At 6 years old, Sakshi is cheerful and active, and loves to play with water. Her teacher incorporates water playfully into their home-based sessions, as she learns critical concepts like wet and dry, big and small.
Sakshi was born with both vision and hearing challenges — or deafblindness. With these challenges, her parents were never certain how to support her learning. They loved their daughter very much and took her out to family functions, but had no idea how to help her learn.
For four years, her family had no access to intervention services, and were simply at a loss as to how she would learn. During this time, Sakshi had limited exposure to new people and objects. She was hesitant to interact with anyone outside her family, and did not like to touch unfamiliar objects or textures.
Without full use of vision or hearing, it is crucial that a child with deafblindness rely on the use of touch to gain information about their surroundings. However, with no one to guide her to develop the skills to explore through touch, Sakshi had missed out on key opportunities to learn through touch at a young age.
When she was four years old, the Perkins India project team at Jayati Bharatam canvassed Shakshi’s village in Sitapur during a door-to-door screening and immediately recognized her need for intervention.
First, they helped her obtain an Aadhaar card (identity card) and disability certificate, which will allow her family to access government schemes. Secondly, the team enrolled her in home-based intervention services.
At first, Sakshi didn’t like interacting with her new teacher…but they wouldn’t let that deter them. By working with Sakshi’s family, we learned all about her likes and dislikes, and came to know that she loves water!
Gradually, her teacher started integrating water into their sessions, planning fun activities that use water. This playful introduction of water encouraged Sakshi to explore all sorts of new toys and objects. Now she is comfortable exploring new objects all on her own to learn about her surroundings.
With this newfound skill of exploring by touch, a new world of concepts is opening up for Sakshi — concepts such as smooth and rough — which will build a key foundation for her continued learning in years to come.
Ever since Sakshi has started receiving intervention we have seen good development in her. She is learning new things with her teacher.Sakshi’s mother
As Sakshi has slowly opened up to learning through touch, she has also opened up to developing new relationships. Today she enjoys interacting with her teacher. She has also started attending the Perkins India-supported Community Intervention Centre, where she enjoys interacting with friends.
Sakshi’s parents are relieved and proud to see how far she has come. Her mother says, “Ever since Sakshi has started receiving intervention we have seen good development in her. She is learning new things with her teacher and has started interacting with different people. We are so happy she can learn.”