In order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, the Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community. Vibha also strongly believes in the importance of increasing awareness about Autism and highlighting our projects which are striving to help children with autism. That is why we are also observing April as Autism Awareness Month.
Since June 2005, Vibha has been funding the Chiguru preschool program. This is a program designed to enrich the rural community through early education, early identification of developmental disabilities and early intervention. About 36 infants and preschoolers, ages 2-5, in the villages surrounding Jettipalya attend this free program. Chiguru has two goals -first, to act as a high quality head start program for rural children; second, to develop a model for inclusive education where developmentally normal and delayed children learn together.
Chiguru’s curriculum, defined by UNICEF, builds language, cognitive, socio-emotional and physical motor skills. Integral to the curriculum is teaching the children good health and hygiene practices. The children are in school 9 AM to 2 PM and are provided transportation to the school from the villages, as well as breakfast and lunch. The meals address nutritional deficiencies the children face at home.
Shoba, a 5 year-old girl with Down Syndrome. Her teachers describe her as a beautiful, smart girl with a smile on her face. Before Shristi, she attended a school in her village where she was treated badly by her class-mates. Since joining Chiguru, her communication has improved. She can now express her thoughts and needs clearly in Kannada, whereas she could only communicate with a few words and gestures before. She has learnt self-care skills like washing her face and brushing her teeth. Her academic skills have also improved and she can identify objects, recite letters and numbers.
Manoj, a 5 year-old boy and Pavitra, a 3.5 year old-girl, are siblings with congenital heart disease, cerebral palsy and delayed development. Both the children receive physiotherapy, occupational therapy and stimulation along with nutrition and medical aid as needed. Manoj is now able to walk a few steps independently and has improved his fine-motor, cognition, self-care and social skills. Pavitra, has achieved independent sitting and neck control and is able to grasp objects, more aware of the environment and is making attempts to explore and play with objects. Their mother, who is their primary care-giver has been trained to handle their toileting, eating and self-care needs and is coping better with the challenge of raising two children with disabilities.
Vibha is able to support projects like Shristi only because of the generous contributions of our patrons. You can make a donation to Vibha here.