Just shy of her third birthday, an engaged, chatty child full of, “I love you” “Where are my dolls?” “Let’s get ice cream!” fell silent. She cried inconsolably, didn’t sleep and wouldn’t make eye contact. Her comprehension of spoken words collapsed. After visits to several doctors, her parents heard the word “autism.” Parents of such children say things like, “she can’t read or write” or “who will look after her when we’re gone?”
Their worries are diminished by our school for children with special learning needs which was conceived by Datin Sri Umayal Eswaran, the Chairperson of the Vijayaratnam Foundation which is the Malaysian chapter of the RYTHM Foundation. TAARANA opened its doors in June 2011 with highly qualified educators and has since enrolled fifty three students aged between three and fifteen years.
The school provides tailor made educational programmes for children with varied disabilities. This includes those with mild intellectual disabilities such as ADD, ADHD, ASD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Down Syndrome, Learning Disability, Sensory-Integration Disorder, Speech Impairment, Global Development Delay, Impulsive Behaviour, Mild Intellectual Impairment and Mild Autism Spectrum Syndrome.
Ms Balasundari Swaminatha, the principle, refers to her teachers as the crown jewel of TAARANA. She applauds them for treating every student with dignity, adapting to changes and trying out new things for the betterment of their students.
Often, these kids are easily distracted by words and hand gestures, thus visual aids are used in the interest of helping them see, understand and process their thoughts. Communication programmes such as Hanen, ABLLS and TEACCH are also used to teach students to interact effectively. Children with autism are known to have quick tempers. So TAARANA accommodates with a befitting Behaviour Programme to handle strong emotions.
In our culture heroes are often identified for their cinematic swashbuckling, but rarely is the heroism of everyday life valued. The tiny munchkins of TAARANA battle it out every day, facing adversities to live the best life possible. While it’s as easy as pie for us, from picking up a spoon and to play with another, every single effort of theirs is in many ways an a brave act.
TAARANA is a pillar of emotional support for both parents and children, as these young ones learn important skills that help them transition into society and be able to live normal, independent lives someday.#LabourOfLove is about how TAARANA has given many children with special learning needs, a chance at leading a normal life. We are making a difference today, every day.
Learn More about TAARANA: http://www.taarana.org.my/
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