Tuesday, April 14, 2009

An ocean

It is a terrible thing, cerebral palsy is. Any disorder of the nervous system is heart wrenching, but CP is especially so, because, in more than 95% of the cases, the condition strikes before the age of 3. Unable to articulate desires, wants or even needs, the patient has to be helped through his or her entire life. Since CP primarily affects the motor control centres of the cortex, the rest of the brain is in fine shape, which it makes the condition especially challenging for the care givers.

One of the earliest institutions in the city - if not actually the first - to help children with the condition is Vidya Sagar. In fact, it is not aimed only for the children, but for the parents also; many a time, it is the grown-ups who feel more defeated and despondent. The children know of no such thing as 'giving up'. For them, every day is a celebration of life! The challenge is to make sure the children are able to stand up for themselves and can continue to do that through their life.

Far easier said than done, but the team at Vidya Sagar has just begun their work. Their early proteges are now adults and are coping reasonably well in a society where there are but few opportunities for inclusion. The first twenty-four years have established Vidya Sagar as a key resource in Chennai for children with special needs. The next quarter century will show that Chennai can be truly proud of Vidya Sagar and its students!!

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