Updated: Aug 11
A report by Aman Batish, Co-founder Manas Mitra
The 3rd caregivers’ meet-cum-Half-day-workshop for parents/caregivers of children with special needs was organised by Manas Mitra on Saturday, 5 August 2023 at Amar Jyoti Special School, Karnal. The event was attended by parents of students of this school along with parents & representatives/members of other NGOs working in Karnal in this domain.
This workshop was conducted in fulfilment of our promise made in the pervious workshop that the queries of parents shall be addressed next time. Accordingly, the main objectives of the event were:
Providing information and solutions to parents interested in attending recognised courses and training for better care of their wards/ dependents
Providing professional guidance and tips related to specific special needs of children like speech therapy & dealing with behavioural issues
Sharing information about Manas Mitra’s vision and the projects being undertaken/proposed by Manas Mitra with different organisations/institutions, exploring possibility of collaborations between them
Accordingly, four sessions were planned for the event:
‘Courses & Training opportunities for Parents’ by Sh. Rashid Jamal (Course-coordinator/Special Educator, Kalyanam Karoti Institute for Professional Education & Rehabilitation, Mathura)
‘Manas Mitra-Working for Caregivers of persons with mental disorders’ by Sh. Dhananjay Kumar (Co-founder Manas Mitra)
‘Parenting of children with special needs -Challenges & Solutions’ by Sh. Shantanu Vats (Head of Speech Therapy Department, Wellbeing Research & Rehabilitation Centre, Ghaziabad)
Informal interaction on ‘a project proposed by Manas Mitra for parents/caregivers in Karnal’ by Sh. Aman Batish (Co-founder Manas Mitra)
The workshop received a very enthusiastic response and many more parents/caregivers attended than were expected. Sh. Dinesh Munjal (Chairman Nirmal Jot Divyang Charitable Trust) along with his associate Mr. Bhatnagar and Sh. Anil Bandhu Jain (Ex-President Karn Mandbudhi Vikas Samiti) also attended the program.
In the first session parents were provided information about the various Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) approved courses for providing education and care to children with special needs. However, the resource person Sh. Rashid Jamal also pointed out that these courses were mostly not designed for parents/caregivers but for special educators and were not very meaningful for the specific caregiving needs of parents. Many of these courses are time-intensive and also have some pre-qualifications/ eligibility criteria. He recommended conducting customised short duration training workshops as a more workable solution and assured of assistance in his personal capacity and also from his parent organisation, Kalyanam Karoti, Mahura in this regard.
In the second session parents were provided information about Manas Mitra’s vision and objectives, including strategies and solutions proposed for resolving the issues faced by parents/caregivers of children with special needs and persons with mental disorders in general. This session by Sh. Dhananjay Kumar was attended with great interest as many new parents were attending such a workshop for the first time and it also served as a refresher for those who had attended the previous workshop.
The third session by Sh. Shantanu Vats was an interactive one. The resource person discussed specific issues faced by parents/caregivers of children of different age groups along with useful tips on how to deal with them. This included exercises for speech, tips and strategies for calming down children, identifying causes of anxiety and behavioural issues in children and improving their social skills.
Next, in an informal session, Sh. Aman Batish discussed a proposal for an ‘Assisted Living Community’ based project for Parents/caregivers in Karnal in accordance with the vision of Manas Mitra. Many parents took interest in the project as it could help resolve many issues and problems related with providing care to persons with mental disorders with mutual help.
The representatives of two organisations also discussed ways to work together and collaborate on the Karnal based project mentioned above.
The event ended with a Vote of thanks by Sister Principal, Amar Jyoti Special School, Karnal, followed by lunch along with informal discussions between parents and resource persons.
The parents expressed happiness about many of their concerns getting addressed during the sessions and one-to-one discussions. It was a fruitful event meeting its objectives and has even led to follow-up calls and enquiries from several parents.
Further actionable points for Manas Mitra
Coordinating and arranging for a customised training workshop on occupational therapy/speech therapy training etc.for parents/caregivers in collaboration with other NGOs like Kalyanam Karoti, Mathura/ Wellbeing, Ghaziabad.
Planning for an ‘Assisted Living Community’ based project at Karnal in collaboration with local organisations/parents for presentation to the Government/Corporate donors for help/funding.