Taal Inc shows how music & art based therapies can work magic on children with disabilities
Taal Inc is a centre in Pune that offers music and arts based therapies for children with disabilities. The centre was founded by Varun Venkit, who is a musician himself. Varun talks about his journey on doing something exclusive for children with disabilities and what he plans for the future for Taal Inc.
Music can do wonders for young children with disabilities. It enhances their cognitive, communication and development skills. Published psychologist and musician Varun Venkit knew the magical powers of music and decided to create an exclusive space, and that is how Taal Inc was founded in the year 2005 at Pune. Their many musical therapies have helped children with disabilities like Autism, Down syndrome and those with visual impairments as well. Varun shares his incredible journey on touching lives of people with the power of music.
Apart from music, Taal Inc also focuses on various arts modalities such as theatre games, creative writing, visual arts and dance movement therapies. Varun, who started off teaching drums and percussion by creating a band in the year 2005, decided to add to the inclusive umbrella of work for children with special needs and disabilities since the year 2011.
At Taal Inc, under the project ‘Art Talks’, we use music, rhythm and other arts based modalities to positively influence pre-decided behavioral objectives. We offer group and one on one sessions at venues for children with special needs using art as a medium-Varun Venkit.
This youngster who has been learning music since childhood further went on to study psychology. He decided to combine them both and use his skills to reach out to children with disabilities. “I have also co-authored two articles in international publications adding to a growing body of knowledge in the use of arts for health and wellbeing. There is a therapeutic value to music”, says Varun.
According to him, arts work differently for different children. “When we introduce drums to a child with autism, the kinaesthetic sense of vibration helps to bring out a tactile appeal which helps to reduce anger outbursts. It also helps them to get attention for a prolonged period of time. The non-verbal communication element observed is beautiful. When we work at the Poona home for the Blind we have observed an increase in their confidence and communication skill”, adds Varun.
He hopes to introduce more unique therapies and programmes to reach out to children with disabilities and open communities.
Taal Inc.’s latest initiative is the Therapy Room where counselling sessions are conducted with children, adolescents and adults with disabilities. Taal Inc has a handful of ongoing projects. But the one that tops the list is a project with ResQ, an NGO that works for animals. “Our aim is to cover a large number of kids to spread awareness of living in harmony with all animals. Using drum circles, we provide them with information about what to do. This helps build awareness and eventually tolerance for animals. Since it is so much fun, they remember this information more easily and this in turn reduces human-animal conflict”, says Varun.
Nandita Paul, a special educator, has conducted a story telling session for children with disabilities at Taal Inc. “At the session, we focussed on the emotional well-being of the child and used all forms of arts based therapies for it. The sessions were fun filled with a lot of take away not just for the kids but for parents too. We also did counselling sessions for parents to address their concerns”, says Nandita.
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