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The Spastics Society of India

 

How we Began

The Spastics Society of India was founded in 1972 at a time when very little was known about the complicated disorder of cerebral palsy. Initially it provided education and treatment services gradually broadening its scope to teacher training, vocational training of young adults, advocacy and awareness, support for parents and other professionals.

Today, it is one of the foremost organisations in the medical and social field working for children with developmental disorders. It has facilities for identification, assessment, education and treatment. It has early infant clinics where babies at high risk are assessed; it runs schools providing a holistic program combining education and treatment under one roof.

Other Spastics Societies were set-up based on this model. Each of the Societies is today independent and well known for their innovative work for disabled people. This paradigm has now been replicated in 16 of the 31 states. However all this has been on a micro level.

Research: A Macro View

A Government of India survey found that a staggering 98% of persons with disability were outside the ambit of services, Dr. Mithu Alur, Founder of the Spastics Society of India, investigated Government of India's ICDS policy which excluded disabled children from their programmes in her doctoral research entitled Invisible Children: A Study of Policy Exclusion. The research found that various factors have led to children with disabilities being left out of existing programmes. This has also led to marginalisation of people with disabilities 90% of disabled people are out of any service, specially in the rural areas. The Spastics Society of India began its second journey... the journey of inclusion.

The National Resource Centre for Inclusion

Following the findings of this doctoral research the Society moved away from segregated education to inclusive education. It strongly felt that education of children with disabilities must become the State responsibility. Disabled adults and families who have suffered from being marginalized for years must be brought to the forefront and rightfully take their place in the country as citizens. The aim is to construct an inclusive community where all children, who face barriers to learning due to social disadvantages, gender or disability are included.

The National Resource Centre   for   Inclusion (NRCI) was   created   at Mumbai    in    1999    to address these issues on a   macro-micro level. A Charter was develop.    The admission policy was changed to address all children with disability as well as other children facing barriers to learning. Some of the services and projects are:

Pedagogy: Teacher Training Course

Courses have been reviewed and the philosophy of inclusion is a part of the revised curriculum in all the courses.

Community Initiatives in Inclusive Education (CIIE)

A three month certificate course which aims to prepare Master Trainers, and Management personnel to run, plan and train others in the Asia Pacific region has started.

All India Regional Alliance for Inclusion Education (AIRA)

An All India Regional Alliance has been formed of organizations around the country to move towards inclusion in each of the regions.

Inclusive Education Practice in Early Childhood in Mumbai, India

Inclusive Education Practice In Early Childhood in Mumbai, India is a collaborative effort of The Spastics Society of India, Mumbai, and UNICEF supported by The Canadian International Development Agency. It is an action research study based in the socially disadvantaged areas of Mumbai, India. The study addressed the acute marginalization of children with disabilities and their isolation from their communities and society.

Able Disabled All People Together (ADAPT)

On the national level a disabled activist group or the Rights Group has been formed. This is called ADAPT. ADAPT stands for Able Disabled All People together. Many barriers exist that limit people with disability from being active participants in every day life. Their basic human rights denied, invisibility in public policy, negative attitudes, inaccessible facilities and transportation systems. Through its activities ADAPT will attempt to address these barriers:

Objectives of ADAPT

    Raise awareness on disability issues.

    Advocate and lobby on issues and concerns of people with a disability

    Provide a forum for sharing information and resources

    Organise seminars, workshops, social events.

   Network with individuals and other similar organizations to achieve common goals.

Attitudes & Awareness

Attitudes of society towards people with disability has its roots in religion, myths, prejudice and ignorance. Adapt endeavours to bring about changes in attitudes through dissemination of information regarding various disabilities through print and electronic media and by organizing appropriate events.

Inaccessible Facilities And Transportation Systems

A major barrier faced by persons with disability is inaccessible transport system and public places like cinema halls, restaurants, public exhibitions, shopping centres etc. An ongoing project of ADAPT is to survey various public places, hi addition to this authorities are being approached to modify them by adding ramps or elevators whereever needed. Newspaper interviews and articles are used to create awareness among people. It has recently ensured access to various public places like the Bombay High Court, IMAX Cinema Hall, Globus, Shopping Centre, etc. The main aim of ADAPT is to move the organisation from a service delivery one to rights and entitlements, hi keeping with the new model of disability emerging around the world the slogan of ADAPT is: ‘Nothing For The Disabled Without The Disabled.’

Narika Shakti

Narika Shakti is a new service which seeks to open up opportunities for employment and income for women who were earlier in Mahila Mandals. The aim of Narika Shakti is to provide empowerment of women in slum communities, by harnessing their collective strengths, channeling these strengths into income generating work.

Narika Shakti aims to sell the products produced by the women, reinvest the income generated into production material and overhead costs, and have the women share all profits generated.

The National Resource Centre for Inclusion
The Spastics Society of India

Bandra Reclamation
K.C. Marg
Bandra (West)
Mumbai 400 050 (India)
Tel: 2644 3666/ 2644 3688/ 2643 0703/ 26430704
Email: mithulaur@hotmail.com
Website: www.nrcissi.org