“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but, when I became a man I put away childish things.”
They are not abnormal, but, are beyond being normal because they are special and that’s what sets them proudly apart from others their age. These are the children suffering from a disorder coined as ‘Autism’ by experts. Autism, a condition, primarily associated with lack of social interaction, communication and play.
Although, unlike a few years back, today there are numerous institutions catering to autistic children, only a few of them have been able to highlight and maintain the thin distinguishing line between abnormality and autism. One such school which has been constantly directing its efforts towards the grooming up of these special children is the ‘Tiny Tots School of Nagpur‘. Set amongst wide area of greenery, the school was started way back in the year 1978, in Dhantoli area of Nagpur and is known to many as the first of its kind to cater to 2 and a half year old kids. However, what most of us don’t know is the magnificent work this school is doing through the combined efforts of the teachers and students alike in providing these autistic children with the kind of life they truly deserve to lead.
“All that they ever ask for is our love and affection and that’s exactly what we, through our efforts at Tiny Tots School, have always tried to give them”, says David madam, the proud principal of this school and a strong believer of God, the Supreme. She proudly accepts that there was a time when she too, just like several others, was resistant towards admitting these autistic children into her school, with the sole reason that they might disturb the other children in their class with their weird abnormal behavior. However, today she feels happy that through God’s grace she has been provided with this opportunity to contribute her part in whichever way she can, to help these children gain acceptance in our so called ‘normal’ society.
David madam, being a highly religious person herself, has always tried to maintain her student’s faith in God besides teaching them to behave like good human beings. “I have always maintained that there is a special way of handling each child and that is what I expect from my teachers”, she explains. Through regular counseling sessions by David madam, the teachers are provided training about innovative teaching habits that can help to increase the span of attention of these children since most of them are quite hyperactive. Not only this, these children are repeatedly taught about table manners, cleanliness habits, toilet habits and social etiquettes, that are must to be learned by any growing child. The basic idea behind teaching these children all these things is to make them independent so that they can lead a carefree and respectable life just like any other person.
Birthdays are a special day in the school campus, especially for the autistic children. David madam personally takes it upon herself to see that the day can be made into a memorable day for these kids and as goes the saying, “children are after all children”, the other children play their part by presenting handmade birthday cards for their special classmates. The children of this school are specially to be credited as they are actually the ones who have always welcomed their special classmates with open arms.
David madam truly wishes that through her efforts she can inspire many more schools to accept these autistic children as being one among the normal bunch of students and wipe out this misconception that they are abnormal. Today there are about 10 girls and boys studying successfully under the cared wings of Tiny Tots School. Most of the students of this school may still have difficulty introducing themselves to others but, have surely been introduced to a world they truly deserve through the distinguished and selfless efforts of Tiny Tots School.