During a field visit to a small village in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, Project IDI field workers met 8 year old Abhishek. After conducting a brief screening, the field workers referred Abhishek to Dr. Shroff Charity Eye Hospital in Vrindavan, for a full vision and functional skills assessment.
At the Shroff Eye Hospital, Abhishek was seen by vision specialists and educators working with Project IDI and was diagnosed with a vision impairment and multiple disabilities (MDVI). His family was counselled about his diagnosis and given hope that with therapy and educational interventions Abhishek would be able to learn many new concepts and skills, and may even be able to go to school someday. His parents were so happy and relieved to understand the positive outcomes that were possible for their son. He was immediately enrolled in Project IDI to receive intervention services at the Early Intervention Center at the Shroff Eye Hospital.
But to the Project IDI project staff’s surprise, Abhishek stopped attending the intervention sessions after just one week. The community-based rehabilitation (CBR) team reached out to his family and learned that it was a challenge to bring Abhishek to the centre for intervention services because of his developmental and mobility challenges. To complicate things even more, his father works long hours in the field and his mother runs a roadside snack stall taking up most of their energy and time. So, although they believed the intervention sessions would benefit Abhishek, they could not manage to get him to the centre for weekly sessions.
To meet the needs of Abhishek and his family the Project IDI team wasted no time in initiating weekly intervention sessions at Abhishek’s home. The team developed a short term intervention plan for him based on his functional assessment. As a part of the plan, the team designed learning activities that could be done at home. They demonstrated the activities to the family so they can carry on with Abhishek using materials easily found at home. The CBR workers follow up every week with the family to provide guidance and to check his progress.
The Project IDI team was thrilled to see Abhishek learning and using new skills after only three intervention sessions. The team is already preparing new lessons for him and looking forward to their next visit so that they can introduce new activities and show the family how to best support him.
Abhishek’s family is extremely happy and very excited about this progress. They are following the instructions shared by the team and are seeing improvements in him already. Abhishek’s father happily reported, “He is now making efforts to stand when we prompt him. He has now started paying attention to people by moving towards them other than those from our family. He never did such before.”
Through Project IDI, Perkins India and Shroff Eye Hospital aim to reach families of children like Abhishek who are in need of support and guidance. These families are empowered by the potential of their child with multiple disabilities to learn, grow, communicate and engage meaningfully in their communities.