Student voices: My day with deaf kids at SKID

My work wasn’t unusual at Sheila Kothavala Institute for the Deaf (SKID), a special school, but it was meaningful to me. I also learnt about graciousness and respect from kindergarten students. Those were bigger things I learnt about.


My work wasn’t unusual at Sheila Kothavala Institute for the Deaf (SKID), a special school, but it was meaningful to me. I also learnt about graciousness and respect from kindergarten students. Those were bigger things I learnt about.

Volunteering with kids from Sheila Kothavala Institute for the Deaf

Darshini is the naughtier of the two, the quieter one. Archana, the only other girl in the class, is an all star. The smart one, the class leader, the teacher’s pet. They’re both similar in many ways. They’re happy kindergarten children. Darshini is two years younger than the rest of her class, and that’s why her teachers intend on keeping her back. So she doesn’t study with the other kids because she can’t cope. She just comes to school because so loves it, and sits in the KG class because there isn’t a class level below it.

Archana is the intelligent one, the one beyond her years. But her class isn’t any standard to compete with for she is placed with differently abled children her age. She’s beautiful, by any standards, and she loves playing. She’s the luckiest one in her class, but she wouldn’t know it if anyone told her. Archana, like all the others in her class, suffers from some degree of deafness that has left her hearing impaired.

Dark glasses hide the blind, or identify them to the world. Deaf children don’t have a precursor to inform others of their plight. Maybe it’s good, it’s one less community that doesn’t get shunned. Or maybe it’s worrisome, because no one really recognizes the help that they need.

If an eye of a newborn baby is blindfolded until the age of say, six months, she loses the ability of sight in that eye. This is because during crucial stages of brain development, if optic neural connections were not formed, they never get formed. So you can have a perfectly good eye. It’s just that you can never use it.

Children learn by watching. They learn to speak by listening. When their hearing is impaired, they lose their ability to speak, only because they never learnt how to.

Although my role in their world that day was small, I learned a lot. I basically helped the slow kids in activities ranging from Pictionary to completing homework. My work wasn’t unusual, but it was meaningful to me.I also learnt about graciousness and respect from kindergarten students. Those were bigger things I learnt about.

I just came back home and suddenly my world and my problems seemed fixable. I was back where I had been all my life. School, friends, studying. Comfort. Security.

Today, I shared a small part of the world that knows how to make the best out of the circumstances given to them, and is exemplary to the rest of the world.

Pic courtesy: Saatvika Rathor

Student Voices is a running weekly section featuring the voices of school students and the world they’d like to imagine, create and  be a part of. 

If you are a school student and would like to contribute to Student Voices, write to us at editor@thealternative.in.

 


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Saatvika Rathor graduated from NPS, Indiranagar in 2013 and is presently studying in Vydehi Institute of Medical Studies. She enjoys helping other people and volunteered regularly throughout high school. She likes to spend her breaks studying, watching a movie or writing. She uses writing to better understand the world. Her favourite authors include Gregory David Roberts and Siddhartha Mukherjee. more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Saatvika Rathor graduated from NPS, Indiranagar in 2013 and is presently studying in Vydehi Institute of Medical Studies. She enjoys helping other people and volunteered regularly throughout high school. She likes to spend her breaks studying, watching a movie or writing. She uses writing to better understand the world. Her favourite authors include Gregory David Roberts and Siddhartha Mukherjee. more

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