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When 'special' dreams take flight

Considering the fact that ‘charity begins at home’, ICanFlyy launched a regular series of group-counselling sessions and workshops for parents with special needs children

When special dreams   take flight

It is high time that we see the ability cloaked in the disability, look beyond the diagnosis and find the capability. ICanFlyy is doing just that to increase awareness, decrease stigma, and encourage acceptance. And our organisation understands that it all starts, first and foremost, at home. This encouraged us to launch a regular series of group counselling sessions and workshops for parents with special needs children.

One of the most important things for parents to understand about the education curve of their special needs child or adult is that the traditional definition of progress does not apply. Success is not defined in terms of linear academic progression and there is no magic wand with which to complete an academic to do list.

It is important for parents to understand and grow to accept this. To empower, encourage, educate and guide the parents, ICanFlyy holds one-on-one as well as group counselling sessions, and have regular workshops with experts in related fields.

Each special child is unique and learns at his or her own pace. It is essential to understand and accept both their capabilities and limitations, encourage the achievements, and not chastise, but support any setbacks. In special education, the road is one that's not easily travelled, but with perseverance, hope, and love, together we can make a positive difference.

Incorporating our learnings over the past year, we've added new methodologies, techniques and practices.

ICanFlyy has a potpourri of facilities located across five floors of the building designed to make each day a wonderful experience for the students.

Called the Gateway, all prospective students and their parents meet with special educators and the principal for an assessment session in the Assessment Room.

A cosy little room for students to rest in if unwell, the mini-infirmary on the fifth floor known as "Ouch!" has a comfortable bed and a first aid kit.

Named the Satyajit Ray Hall, it is an Audio-Visual Hall where all the hobby classes like singing, dancing, and theatre take place.

Mini Gym, make-up and grooming room, play therapy room, digital education, comfortable classrooms, life skills labs, creativity studio, weaving studio, biometric access, CCTV cameras and safety, bakery, non-fire kitchen, café and retail shop are other available facilities.

PROGRAMMES

ICanFlyy offers three major programmes which meet our students' individualised needs – Twinkling Stars Programme (Early Intervention), Rising Stars Programme (Pre-vocational) and Superstars Programme (Vocational).

Special educators and paraprofessionals use a multi-sensory approach for group and individualised classes, in traditional and non-traditional classroom settings. Whether our students' disabilities are intellectual, emotional, physical, or a combination of multiple challenges, our goal is for them to become as independent as they possibly can. An Individual Educational Plan (IEP) is drawn up for every student and revisited every quarter.

Admissions

Our admission procedure begins with an interview with the parents/guardians, following which special educators conduct an assessment and interact with the student to determine his or her special needs and current developmental status. The next step is the trial phase where students attend ICanFlyy for anywhere between one week to one month.

During this period they are observed by special educators and paraprofessionals. The decision to admit the special needs individual is based on the observations and recommendations mad during the trial.

(Minu Budhia is a Psychotherapist, Counsellor)

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