|CURRICULAM TO SUIT INDIVIDUALS, NOT INDIVIDUALS TO SUIT CURRICULAM
HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENTAL PROGRAM
Tamana educates and rehabilitates about 300 mentally challenged, multiple disabled and autistic children with the help trained professionals. Admissions are not restricted by economic factors and as a result, thirty percent of the school's students, who belong the weaker sections of society, are beneficiaries of freeships.
In house professional expertise is available in the form of speech therapists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and special educators. It also has a panel of highly competent doctors- physician, pediatrician, neurosurgeon and eye specialist. Tamana is fortunate to have on its Governing Council professionals from different fields who are extremely adapt at taking quick decisive action as the need arises.
Tamana is a quality oriented professional organization, which is committed to providing an individualized education plan for each child. It offers a challenging program that looks at the individual as a whole. Thus, each IEP (Individual Education Plan) includes various areas of development including language, communication, motor development and inter-personal social skills. The common point in all programs is an emphasis on the child's strengths, the child's interest and making education as functional and age-appropriate as possible.
Each School has been divided into groups on the basis of the students' functional levels and chronological age. Each group has a classroom setting where personalised attention is offered according to their various needs. Grouping of these children is a skilled job in which each child is simultaneously programmed for and taught in a one-to-one situation and in a group. This optimum training module requires a maximum of five children to one teacher.
A comprehensive curriculum has been developed for each branch. The following areas are covered broadly -
Activities in this curricular area include play, music and crafts. It encourages the child to participate in things that bring out his hidden feelings and talent. It also creates a suitable and informal atmosphere for learning.
Functional Academics :
This curricular area has functional reading, writing, practical math, money and time concept, as activities.
Formal Education through NIOS:
The Educable and high functioning students are taught formal academics by following the National Open School Programme. Tamana is currently offering NIOS programme for Level 3, 5, 8 . Shortly it will get accreditation for classes 10 and 12.
Environmental Education :
The curriculum here explores the world around us especially the Nature, and physical sciences. Tamana is a member of the ECO Club of Govt. of Delhi. Extra curricular activities are planned to create awareness of preserving the environment. Topics such as - save the earth, save water, save electricity, do not use plastic bags etc are discussed regularly.
Activities Of Daily Living :
Activities in this curricular area include eating, dressing and maintaining hygiene. The child learns the basic etiquettes and mannerism to interact with the society with more confidence.
Stimulation for physical growth and development is provided through yoga and sports. Sports include indoor and out door games. Students get training in skating, badminton, athletics, cricket, bocce, basketball.
During the summer months students are taken for swimming to the local sports complex. Swimming is not only therapeutic for persons with special needs but also a fun activity as being in the water the students feel relaxed.Especially the hyper-active persons feel more settled after the swimming sessions. Their confidence level also goes up and they get that winning feeling one they have learnt swimming.
Mobility skills development :
It involves field trips, films, supportive classroom activities etc. which encourage the child to actually interact with the society and participate in events which have scope for such interaction.
Computers can assist learning in every area of special needs child, not just in the “3Rs” and at every level of ability. They can provide an environment in which the following may emerge.
Computers offer opportunities for playfulness, creativity and exploration in a safe environment and can produce perfect, socially valued objects. All of this can be achieved with non-specialised software, even by those who do not speak and do not appear to recognise writing. Pictures and icons are standard in computer-person interactions-and they always look the same and do the same thing when activated! Person-to-person interaction is much helped by this: each can see the other’s aims; turn are clearly defined; complicated skills are not required. We can enjoy what the individuals is doing as much as they do! We can share their interest, they can share ours!
Computer use in an essential element of social inclusion: some individuals on the autistic spectrum may be exceptionally competent with information technology and some grow up to earn a good living in this area. Non Specialised as well as specialised software which promotes spoken communication, enhances auditory processing or addresses other specific needs are used. For those with poor motor control specialised hardware are made available, for example touch screen, joysticks, trackballs and switches instead of mouse or keyboard. For those who find the standard keyboard too complex a keyboard with large keys are used.
Sex Education :
Books and counselling is used to provide the child much needed sex education. His/her queries are answered and he/she is encouraged to leave inhibitions to be an aware person. Adolescents are trained to handle their sexuality.
Vocational Skills :
Vocational Training prepares the students to settle into the society as efficient and able citizens. They are given training such as cooking, needlework, weaving, laminating, cyclostyling, block printing, fabric painting etc.
Additionally, students help the staff with tasks such as maintenance, office work and meal preparation. The principal goal of this is to develop a sense of responsibility, deference to authority, understanding instructions, and a basic work ethic.Underlying all skill development is the goal of developing a sense of self worth and dignity as a member of the community.
Seventy five percent of the students at Tamana require speech and occupational and /or physiotherapy. Each child's speech, language and motor problems are scientifically evaluated. Special care is taken to ensure that teachers and parents are fully involved in the ongoing program.
Occupational therapy is administered by a occupational therapist and an assistant through manual and equipment aided techniques.
Speech Therapy :
Language delay and deviant language development are often the features which lead to diagnosis and assessment of mental multiple disability and autism. Therapists use a developmental approach to evaluate children’s overall levels and patterns of functioning. The aim of intervention is to understand the nature and extent of children's difficulties and to facilitate better communication wherever possible. Ways of stimulating language and communication are therefore needed. The School offers a unique speech and language therapy with the aid of Dr. Speech Computer Program. Specifically charted speech exercises are conducted by full time speech therapists and special educators.
Where the use of spoken language provokes difficulties instead of understanding then language needs to be supported with visible forms of communication e.g. objects, pictures or symbols. In this context augmentative communication practices and programmes, which support the act of communication are used. Other approaces used are PECS, Makaton , Communication Boards.
Art Therapy :
Art is a form of expression and a way of communicating. At Tamana we try to achieve the primary aim of art therapy, that is, to provide a ‘safe’ non- judgmental environment in which to create and have aesthetic experiences. The very act of art making demands some active involvement, risk taking and unique self-expression. Thoughts, perceptions and emotions of the special individual, who at times may be nonverbal, are expressed through the creative act itself and in any follow up discussion. Because it is non- judgmental or non- critical there are no rights or wrongs. The acquisition of skills can be very motivating. As individual acquire more skills, they are better able to undergo a wider range of aesthetic experiences. There is a subtle interplay between aesthetic awareness and skills acquisitions. Art can provide a path for motivation, communications as well as an emotional outlet.
Art is also be used as a therapeutic activity to help cognitive development and physical coordination.
Dance and Movement Therapy :
Tamana has introduced Dance therapy in its three branches. Dance Instructors from Shaimak Dawar Institute of Performing Arts assisted by the special educators of Tamana teach dance to the students. Children are guided through experimental movement activities to become aware of their bodies and develop deeper understanding of themselves. While engaging in body preparatory exercises, movement activities and games they have been stimulated to think, memorize, feel and express ideas through their bodies. The movements help improve their body coordination, attention span and imitation skills. The dance sessions have led to a feel good factor in the students and they are loosing their inhibitions. The students also get opportunities to perform their dances in front of varied audiences thus giving a boost to their self confidence and self esteem.Mobility skills development :