Chaman’s story: From fear to focus

An estimated 1 million children in India have multiple disabilities and visual impairments. Here's one of their stories.

A older women holds a young boy while sitting on the ground.

Chaman, a toddler from a village in Mathura, India, used to be afraid of the dark, seeing new people and going to public places.

Unable to hold objects, crawl or walk, Chaman received clinical and functional assessments that revealed a significant vision impairment and motor delays, leading to his immediate enrollment at Shroff Eye Hospital’s Early Intervention Centre.

There, Chaman works with a Perkins-trained team of teachers and rehabilitators.

“We first had to build rapport and bond with him before starting to teach any skills, and this took us longer than usual,” said Amrita Sharma, one of Chaman’s teachers. “We worked constantly with Chaman for five weeks, but with no success.”

Progress over time

Chaman cried through every lesson. Drawing on their Perkins training, his team decided to try a new approach. They moved his lessons to a more comfortable environment – his home. That made all the difference.

“We were losing hope, but Perkins encouraged us to be persistent,” said Kapil Chaudhary, who helps Chaman with rehabilitation. “We made changes in our strategies and activities. And Chaman started to respond.”

Like other children with vision impairment and other disabilities, with time, Chaman began to explore new things.

His team of teachers introduced new games, flashlights and bright objects. And Chaman began to accept his expanding world, using his residual vision and his fingers to reach and grasp objects — a significant milestone in his development.

“Perkins made us realize that no task is impossible; we should not lose patience,” said Chaudhary.

Small steps mean everything

Today, Chaman is learning to feed himself and can hold pieces of chapati bread with his hands.

For children like Chaman, these small steps mean everything.

In India, our team is working to reach the 1 million children with visual impairments and additional disabilities like Chaman. We work with local partners there and around the world to identify kids who are invisible and unknown to local school systems. We connect these children to learning, health care and resources they need to thrive and reach their full potential. Our donors make this work happen — for Chaman and for children around the world.

Meet Chaman and the Perkins teachers who helped him at Perkins India.