Mridulasparsham’s gentle touch is transforming the lives of many disabled kids in Kochi
Mridulasparsham in Malayalam means 'gentle touch'. It is an apt way name for this centre that is changing the lives of disabled children in Kochi, Kerala.
Founded by Nithya Gopalakrishnan, Mridulasparsham has empowered hundreds of children with various kinds of disabilities through behavioural and academic training for children. These are children whose needs have been overlooked in mainstream schools.
Gopalakrishnan should know. As a principal in one of Kochi's leading schools, she had worked closely with disabled kids. When she stepped down from the post, she decided to do something for them in right earnest.
With her husband's support, she launched Mridulasparsham in 2011. Today, there are over 30 students at the centre with disabilities ranging from autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, to name a new. There are deaf students here as well. All of them come from different parts of Kochi to get the best education and training at the centre.
Children between the age group of four to 22 years are enrolled her. Apart from training and academics, they are provided with occupational and speech therapies.
We have a bunch of great children and we aim to give them the best training. Having worked in regular schools, I know that most of the teachers there are not even aware of learning disabilities. Hence, children are victims of negligence. There must be good communication between teachers and parents as well. In fact, most of the times parents refuse to accept the fact that their child has a disability which makes things worse. - Nithya Gopalakrishnan, Founder, Mridulasparsham
Gopalakrishnan points out that many teachers are aware that the child has a disability, but have no idea how to help them. To address this gap, she takes awareness sessions and has trained over 10,000 teachers from various parts of India.
“Even today, there are teachers who ridicule and mock a student with a disability. This is just lack of awareness. Having worked closely with teachers and students, I have seen a remarkable change in the past 25 years. But we still have a long way to go”, she points out.
Sam K James, parent to a 11-year-old with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), enrolled his son Johan to Mridulasparsham after years in a regular school. He calls it one of the best decisions he has made.
“That was one of the best decisions because my son started improving a lot. He always needed one to one coaching and we get that at Mridulasparsham. Johan was admitted here after he moved around three schools. His nature has also improved for the best”, says James.
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