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Hellen Keller says “Blindness cuts you off from things. Deafness cuts you off from people”. This is very true as hearing affects the ability to communicate and learn. Thus hearing impairment affects every aspect of a child’s life – familial, social, psychological, emotional and above all educational. Hearing impairment may occur in the outer, middle, inner ear or in the auditory nerve. Hearing loss may range from the mildest to the most profound in either or both ears.

Hearing Loss is of Two types: Causes of deafness
Before birth During birth After birth Age of onset could be A deaf child is not dumb
Hearing children learn to speak by imitating sounds that they hear and by enjoying the sounds that they make i.e. babbling, cooing etc. A deaf child has to be taught speech which is a very challenging task for the pupil and the teacher. Deaf children vary in intelligence like hearing children. The following points should be considered. To conclude, a deaf child is a personality striving to communicate his thoughts and feelings and trying to understand yours. By knowing and appreciating his problems you can help a deaf child by treating him more patiently and naturally.

Indian red cross society’s red cross school for the deaf
The Poona District Branch of the Indian Red Cross Society was established in the year 1921. Since then it has grown and multiplied its welfare activities over the years. It has undertaken a number of projects for the amelioration of suffering humanity and in order to achieve the objects effectively, the society has set up four units as follows:
Historical background for the school for the deaf
It was observed at our OPD clinic that children with gross malnutrition, physical and mental handicaps and hearing impairment was not an uncommon sight. The hearing impaired children lacked educational training as there were no special schools in the vicinity and they could afford to attend the distant special schools. The then Secretary and Vice Chairman Dr. P. S. Sanade and Dr. K. H. Barucha respectively, conceived the idea of starting a free school for the deaf on the red cross premises.

Thus, the school came into being in June 1976 with a class of eight students and one trained teacher. Subsequently, the strength of our students increased to 65 and we now have ten staff members. During our teething stages we were fortunate to have the invaluable guidance of the pioneer of education for the deaf in Poona Mrs. Malti Joshi who was the Principal of V. R. Rula Mook Badhir School, Pune. Our school was given recognition by the Social Welfare Department of Government of Maharashtra in 1978. Members Late Dr. P. S. Sanade and Dr. K. H. Bharucha from Left 3rd and 6th respectively.

Academics and extra curricular activities Can you lip–read me?
Electronic aids
The school is equipped with group hearing aids, and audiometer for hearing assessment. Tape recorder, casio, organ and musical instruments are used for auditory training and cultural activities. An overhead projector, slide projector and a video cassette player make visual lessons more lively and interesting.

Speech training on the speech trainer
For the tiny tots, extensive use is made of clay crayons and paints to teach them through the play way method. The children are encouraged to participate in inter school competitions like drawing, dance, dramatics, handicrafts, general–knowledge and lip reading.

The children are frequently taken for educational trips and picnics to enrich their limited experience.

Enjoying clay work
Health and welfare services
The students are provided free supplementary diet every day. The O.P.D. clinic along with their visiting specialists give free medical treatment. Efforts are made to secure free uniforms, stationery, ear moulds and hearing aids through charitable organizations. Parents–teachers meetings are held regularly for which we invite eminent speakers for counseling in various subjects like health, nutrition, the importance of education and maintenance of hearing aids. Thus not only educational but all aspects of the all round development of a child are taken care of.

After a child passes out from our school, every effort is made to secure admission for him in a high school or send him for vocational training or get him a job, as the case may be.

Grants and donations
Social Welfare Department of Govt. of Maharashtra gives 100% salary grant and 50% for maintenance and day to day expenses. The remaining 50% is borne by Indian Red Cross Society and from donations.

Future program
To introduce vocational training.

How you can help us You can help us by donating any of the following specialized equipment
Educational books, tapes and slides
  1. Montessori equipment.
  2. Play therapy and testing material.
  3. Percussion instruments.
  4. Indoor gymnasium equipment.