Association for the Welfare of Persons with a Mental Handicap – AWMH

Partner From
04/01/2017 - On Going

https://www.awmh.org/


Supported by: Wipro Cares

AWMH, Maharashtra

About the organization

AWMH Maharashtra provides early intervention and pre-schooling services for economically poor children with disabilities in Mumbai. Our mission is to transform children and adults with disabilities to become purposeful members of the community and live life with basic human dignity. The objective is to enable children with delayed milestones or developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential and get enrolled for education and training. With the above objective, we operate five early intervention and pre-schooling centers in Mumbai that are easily accessible to families living in the slums.

Early intervention services give specialized support to children and families in the early years, from birth to six years of age. This support includes: Special education; Occupational therapy; Physiotherapy; Speech therapy; Parent counselling; Training parents for home-bound programs

All the activities and programs are aimed at promoting a child’s development. Any intervention selected for a child is family-centered, developmentally appropriate, child-focused, supportive, and structured. We strive to provide the best and most advanced support to children for their overall development toward inclusive and independent living. We follow a trans-disciplinary approach to enable families to get one-stop services. Our trans-disciplinary team is characterized by the commitment of its members to teach, learn, and work together to implement coordinated services.

 

Types of disabilities identified in all EIRP centers during 2022-23

 Type of disability  Boys Girls Total
Cerebral palsy 48 13 61
Global developmental delay 12 6 18
Autism spectrum disorder 72 16 88
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 1 0 1
Learning difficulty 4 2 6
Down syndrome 6 5 11
Multiple disorders (hydrocephaly, microcephaly, seizures, sensory processing disorder, cleft palate) 7 2 9
Total 150 44 194

 

Program updates

The status of Early Intervention Centres supported by WIPRO Cares is as follows.

Regular therapy and special education services: An average of 75 children at Mulund & Dombivli centers, supported by WIPRO cares in Mumbai, are receiving regular services in the form of occupational therapy, speech therapy, group therapy, experiential education training, behavior modification, and counselling. Parents are also trained simultaneously so that home-bound programs are effectively carried out when they are unable to bring the child to the center.  At the end of the session, parents are encouraged to stay back and carry out therapeutic interventions that they have learned under the watchful eye of the professionals. Thus, the child gets enhanced service, and the mother gets full value for her time. Many of them have to forego wages for the day but are satisfied with the use of their time.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and art-based therapy: We have speech and Augmented and Alternate Communication devices and boards in both Mulund and Dombivli centers, which are being used very effectively. Further, the Art based therapy, including music, dance, and painting, is now being practiced in all centers. All teachers and therapists have completed workshops on music therapy and are currently undergoing on-the-job training on other components of art therapy.

Training of parents and community volunteers: Special emphasis is laid on training at least one parent and/or sibling from each family. In addition, we also encourage volunteers from the neighborhood and community to be involved with families and get trained on early intervention. Such volunteers are proving to be guides for many children with developmental disabilities. A total of 190 parents and volunteers have been trained during the year.

Training of Anganwadi Sevikas—a new initiative: AWMH collaborated with TISS, Mumbai to conduct a training and awareness camp for Anganwadi Sevika workers and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) staff. This training program happened on 18 and 19 October 2022. A Total of 163 Sevikas gathered along with the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO), Mr Sharad Kurhade of Mankhurd block. Dr Shital Fulzele and Dr Shrutika Patil had sessions on introduction to early intervention, the Importance of early intervention, and signs of early identification of disabilities. The session was followed by the preschool needs of children with special needs and a discussion on case studies and success stories.

Parents’ meeting and training: AWMH conducted four parent meetings during the year to understand the parents’ perspectives and get feedback on ongoing sessions. At the request of Parents for training them on different therapies AWMH conducted three sessions on speech therapy for parents and two sessions by an occupational therapist. A special session for parents with children with specific learning disabilities was conducted on Zoom with the necessary specialists.

Provision of orthotics: In 2022-23, children received orthotics and hearing aids from Vatsalya Trust, Kanjurmarg through the intervention of AWMH. A total of 19 children were provided with orthotics and 2 hearing aids. One CP child was assisted with the arrangement of full expenditure for the complex operation of the right-foot tandem.

 

Plan of action

Regular quarterly meetings were held with Ms. Saranya and Mr. Krunal from Wipro Cares where progress and status in the quarter were discussed and the plan for the next quarter was finalized. These sessions added much value to our work and perspective toward inclusive education.