Our COVID-19 response

From March 15, 2020, it became increasingly clear that we were facing a pandemic situation and that the services to our children would be severely constrained. We also recognised that the need for services would not only exist but would be felt most acutely. As families became increasingly affected by the pandemic, they would have a greater need for support.

We have therefore continued to render services through the pandemic and various lockdowns. We have had to redesign our service delivery methods and adapted our programmes to optimize the impact of our work.

A new beginning: Listening to parents’ needs

A survey of parents was carried out in mid-April 2020 to determine their needs and where support was required. The findings were used to redesign our new and altered service offerings and our delivery methodology.

The survey was repeated in mid-July to improve services delivery and effectiveness.

The following initiatives were carried out by the departments:

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Relief measures

Grocery packs reached immediately to 315 families of the children with special needs in 3 locations near Bangalore with financial, volunteer and logistic support from the COVID heroes of Runners’ High and Mr. Santhosh Padmanabhan of SVM Trust.

  • Financial aid to 256 families of special needs children facing wage loss due to the pandemic

  • Medical expense reimbursement for the children on seizures medication who could not access their usual sources of reimbursements due to unavailability of postal services

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Therapy – Physio, occupational, speech and language

  • Online and telephonic support provided to parents using train-the-trainer approach

o Tele-rehabilitation

o WhatsApp calls

o Ideograms

Restoration and reinvention

  • 10000+ contact sessions with children and their families

  • Online support to the families by special educators. Guidance to the families on the emotional and behavioural management of the children. Beginning with setting up routines through simple life skills activities and followed by sustaining their learning goals through individual and group online sessions

  • Continuous evolutionary process of online interactions with families, which achieved a structure within one week of the lockdown

o Lesson plans shared with the parents

o Live video guidance for the parents and children

o Zoom and Google Meet and online Life Skills and Vocational Training Classes

o Training videos sent to the parents as reference

  • Online guidance for positioning and maintenance therapy

  • Structured online parent support and activities for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Prompt and swift upload and processing of the Niramaya Health Scheme documents for the children to ensured renewal of government medical reimbursement documents in time

Online support to our children

  • Structuring time

  • Home programs

o Life skills training

o Vocational training

  • Maintenance of learning goals

o Emotional support

o Behavioural guidance

  • Extra-curricular activities- art, craft, music, yoga

Adaption of content to suit online instruction

  • Demonstration videos

  • Worksheets

  • Curation of online content

Continuing child support services to children from mainstream schools

  • Immediate response to families approaching us for mainstream classroom related issues, with online remediation support.

  • Quick move to online parent interviews for new children seeking support, till date 34 new children have registered online and received services, and 10 of our previously registered parents have had review discussion and guidance for their children’s needs.

Staff skill enhancement

  • Teacher skill enhancement has been carried out in use of technology for teaching through online training by Titan Volunteer, Mr. Rathnam Sabhaapathy.

  • The staff continue to keep themselves abreast of new information in the field of disability and risk mitigation for COVID through information sharing sessions and webinars.

Examinations

  • 10 students of our Inclusive School ‘Learners’ Centre’ wrote their SSLC public examinations in the month of May. Results are awaited.

  • The National Open School announced cancellation of the Secondary and Senior Secondary examinations on 10th July, 2020. 32 students who were being supported in their revision for the final exams will now be graded based on internal assessments and practical records. Results are awaited.

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Direct support to patients at Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH)

  • Our team, appropriately kitted out in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) continued services through the lockdown period at IGICH

  • Special glass-fronted kiosks designed, manufactured and installed at IGICH for protection of staff and patients

Rapid switch to online interaction

  • Our rural team, our certified rural mothers and parents of rural children moved quickly to online interaction using the Zoom and Google Meet platforms

  • In the government schools, the resource teachers participated in a door-to-door disability survey with other government school teachers to determine needs and the options for online interaction.

  • All children receiving remedial teaching have been reached out to and teaching has commenced from the childrens’ homes.

  • Teachers have been given clear instructions on their personal safety and that of their students during these home visits.

  • Children are being taught the importance of washing hands periodically, wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, and are following these in the sessions.

  • If there is insufficient space for social distancing, classes are being conducted in open air spaces. The mini school concept has been introduced with teachers including siblings and neighbourhood children on parents’ request.

  • Children are reported to have shown a great deal of happiness and interest in participating in these sessions.

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Production

  • The Bakery and the Centre for Creative Growth resumed from 1st June. The Centre for Creative Growth launched a new line of stitched, well-designed masks. The cookies and bakes, and the masks were sold through new tie-ups with apartment complexes as well as to our regular clients. We thank all who are supporting this initiative towards providing relief for children and their families during these COVID times.

  • We thank our parents for their exceptional support.

Teacher training

  • Online delivery mode launched

o Online classes through Google Meet

o Standard reference material and videos

  • 15 sign ups for new semester of teacher training programs

  • Expectation is that in future we would be able to reach out to even more students than was possible through face-to-face classes

  • Approval of Rehabilitation Council of India will be sought