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This special school in Madurai focuses on various therapies for disabled children

October 15, 2018

The Sairam Special School in Madurai sets itself apart from other schools that reach out to kids with disabilities. They do this by empowering them through a range of therapies.

Among them is animal therapy, which is still quite rare in India. Children at the school are introduced to dogs, cats, lovebirds and even goldfish. Various studies have shown that interactions with animals helps with the cognitive and overall development of children with disabilities.

The school was founded by Bhagyalakshmi in 2013 who was worried about her child's development after Saiharini was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Bhagyalakshmi had to travel long distances with her daughter to access therapy.

I live in interior Madurai and had to travel 10 kms everyday to take my daughter to her therapist. That was when I thought about the troubles faced by many other mothers. I decided to start an exclusive centre that focuses primarily on therapies for children with disabilities. Most parents think that it is a disease than can be cured in time. They do not realise that offering therapy sessions and training is the only way to help a child with disability. - Bhagyalakshmi, Parent to child with cerebral palsy

At Sairam, there are over 35 children with various kinds of disabilities. They undergo sessions in sensory therapy, occupational, music and speech and special education to name a few. They are also given classes in swimming, yoga and arts. Bhagyalakshmi makes all this possible with the help of three trained special educators.

Bhagyalakshmi ensures that children from economically backward families are given equal opportunities. There are over 10 disabled children at the centre. Bhagyalakshmi hopes to get government aid and reach out to more kids.

Nandita Paul, a special educator based in Pune with over 20 years of experience, says therapies are a great way to reach out to kids with disabilities.

"Every child has different needs and therapies should be given accordingly. For instance, speech and language therapy helps a child who has communication problems. Some schools have other unique therapies. Whatever be the case, it is a great way to reach out to a child with a disability", says Nandita.

ALSO READ: Strengthening the parent-child bond is key to empowering kids with autism at Aarambh

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