We have so much fun
as we laugh and learn
Latika School- a school for children with special needs is an innovative centre for activity-based learning. Here children from 7 to 14 years learn to deal with their world independently. They develop academic skills as per their levels and grow into happy and confident youngsters.
Latika School’ Impact
Shefali’s story Shefali was six years old when she was admitted to Karuna Vihar. She was dirty and unkempt on her first day and her mother said that she was completely dependent: she did not understand anything and except for indicating her most basic needs – hunger, using the toilet – she was unable to communicate in any meaningful way. “I don’t know why God has burdened us with a child like this,” she said. Less than a month later, her mother came into the office and spoke to the school director. “Are you giving her drugs?” she asked abruptly. “Injections?” “Of course not!” the director said, horrified. “What gave you that idea?” “She’s not the same girl,” she said quietly. She went on to describe the changes they had observed at home, the keen interest Shefali had begun to take in her surroundings, the increasing efforts made to communicate and, most especially, her eagerness to go to school every morning. On Saturdays and Sundays, she insisted on being taken to the bus stop in spite of being told it was a holiday. One Saturday, returning home disappointed, she slipped away and made her way back to the bus stop herself, just to make doubly sure. “She’s not the same girl,” her mother kept repeating. Although Shefali’s attendance at Karuna Vihar was regular from the start, in the beginning, she was adamant about not participating in any group activities. Nothing would induce her to join the other children in games, story time or singing. She was incapable of sitting still for more than a minute and her social skills were non-existent. She was allowed to set her own pace for integrating into the school routine. As each new activity was initiated with the other children, she was encouraged to join in, but the moment she lost interest, she was allowed to go off where she pleased with a staff member for company. The slightest overture toward the group met with praise and encouragement from the teachers. Over weeks, the loving, accepting environment of the school began to work its magic with Shefali. More and more, she joined in group activities, responded to the teachers’ directions and reacted in a friendly way to the other children. Now, Shefali is a happy, sociable young woman who loves to help around her house in a variety of useful ways. She has learned to wash dishes, chop vegetables, make chapattis and run little errands for her mother. She can dress and feed herself and is able to take her own bath. Her speech is still limited, but she can make herself understood to her family and close friends. Her family now takes an active interest in her well-being.
Shefali is not alone. Other children whose parents had given up hope have come to us and learned to walk, talk and behave appropriately in their families, neighbourhoods and communities. The services offered at Karuna Vihar are unique in India. The loving, happy atmosphere of the school makes it a place where children can blossom and grow, becoming the people they were meant to be
Admission is open throughout the year for children between 7 to 14 years of age. There are 3 hours sessions in the morning and 1 hour sessions in the afternoon. Seats are limited and fees for the services at the centre are charged on a sliding scale, based on family income.
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.