Somewhere in 1994, a friend of mine brought a ten-year-old child, who to my surprise could not even spell his name. When I interacted with this child, it was rather shocking to understand that the child though seemed intelligent could not read or write. I dismissed my friend stating that there was nothing wrong with the child but simply that he had not been taught well at home and school.
The nature of work that I was engaged in then did not allow me to think further, though the boy had kindled an interest in me. The next day the parents of the child appeared in my office again. They went in length to explain about their child. At the end of their explanation, the interest that the child had already kindled in me doubled. I felt he had thrown open a challenge because the parents reported that most experienced teachers in town had tried their best to teach him Kannada and English but in vain. Unknowingly, I told the parents that I would try my best to teach him, in my free time. In 20 days (with an interaction of an hour a day,) the child wrote his name in English and Kannada. This surprised the parents and they coaxed me to continue my work with the child. Without my knowledge, I became engrossed in the rehabilitation of the child for a long period. I thought a professional Psychologist could be of great help in this regard. Then I met Dr.P.Prakash, Reader, Department of Psychology, Mysore University. He was the first to identify the teacher in me. He encouraged me to take this as a full time task. Then I realized that the teacher in me was overtaking the entrepreneur. This interest motivated me to think seriously of changing my profession. My engineering and managerial background helped me to look at the problems of the Learning Disabled in a different perspective.
Local people recognized the Positive result of my work and soon there were many children with Learning Disability attending my classes. I realized that there were many such children and their problems were not taken care of by the existing education system. Viewing the whole situation in totality, I realized an organizational approach was needed to combat the problems of the Learning Disabled. I was alone as a teacher in the beginning. Later a teacher joined me and now we are a family of twelve. Thus came Samveda into existence.
Surendranath P. Nishanimut
Surendranath P. Nishanimut is the founder and secretary of Samveda Training and Research centre (R), Davangere. After completing his studies in management science, he was a management trainee at International Garments, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Later he served as a lecturer in management at HIET, Chennai. He specialized in teaching management science to automobile engineering students. Later he started a small industry to manufacture motorcycles spare parts in Davangere. He was engaged in manufacturing and marketing of electronic spares for 12 years. In 1986-87, he was the recipient of the KLN award for “In-Home research and development”. In 1994 he founded Samveda a special school for the learning disabled. He received the INFUCA award-‘Masaka Yumiba’ gold medal and award for rehabilitating children with learning disability in the year 1997. His current areas of specialization are developing remedial teaching material, orthography and literacy acquisition, assistive technology developing tailor made software to be used in remedial teaching, awareness campaign on SLD, counseling for behavioural correction, etc. He leads a team of dedicated remedial teachers at Samveda.
SAMVEDA’S TRAINING PROGRAMME
At Samveda, we are pursuing two distinct activities:(a) Rehabilitation of children with Specific Learning Disability through remedial teaching, special training and Research related to Special Needs Education.(b) Rehabilitation of children with Speech and Language disorders and specified categories of Other Health Impairment (OHI)
Specific Learning Disability is a multifaceted neuro-psychological deficiency that needs to be combated using multidisciplinary approach. The Samveda Remedial Teaching Model is a holistic approach imbibing multi-disciplinary components to train an individual child. Training a child with LD does not necessarily mean eradicating the neuro-psychological deficiency. Essentially training or intervention of children with LD is nothing but building alternative strategies that will help the child to develop scholastically. Though Samveda Remedial Teaching Model is directed towards remedying scholastic deficiencies of the child, it also has elements of developing the total personality of the child.
At Samveda, importance is given to develop awareness among parents, guardians and members of the family regarding the problems faced by the child and the kind of support the child needs. They are encouraged to ask questions and clarify doubts regarding the scholastic development of the child. Reading materials are supplied to improve their knowledge regarding Specific Learning Disability. Due to the lack of awareness among parents and society at large it is difficult for the staff of Samveda to convince parents, who have very high expectations from remedial teaching. In case of children who receive positive and constructive support from parents and members of the family, the results of rehabilitation have been exemplary. Our experience at Samveda overwhelmingly shows that, our efforts to build awareness among parents and members of the family are as important as the efforts to rehabilitate the child with LD.
When a child is brought for admission to Samveda an initial screening is done. If the child is suspected to be Learning Disabled / hearing impaired / mentally retarded then a detailed history of the child is collected from the parents. Later, they are sent to All India Institute of Speech & Hearing (AIISH), Dept., of Clinical Psychology, Manasagangothri, Mysore, for complete assessment. Once the AIISH assessment is over, the parents are interviewed to assess their awareness and attitude regarding the rehabilitation of their ward. If a decision is made to admit the child other routine procedures and tests are done. This helps in defining the child’s problem and the remedial teaching required.
The actual training concentrates on three aspects:
1) Physica health
2) Mental health
3) Scholastic development.
Based on the information collected on these aspects, three plans are framed:
a) Individual Activity Plan
b) Individual Medical Plan
c) Individual Education Plan.
INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITY PLAN (IAP)
Physical exercises like jogging, skipping, yoga, team sports etc., are planned according to the physical health of the child. However, yoga is compulsory to all.
Different activities are planned to train an individual child in the following aspects
- Eating habits
- Concentration and Balance
- Multi-sensory coordination
- Fine motor skills
- Time consciousness
- Personality and appearance
- Social movements
- Interaction at the market place, bank, post office etc.,
- Activities like trekking, adventure etc., are undertaken to develop self-confidence and General Knowledge
INDIVIDUAL MEDICAL PLAN (IAP)
Children at Samveda Home (Hostel) are under the direct care of the warden. Our experiences discouraged us to follow the treatment based on allopathic medicine and led us to Homeopathy.
Our experience with homeopathy medicine for the past four years has been encouraging. However, the parents are free to choose any line of treatment. Sometimes a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of a child is also made.
INDIVIDUAL EDUCATIONAL PLAN (IEP)
Based on the specific need of the individual, an IEP is prepared. This includes Remedial teaching program for Languages, Mathematics, General Concepts, etc. Once these fundamentals are stabilized, the child is put on the interface programme and finally on the Text programme.