Deepti Special School & Rehabilitation Center seeks to promote welfare of disabled kids
Deepti Special School and Rehabilitation Center is located at Adoor, a small town in Kerala. Dr Susan Mathew and her husband Dr Mathew Varghese started it off as a physiotherapy center. But today, they have many ventures. Dr Susan says that their son who has cerebral palsy was their inspiration behind starting Deepti.
When Dr Susan Mathew‘s son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Dr Susan or her husband Dr Mathew Varghese were unaware of the facilities to offer him. Since the couple were living in Adoor, a small town in Kerala, awareness about the disability was very less. Dr Susan later moved to England with her son to complete her research. There, her son was offered the best facilities and therapies that a disabled child could get. Upon Susan’s return back to India, she wanted to start an exclusive center that offered everything under one roof for a disabled child and their parent. That is how Deepti Special School and Rehabilitation Center (DSSRC) was formed in Adoor. Today, DSSRC is one of the very few schools that provides special education, therapies, vocational training, counselling and rehabilitation to both disabled children and parents in Adoor.
A new beginning for welfare of disabled children
Dr Susan remembers how her family moved to Cherthala, almost 100 kms away from their home so that her son could attend therapy sessions. It was after her stay in England that she realized what children in Kerala are missing out on.
In England, my son was in a very good center. For a mother who has a disabled child, doing a research study will never be easy. But I could do it only because he got the best facilities there. I saw the care and support that a disabled child gets. They gave all the facilities. So when I came back to Kerala, I wanted to start something similar. With the support of my husband, we started Deepti – Dr Susan Mathew, Co-founder, DSSRC.
Initially, the center was only for children with cerebral palsy only. But today, they have youngsters with Down syndrome, autism and other physical and intellectual disabilities.
The many ventures of Deepti
In 2009, Deepti started off as a physiotherapy center. In 2014, they began vocational training for youngsters with disabilities to train them to become independent and self-reliant. In 2018, their counselling center for children and parents opened. In 2019, they began their early intervention center.
“Over the years, I have noticed that attitudes towards disabilities are changing. Earlier, a disabled child was labelled retarded. We have been giving counselling to parents to have a positive outlook towards life. We have succeeded in that. Now, parents are happier. We want to focus on mothers because they are the primary care-givers”, says Dr Susan.
The team at DSSRC has been giving awareness sessions about disabilities to children at nearby schools. “It is important that young children have a good attitude towards disabled people because we are aiming for an inclusive society”, adds Dr Susan.
Dr Susan and her team are all set to start an exclusive teachers training program for occupational therapists. Apparently, there are very few therapists in Kerala and they charge quite a lot. “Most of the times, a special school like ours cannot afford to pay occupational therapists. So we are training them on our own”, says Dr Susan.
Though DSSRC is a government aided center, they get very less funds from the state government. The children at Deepti Special School are being trained under the open school system.
“Parents who have a disabled child need not be disappointed about it. I believe God has a way of reaching out to you. Disabled children can achieve many things in life with the right support. They can even make your life more meaningful”, says Dr Susan.
The school has many positive reviews on social media too. “I visited this wonderful school when I was in Kerala last November. Dr Susan and Mathew are making the lives of the students very special, equipping them for a better future. I am honoured to be associated with them and to be able help them in their projects and support of the students”, commented Martin Pember.
You can contact Dr Susan at +91 96334-70888.