Parents of Dyslexic Child Start Special School in Kerala

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Travancore National School is Thiruvananthapuram's only school for dyslexic children.


Thiruvananthapuram:  Eight-year-old Tejas loves music but suffers from dyslexia, a learning disability. Even as his mother Sandhya smiled and encouraged him, she struggled to even get the right diagnosis a few years back. Her husband, Prajith did not accept that his son needed special attention for years, until he watched the film 'Taare Zameen Par', one that focuses on a dyslexic child struggling against the tide of peer pressure.

However, unfortunately even as they accepted the harsh reality, Prajith and Sandhya could not find a school where Tejas could get special attention and the right teaching techniques needed for dyslexic children - a school where he would not be forced to compete with mainstream students.

It was then that they decided to start Travancore National School, Thiruvananthapuram's only school for children like Tejas.

"Parents mostly are not willing to accept and take their children to special schools, because of the fear of being cornered... their status. Parents need to accept and kids need to be told. Until we accept how can we get help?" asks Sandhya.

Joining them in this endeavor are teachers who trained themselves from Madras Dyslexic Association.

As the teaching goes on, it becomes quite clear that even in a small class of five, almost all students have different needs. While one child substitutes the words she reads for the one she thinks, another child reads unusually fast and a third finds it difficult to bring words together.  The teachers try all techniques to overcome the challenges of children with relentless persistence.

The results are evident from their responses.

Aditya, a district-level Karate champion could read just 3-letter words a few months back but now manages more complex ones. 14-year-old Ganga with a gentle smile says, "I like friends here and the fact that there are less students in a class."

Preetha Ayyappan, an instructors at the school, explains, "These kids need patience, all have different needs, some have visual strengths, others auditory."

"But most would have been back-benchers in a regular school. Now, I am confident they will become something in life. They understand everything and are learning life skills," she added.  



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