Chaman is a toddler who lives with his family in a village in Mathura district. He was identified as a child who was at-risk for multiple disabilities and vision impairment (MDVI) during door-to-door screening by community-based rehabilitation (CBR) workers from Perkins India’s Project IDI based at Shroff Eye Hospital, Vrindavan. Clinical and functional assessments at Shroff Eye Hospital revealed a significant vision impairment and motor delays. He was immediately enrolled in the Early Intervention Centre to address his developmental delays and to improve his residual vision so that he could meet his developmental milestones.
The Project IDI team started working with Chaman at the Early Intervention Centre. While his parents and the teachers were excited to get started with his intervention, Chaman clearly was not. He cried and would not interact with any of the teachers, overwhelmed by so many new people, toys and spaces. The IDI team knew immediately what they needed to do. They decided to start visiting Chaman at home, an environment that was known and comfortable to him.
Even at home, it took several sessions for Chaman to warm up to Amrita Sharma, a special educator, and the rest of the intervention team. But eventually he did. Sharma shared, “We first had to build rapport and bond with him before starting to teach any skill and this took us longer than usual… We still continued our efforts in different ways and after about 10 weeks, he began to accept us and started cooperating in the sessions.”
The team played fun games to get Chaman to use his vision more. They introduced him to bright objects and toys and encouraged him to reach and grasp for things to build his motor skills. The IDI team is also teaching his family how to support his development at home.
Chaman’s progress is a matter of great enthusiasm for the Project IDI Team. They are happy and proud that they have built such a trusting relationship with him and his family and that he is learning new things every day. Kapil Chaudhary, a CBR worker on the IDI Team, said, “Now Chaman’s coordination of eyes and hands have significantly improved. He has now started to hold objects with the help of his fingers and stand on his feet too with support. This made us realize that no task is impossible – we should not lose patience when given any task. Success comes only after failure.”
Chaman’s grandmother may be the proudest of all. She tells her friends, with great pleasure, that her grandchild is now learning new things everyday. He is holding pieces of chapati (bread) and biscuit, and can drink his milk by himself. With excitement, she describes how he is running around the home and accompanying her to the store for the first time.
While these steps may seem small, for children like Chaman, they are big steps toward learning. The Perkins Project IDI team will continue to support Chaman’s development and learning to prepare him for school and a bright future.