Children range in age from 6 to 16. We discourage new admissions after 12, although exceptions may be made in the case of transfers or children who have been well educated at home. All our students have cognitive developmental delay; 60% have physical disabilities as well.
On the first visit to the school, we register the child and take basic information concerning her and her family. We then fix an appointment – usually within a week or two – for the child to be seen by an interdisciplinary team which conducts the initial assessment. Medical issues are handled at the Gubbara on Wednesday afternoons. If further assessments and investigations are required, we arrange these. After assessment, we either admit the child to school immediately or put her on the waiting list.
Once admitted to the school, the child is placed in the appropriate group, depending upon her age and abilities. There, her teacher, in consultation with the principal, doctor and therapists, designs an Individual Development Program (IDP) which sets goals for the coming weeks or months based on the child’s needs and abilities.
Children attend school every day from 8:30 to 1:15. We provide transportation where possible, based on need. Our curriculum is activity-based and the outdoors and the kitchen are important classrooms. Gardening and cooking are central endeavors. Children make regular trips to the market, the post office, and to local cultural events. Field trips to the railway station and the bus terminal are also regular features, as is education in the use of local transport.
Our emphasis throughout is on developing the whole child and we place great stress on the understanding of concepts and processes.
We keep written records for every child which are confidential and can only be accessed by our staff. Parents meet with teachers a minimum of twice a year for reviews and are given a file summarizing their child’s strengths, problems, needs and development plan.
We charge fees for assessment and attendance at the centre on a sliding scale, based on family income. The maximum amount charged is 10% of the father’s monthly income. (For example if the monthly income is Rs 3,000 then the fee would be maximum Rs 300)
No family will ever be turned away because they cannot afford to pay.