In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and changes around lifestyle and social interactions, the Vadodara District Collectorate is creating a platform to bring together institutions working for children with special needs, from destitute families and orphans. The same is being done to channelize education and create a list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for those associated with care giving for such children in times of the lockdown.
The team, under the District Social Defense Department, will bring together individual NGOs and institutions working for children to an interactive platform that will enable the latter’s parents to deal with the situation at hand better.
District Collector Shalini Agarwal told this newspaper, “We will be materializing the project within two days. We are preparing SOPs for parents, guardians and children who are physically challenged, destitute or orphans. We are creating a platform of about 100 such institutions that will be able to give online training. Many people have taken to the online route, but not everyone has a streamlined process. Many children, who were living in institutions, have now gone back home and their parents do not know what to do. Similarly, those children who are still living in institutions also need a different set of SOPs.”
Two video tutorials created have already been made available on social media platforms of the Social Defense Department. One video by Akshar Trust, that works with hearing and visually impaired children, shows a lady instructor speaking about Covid-19 in Gujarati as well as sign language. Another video shows a lady instructor explaining an activity of tracing shapes and patterns on paper. Agarwal said that the projects will include joint activities for parents and children.
“For the next few months during this outbreak, the focus is going to be on online learning as it appears unlikely that institutions might open. We have to be prepared and take into consideration the different needs of special children. For instance, the deaf and mute have needs that are different from the visually impaired. Different institutes have made different modules. So, we have asked them to share their notes and make it a common platform that everyone can use,” Agarwal said.
The idea, she said, is to empower parents who may not be aware about the activities that can keep children with special needs engaged. “This platform will empower them and pave the way for online learning. We are also readying a list of SOPs for institutions where the children are still there. The staff of such institutions also need to be sensitised about the changing delivery of their needs and how they should go about it in times of Covid-19,” Agarwal said.
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