When the other children were leaving their footwear scattered outside a relative’s house, four and a half year-old Minisha calmly took off her shoes, carried them to a shoe rack and placed it there before entering the house.
The simple act of discipline caught the eye of all those present who were full of praise for the child who is on the autism spectrum.
“I’m not sure what magic you people have in this school, but I’m so happy my daughter has come so far since she started at Taraana,” her father S. Ragulkannan said as he related the story during the Taarana Family Day.
Giving full credit to the teachers of Taarana for bringing out the best in his daughter, Ragulkannan said Minisha’s education journey was rocky in the beginning.
“We tried several schools but they were not able to reach out to her or help her. In fact, going to school was a trigger for a massive meltdown that was very difficult for us to handle,” he said.
Eventually, her parents enrolled Minisha in Taarana school for children with special needs.
“Within a month, we could see changes. She looks forward to school now and she applies the skills she learns at school at home where she helps her mother with cutting vegetables for dinner and sorting the laundry. We were amazed how happy and independent she became after enrolling in Taarana,” he added.
Ragulkannan was among the parents who shared heartwarming stories of the progress their children made in Taarana. The Family Day is an occasion for teachers and parents to come together and celebrate the progress and achievement made by these wonderful uniquely abled children who have found a home in Taarana.
Taarana’s principal K. Sivamalar said it was important to establish routine with differently-abled children to help them with daily chores.
“As part of taking care of yourself and your belonging, we have placed a rack with colourful pigeon holes. The children will find one that is suitable according to their height and place the shoes before entering the class. They observe this daily and it helps to form into a routine,” she said.
She said chores like emptying the plate into the bin after a meal and washing their forks and spoons are also part of the practices in the school to help the children be independent.
She said apart from the morning classes, the children enjoy getting their hands dirty, playing with playdough and Lego toys after lunch.
“Sometimes, they mix the colours of the doughs when playing but they know that before they go home, they must put them back in the right container and clear any mess they create. The teachers will ensure the children are given the time and space to clean up after the activities,” she added.
Sivamalar said once a week, the children are taken to the school’s aquaponics garden where they will tend to the vegetables the children themselves had planted. The garden was set up in June this year, with the aim to provide children with autism a unique form of therapy.
She said activities such as digging, weeding and watering can develop gross motor skills, while manipulating small seeds and transplanting young plants can enhance fine motor development.
Datin Sri Umayal Eswaran who was present at the Family Day said it was an emotional occasion as she interacted with the kids and parents and shared in their joy as they spoke about their child’s progress and achievements.