Summer camps are one of the ways to stay active during the summer holidays, learn and also have fun. Insight summer camp for the year 2017 was held from 15/5/2017 to 19/5/2017 for five days. The theme for the camp was ‘colour’, to make the camp extra colourful. The camp days were made bright with staff and children wearing a particular colour on all the camp days. 25 students of age group 5 to 16 attended the camp.
The camp had multifaceted activities from gardening to cooking, art and craft work. Dance and folk songs added flavour to the camp activities. Each day started with prayer, had physical movements to relieve tension and improve cognitive processing, activities for skill development and self expression through folk songs and action songs to help them communicate.
The first day had gardening to start with. Garden is a place with calming atmosphere and stimulates the senses of the children with autism. The students enthusiastically brought flowering plants from their homes and enjoyed planting them at Insight. The colour, smell and texture of the plants were appealing to their senses. There was team work among themselves while planting and watering. This experience has given them self confidence to replicate it in their homes.
The second day gave them an opportunity to practice their culinary skills. The menu had fruit salad and puffed rice laddu. The students were able to identify and taste different fruits which enhanced their sense of taste. While making puffed rice laddu, they were able to feel the sticky jaggery inducing tactile stimulation. They had a wonderful time making them and eating it too with great delight.
Art and craft is part of any summer camp and here also the students had the opportunity to use their creativity in making fans using crepe paper. The decoration on the fans explicitly revealed their imagination and individuality.
Children with special needs especially children with ASD, have problem with socialization and communication. They have difficulty in understanding family relationships and also to address them. The fourth day was a learning experience about family relationships by arranging photos of family members in a frame and decorating it using their unique abilities. It gave them tactile stimulation also as they were making use of glue .
Fifth day instilled in them the concept of making use of waste materials into something creative and useful. Students brought T- shirts from home which cannot be used by them and the teachers helped them to make pot hangers out of it. This gave them the idea that waste material could be made use in various ways using their imagination.
The common folk songs and action songs taught everyday is sung by them even after the camp at home. Parents have appreciated the changes that the camp has brought about and desired for such camps not only during summer but also during onam and christmas holidays.
There were special games everyday which inevitably brought about changes in them. Games such as setting up rooms facilitated them to understand the different objects that have to be retained in each rooms. Talent hunt was another feature in the summer camp which brought forth different talents of the students. Musical games, exercises to the beat of drums, book balancing, identifying animal sounds augmented their knowledge as well as gross motor abilities.
The camp has provided the students an opportunity to develop positive behaviours and social skills along with fun and games. It has also prevented regression that usually occurs during the summer vacation. Summer camp has improved their confidence, self esteem, communication skills and friendship that could be continued further in their life. Summer camp was an eye opener to teachers as well. They were able to ascertain the different characteristics of each student which could come in handy during their sessions in future.
May Flowers 2016, the summer camp of Insight was organized from 2 about a change in the monotony of the routine affairs of its students and to bring about enthusiasm and inspiration for the next academic year. It was a child centered programme away from technology and academic pressures. Everyday started with a morning prayer followed by relaxation exercises to help them reduce the stress and enjoy the rest of the day. There was music and creative movements everyday through dance to improve balance and gross motor skills. Camp had sessions to promote personal development in a noncompetitive environment. Skills that would help in activities of daily living such as buttoning, tying shoe laces, plaiting hair, were reviewed to help them do it independently. Personalized name key chains were made by them which gave them an importance and pride in their name. A session which developed individuality and creativity is framing their own photos and also decorating it. The campers were proud to take home their framed photos and personalized key chains on the last day.
Kids’ kitchen was another interesting multisensory activity for the kids in the camp. They were able to touch, taste, smell all the ingredients of rice flakes snack, juice and sandwich. They had a great time making food for themselves and eating it too.
Group activities were organized to help them interact with each other and have fun. Games which can improve the fine motor skills and eye hand coordination such as sorting of grains and colouring pictures using crayons were also included in the camp. Afternoon sessions were refreshed by simple folk songs and action songs which are being hummed by them even after the camp.
The camp came to an end with a tour to Kovalam, Aquarium and Veli tourist village on the final day. The beach walk at Kovalam gave massaging to the soles of the feet and also improved the blood circulation. The visit to Aquarium helped to calm down the autistic children and the bright colours and moving shapes gave stimulation to their senses. At Veli tourist village, the children were able to enjoy the boat ride and also cross the lake from one side to another through a floating bridge. It was a beautiful scenic spot which helped both parents and children to relax and admire the serenity of the lake and tourist spot.
The six day programme culminated with development of social skills, peer interactions, personal development along with fun and entertainment.
A workshop was conducted on 29/2/2016 and 1/3/2016 for the 18 students studying D.Ed.S.E (A.S.D) Course in SIMC, Pangappara. The workshop gave an awakening to these students on how technology can assist in child’s learning, improve speech, bring about a change in behaviour through social stories, develop cognitive skills and boost their self confidence.
December 3rd is celebrated as International day of people with disability all over the world. The theme for this year by United Nations is Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all disabilities. To commemorate this, Insight conducted a day trip to Magic planet, the world’s first magic mansion at Kazhakkoottam, Thiruvananthapuram. It was a novel experience and a day of fun and frolic for the students and parents.
Shalom Special School, is a Centre for children with disabilities situated at Vattappara, Trivandrum. Here children are taught formal education, activities of daily living skills etc. Insight gave training to 13 of their teachers on 26/8//2015 and 21/9/2015 to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a child with special need and to give assistance for their limitations through ICT training. It was a new perception for them and they are planning to introduce ICT training to their students in their training method. The divergent activities in the centre for students, trainers and parents are resourceful and enlightening to the participants and has brought about a positive change in their lives.
The harvest festival of Kerala Onam, is a festival which is celebrated every year at
Insight wth great enthusiasm by the students. This year also it was celebrated
on 22/8/2015 with the usual nostalgia. Cultural programmes and competitions
were organised for both parents and students. All the students were made to
participate in the competitions and it was a time of enthusiasm and social get together for them. The half day celebration ended with the customary payasam.
Multi sensory environment creates a stimulating and calming atmosphere to children with developmental and behaviour disorders. SPACE (Society for Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment) in collaboration with SBI Life, Trivandrum bestowed a multi sensory environment for the students of Insight at its centre at Vellayambalam on 1/8/2015. Shri. K. Muralidharan MLA was the Chief Guest on the occasion who inaugurated the sensory room. Shri. Subash Babu, Regional Director of SBI Life offered his felicitations. It was a gathering of nearly 80 people consisting of parents, friends and well wishers who came to bless the centre on its growth.
The summer camp 2015 at Insight called “KINGINI KOOTTAM” was a great learningexperience to the students who attended the camp. It was the first time many children spent anextended period of time away from home and parents. The children were encouraged to try newthings in safe surroundings.
Physical activities such as exercise, dance and games gave them an opportunity to move. It alsoreconnected them with nature by planting flowering plants in painted pots. Arts and crafts are agreat way for special needs children to express feelings, enhance their social skills and cognitive functioning, resolve frustrations, and increase their use of sensorimotor skills including handeyecoordination and sensory stimulation. Our Kingini Koottam made wall hangings out of plastic cupsbeads and straw. The camp was also made educational by teaching them money management through the piggy banks they made out of plastic bottles.
A summer camp never ends without entertainment. The most exciting and important part of thecamp is the dance for the song ‘I love you mummy’ which really touched the parents emotionallywho came to watch the final day programme. This summer camp was one of the most rewarding,unforgettable experience in their life by providing educational, physical and social development.
Centre for Learning at Kuttiyadi, Kozhicode is a Centre for children with learning disabilities run by a Paediatrician committed to service to the society. So far, nearly 1800 students have been trained through this Centre. Insight gave them training to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a child with special need and to give assistance for their limitations through ICT training. It was a new perception for the two Doctors and 3 Special educators who are working there. They are planning to incorporate Insight’s ideologies into their training method.
To extend the services of Insight, we are organizing parents’ training programme to train parents of children with special needs who are unable to attend classes at Insight. One such programme was conducted at Insight on 12/11/2015. The second Parents’ training programme was conducted on 2/4/2015 to commemorate with World Autism day. Parents’ training programmes paves way for broadening our services and resources to other students who are not able to come to the centre.
Children with special needs often face problems in communication and language development and parents are ignorant of the fact that speech could be developed through everyday activities at home because they have more opportunities and time to interact with the child. Therefore, an awareness programme was conducted at our Centre for the parents on 30/3/2015. An experienced Speech Language pathologist Mrs. Anuja officiated to guide the parents to understand the child’s difficulties and improve their child’s communication and language development. The programme paved way for the parents to initiate intervention for their children from home.
International free software conferences are being held to highlight Kerala’s achievements in the domain of Free software, as well as to bring together the community to discuss priorities and action items. The fifth International Free software conference of Kerala, Swatantra 2014 was held from 18 to 20 December 2014 at Thiruvananthapuram. The theme of the conference was “Free software for a Free World.” Insight was represented in the conference under the topic “Computing for the Differently abled.”
Insight organized a programe for the students and parents of Insight on the occasion of International Day of persons with disability on the 6th of December, 2014. The highlight of the programme was an interactive session by Mr.Brahma Nayakam Mahadhavan a Social Activist / Special Educator / Independent Education Management Professional. He is also a recipient of the prestigious National Youth Award in the year 2000. He motivated the parents to bring out the innate potential of their children. In another session in the afternoon, Dr. Manju, a parent and a Paediatrician enlightened the participants on various disciplines of parenting. The programme came to an end with a skit by our students which had the participation of all our students.
International symposium on ‘Assistive technology for Rehabilitation and Disability Management’ was organized by Centre for Disability studies, Poojapura to commemorate International Day of persons with disabilities from 2nd to 4th of December, 2014 at Mascot Hotel. Insight got the opportunity to put up a stall on the occasion and demonstrate the activities of Insight to people of other Centres of Kerala and from other countries. The stall was visited and appreciated by the participants of the symposium.
Ability to communicate is the key to social participation. Speech impairment can be source of behavioral issues and social exclusion among autistic children. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a form of communication that enhances or replaces speech. It helps those with serious speech impairments, like non-verbal autistic children develop language skills, decrease frustration and finally and most importantly, increase socialisation and participation.
In mid 2014, Insight introduced AAC tool based on mobile devices, to Sherin Mary Zacharia,, the 12-year-old autistic child from Kochi. Improvement in her quality of life is a testimony to the positive changes that AAC can bring in the life a cognitively-challenged person. Affected by Pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified (PDDNOS), a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum, Sherin hardly speaks three sentences a day. She started writing at an early age of four and later was introduced to communication boards with minimal options like food, water, toilet etc. Then she started picking up writing in limited way. In case of emergency she writes with her fingers on her mothers hand. But all these provided only limited scope to express herself.
Nowadays with a tablet and AAC software, she communicates more easily and frequently through the device and successfully communicates what is in her mind. “It helps her reply to a large set of questions, using a limited set of words; a very happy Sherin now tries to communicate a lot now ,” testifies her mother, Sangeetha. Ability to communicate better, improved her engagement with world around her and there by making her life pleasant and richer. In fact she speaks more now.
Insight has been exploring possibility of equipping non-verbal autistic children with, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). As the name indicates, AAC is a form of communication that enhances or replaces speech. It helps those with serious speech impairments develop language skills, decrease frustration and finally and most importantly, increase socialisation and participation. It not merely helps them reply to the questions posed to them, but even equip them to initiate a communication, thus increasing participation in social activities.
AAC aid can be accessed using computer or mobile phone, thus making its use more convenient even during travels. Symbols are integral part of an AAC device and they represent objects, actions and concepts which in turn help user convey his message. AAC symbols can be graphic, auditory or textural according to the needs and ability of the user. Depending on the user’s needs and learning symbols can be increased or decreased.
If you are interested in knowing more about AAC software let us know
During the month of September 2014, two workshops for the teachers in the field of special education was conducted. The first programme was conducted at Rotary Institute for Children in Need Of Special Care, Vazhuthacaud, Trivandrum. 12 teachers were introduced to the new pedagogy of teaching children with special needs.
The second programme which was conducted at Mridula Sparsham, Tripunithura showed new dimensions in teaching special children with the free software. 8 teachers and one parent participated in the programme.
The two programmes have facilitated to prove that technology can be used more effectively to teach children with special needs.
A Sensory room is launched under Insight project of SPACE in Trivandrum. The room is setup with financial support from SBI Life. Room contain sensory equipments to stimulate visual, audio, and tactile senses.
Sensory rooms are special area with sensory stimulating equipment. The room is used for various sensory integration therapies. Room will contain electronic and non-electronic devices and toys that can provide various stimulations to children. This include, visual, auditory, tactile, motion and olfactory sensations. Sensory Integration Therapies are essential for children with Autism and
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Facility is free for the public. Children in need are provide 30 to 45 minute sessions. For those who would like to make use of the facility can call +91 471 2318997.
October being ADHD awareness month, an awareness programme was organised on the 28th of this month. Dr. Anil Kumar and Dr. Dinesh of Child Psychiatry of Trivandrum Medical College graced the occasion by their presence. Dr. Anil Kumar, the Guest speaker, apprised the parents about ADHD, its features, different forms of manifestations, its management, medication etc through video. Nearly 20 parents got the rare opportunity to listen to such a dedicated and experienced speaker.
Posters on ADHD were printed to spread awareness about ADHD and its characteristics. It was a purple week for the Centre from 13th to 19th to partake in the ADHD awareness programme.
Child Psychiatry update is a regular programme conducted every month by the Psychiatry Department of Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram. Doctors, Medical students, other para medical professionals and students and parents of children treated in their department are updated on the latest news and developments in this field through this programme.
On September 30th, 2013, SPACE was given the opportunity to put across their effort in training the differently abled children through Information and communication technology. The comprehensive and novel programme done at SPACE for the overall development of a differently abled child in the areas such as academic performance, cognitive skills, speech, sensory stimulation, motor and cognitive skills through therapeutic exercises and behaviour modification was presented during the programme and it was followed by a demonstration of therapeutic games using technology as a part of occupational therapy. These therapeutic games are helpful in the development of gross motor skills and cognitive skills through playful and interactive way.
Feedback and suggestions from the distinguished members present there were welcomed and a discussion on the new activities that is being carried out at SPACE was also dicussed. This was followed by the launching of evaluation tool for autism both in English and Malayalam.