“To develop a complete mind, study the science of art, the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
-Leonardo da Vinci
The curriculum of our Monday to Friday program, Uhuru, is designed to enhance the childrens’ skills and achieve therapeutic goals.
Uhuru, which means freedom in Swahili is our Arts Based Therapy program for children with special needs . Art Based Therapy (ABT) is the evidence-based use of multi-art forms that includes music, drama, dance, play, fine arts, imagination and story-telling to accomplish individualised goals within a therapeutic relationship. Arts based therapy enhances development through the deliberate combination and involvement of both the body and the mind. This unique approach holistically addresses the critical dimensions of development namely cognition, behaviour and social skills.
ABT aims at enhancing these basic capacities so that practitioners create for themselves a vocabulary of creative arts-based techniques which they can apply along with assessment, therapeutic objectives and evaluation.
The use of arts and healing forms the bedrock to therapy and learning in this program. A team of ABT Practitioners trained and certified by World Centre for Creative Learning Foundation (WCCLF), Pune, conduct ABT sessions in Uhuru.
Highlights of the Program
Uhuru, focusses on the students’ skills and goals. The curriculum is designed to achieve the therapeutic goals and enhance their skills. They are divided into groups for the one-on-one and group sessions.
The domains and goals worked on for the larger goal are:
- Body – Fine Motor, Gross Motor, Oro- Motor, Physical Agility and Alertness
- Attention – Levels of Attention – Focussed, Sustained, Divided attention
- Cognitive – Auditory Speech Discrimination, Spatial Reasoning, Non-verbal Thinking
- Group interaction – Cooperation, Assertion, Self-control
- Narrative Capability – Vocalization, Basic vocabulary, Descriptive Speech
- Expressive Capability – Self Expression through the Arts
Implementation of the Program
STRUCTURE OF THE DAY
A typical day, at the Direct Care is from 9 to 5. The day starts with the team sitting together for meditation, training, case studies and reflections. Each group follows its own circle time and warm-up routine. The morning sessions included group sessions as well as one on one ABT sessions. At lunch the children and adults eat together. Every child is buddied with an adult or a peer. On any typical day the children are a part of sessions in classrooms as well as outdoor sessions. The day ends with a large group closure with the entire group sitting down for meditation. Besides the activities at the centre, some children have been going for swimming, some to Kid’s Corner school and others to Ishanya during the week. Overnighters are on Friday evenings where some children stay over at each other’s homes till Saturday noon.
A glimpse of some the sessions that the children are exposed to :
There are regular sessions with ABT practitioners who work towards achieving therapeutic goals for the children across domains. The ABT sessions focus on verbal and non-verbal expression, sequencing and forming associations, reciprocal communication and joint attention as well as balance and coordination.
We believe that play is important to a child’s development and learning. It is a central way through which most children express their impulse to explore, experiment and understand. We explored the children’s response to directive and non-directive play settings and its impact on cognitive, social and emotional domains of learning. Some children have been identified and are being exposed to direct interventions using play.
Ishanya offers a technology related (computer, apps, video modeling and other handheld devices) intervention to improve communication i.e. communication related to daily living and communication in different scenarios. Some children from the centre are a part of twice a week sessions at Ishanya.
CLASSROOMS WITHOUT WALLS
We open ourselves to learning beyond the bounds of the center through two programs this year: Excursions and Overnighters
From April onwards we aimed at taking the children for three trips of 3-4 days this year . These excursions could be to a village that is ready with open arms to welcome our children in their midst or it could also be to spaces that promise outdoor experiences in the lap of nature. Each place would epitomise a sense of community and inclusion that organically flows through it.
The first such trip was to Devaraya Samudra. Our children explored the pristine beauty and warm hospitality in untouched corners of our beautiful state, at Devaraya Samudra , a hamlet some 90 km outside of Bangalore between Kolar and Mulbagal in Karnataka, India . A new environment, new people, new space , weather that was hot and evenings when it rained, new trekking experiences on the hilly terrains, food cooked and served in way that we usually don’t eat, a new routine for the day. The most amazing part of this experience was that the children adapted to each one of these changes in patterns effortlessly.
A journey that started with a focus on independence goals, social skills and flexibility of patterns is now taking these objectives a notch higher. Now we are looking at the children to acknowledge their peers at a deeper level, forge closer relationships through, together, sharing not just Snehadhara as a learning space but also each other’s homes.
The idea is for 2/3 children to stay over in each other’s homes on Friday nights and spend Saturday there joined by the team from Snehadhara in the morning. We are hoping that the children will learn to adapt to a diversity of unfamiliar spaces and adopt them organically as time goes on. This adventure will not be possible without the wholehearted support of the parent community. We see it enabling greater contact between the children and parents as well as opening further avenues for our children to explore.