September 16, 2020

Anushruti Academy for the Deaf: Integrating the Differently Abled Seamlessly

Giving Joy a Chance to Flourish

Roorkee in Uttarakhand is endowed with immense natural beauty on the one hand and technological innovations and research via its famous Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), on the other. Amidst such blessings is a school dedicated to the development of children who are no less endowed with eagerness to explore their learning abilities. Right inside the campus of IITR is a school, Anushruti Academy for the Deaf [AAD], run as the social initiative of IITR for more than three decades now. Operative in and around Roorkee, with deaf children even coming beyond 80 km to the campus, AAD is the source of inspiration for many ever since.

Anushruti Academy for the Deaf- A Haven for the Deaf

The idea of introducing technology that would aid and enhance learning of those who are not exposed to sound due to physical defects, was given shape in the year 1989 by Prof. S.C. Handa and his wife Mrs Kiran Handa.Once they discovered their son’s inability to respond to sound, they turned around this disability faced by other deaf children into a nurturing profession. They translated this idea into a school that will take care of those considered outside the ‘normal’ category. Currently, with more than three decadesspent on delivering quality education to differently abled children with speech and hearing impairments, AAD has opened new vistasfor the deaf. The strength of the students in this academy remains close to 100.

 

How would anyone with a hearing-impaired child feel, if he or she encounters a completely free of education for their ward? No fees model that is used for imparting education at Anushruti is a source of delight for over 100 parents whose wards study at this academy. Admissions are based on special tests that a child takes before the committee decides for his/her admission.Starting from Kindergaten to till the 12th standard, regular subjects are taught on the academic fronts that includeEnglish, Hindi, Maths and Sciences.

 

Apart from the academic curriculum for the children at Anushruti school, teachers and faculty are proud to teach children by means of the state-of-the-art equipment that helps train the students in various fields and vocational skills. The students are provided vocational training in the fields of Art and Craft, Cooking and Catering, Photography, Gardening, tailoring and even Computer Education.“I feel honored that AnushrutiVidyalaya is on IIT Roorkee Campus. My interactions with the children and the teachers of the school have always left me humbled, invigorated and teary-eyed,” says Director, IIT Roorkee, Prof.Pradipta Banerji, whenever he gets a chance to mingle with these children. The students at their school are regularly counselled and monitored for their hearing loss. All children undergo speech therapy on a regular basis. Being equipped with normal speech and auditory training equipment in addition to the state-of-the-art computer aided speech development system.

Speech Therapy- Exercising the Inner Ear Muscles

No teaching is ever complete without the attention and involvement of parents, especially those of young children. At AnushrutiVidyalaya too, the parents are in perfect tandem with the teachers and their own wards. About 12-15 teachers are fully committed to the students on a daily basis. The teaching faculty also comprises special educators and staff members. The list of volunteers too is never running short. IITR student volunteers, IITR Faculty, IITR Alumni, our well-wishers and the Management Committee – all of these hosts of volunteers are happy to contribute to the betterment of the students studying at Anushruti.

 

Student volunteers from IIT Roorkee help in organising events and workshops for the school. On the other hand, the research labs at IITR that are busy developing innovative teaching/ content techniques are taught by the faculties and volunteers from IIT, Roorkee. The students of IITR earn their M.Tech. and Ph.D. Degrees from their core departments. Deaf students of AAD and its infrastructure serve as a Live Workshop to motivate and promote such research work.In addition, AAD has an audiology and speech development lab which is open to individuals outside the school students and provides services free of cost to anyone suffering from hearing impairment.

The Importance of Positive Parent-Teacher Relationship

The entire set of teaching/training carried out at AAD aims to set new standards in the education of children with hearing impairments through professional excellence, research and development with the help of communication design and technology-based interventions. Their efforts in undertaking research in the areas of disability, deafness, education of the deaf and the rehabilitation strategies also bear fruit in orientation and placement of the students in the long run.

 

As a recent development, the academy recently started a new initiative that encourages student made articles and artefacts such as paintings or little gift articles to be sold in the technical and cultural festivals of the college under the Brand Anushruti. Yet another initiative is the intervention of Wendy Jehlen, a trained Bharatnatyam dancer from Boston, who conducted a choreography workshop, specially organised for the students towards teaching deaf children using movements and dance steps.

 

How is Anushruti Academy dealing with the current pandemic? Even though classes for kids with special needs need to be regular, the outbreak of COVID-19 calls for AAD to use WhatsApp for teaching their children.Lessons that include videos, images, PDF documents, links to websites, and worksheets are shared with every student through their parents on WhatsApp. This is done within a stipulated time period between 11:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M. every day.  Students and their parents go through the material and raise doubts via call, text or video calls during the two hours. "The teachers have to be vigilant and prompt with their replies. We sometimes have to find and send more material to help the students or their parents understand a particular problem. We are using what's available online and our own personal notes as most of our books and other study material are still at the school," says Neelima Agarwal, a Math teacher at the school.

 

Anushruti Academy does not receive any government aid and is a Community Based Model. The school is run on aids and donations from the alumni where individuals and organizations help in rolling out the programmes of this special academy. The noble mission of this academy calls for a seamless integration of differently abled children by forging valuable community partnerships.

 

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Author

Divya Tiwari is a seasoned content writer with over 20 years of work experience. She holds an MBA degree from IIM Indore along with Triple Masters Degrees in Development Studies, Media Business Management, and Philosophy. She has worked in various capacities with National and International NGOs, Top Corporates, and several Ministries for projects that range from Training, Capacity Building, E-Learning, to Media and Communications. She has written and hosted English programs for All India Radio, Delhi. Her deep interest in Animal Welfare helps her engage with various Animal Welfare Organizations across the country in various capacities. She is an advocate of a cruelty-free sustainable lifestyle and regularly blogs on related issues and solutions. Apart from her writing engagements, she is also a social entrepreneur helping rural communities take their craft to centrestage. She is based out of Delhi

 

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