Nilesh Khatri and Muffazal have extremely expert at handling the screen press and turn out dozens of beautiful cards with utmost efficiency. The idea is to give them a vocation and at the same time give vent to their creative talents.
How they can be integrated
On this particular day, the group is getting to make poha (a snack made out of pressed rice). They sit round their table, picking coriander leaves (very good for honing finer motor skills), peeling onions and slicing them. They now move to the kitchen.
While one pair takes down the jar of poha, measures it and washes it, another pair lights the stove, puts the pan on it. Still another pair now selects the oil can and pours it out, adding the seasoning. Blossom, who loves cooking, does the actual mechanical work of stirring but as she has less initiative, she needs to be goaded on by her partner Rashida who is mentally alert enough to recognize the various stages of cooking but lacks motor co–ordination to do the actual work herself. Well the poha is ready at last and Naitik and Abhishek come to serve it, the former holding the tray because of his skill and the latter handing it out because he has the most charming smile. Another pair is making tea in the meantime.
At home, the parents are encouraged to involve the children in the day to day odd jobs. “Otherwise they will feel useless”, emphasizes Radiya. “Send them out to the nearby shops to fetch the one–odd requirements. If they are unable to bring back the right change, help them along by giving them a small calculator. Let them lay the table, serve the food, help to clear up after meals. They can fold all the clothes and stack them neatly. They can also knead the dough, make some easy snacks like sandwiches. They may be slow but don’t give up on them. Start them off early. If you need vegetables cut for the morning meal, ask them to do it the prior night. They need to be encouraged to get out of themselves and look after the needs of others too.
Teach them to fetch a glass of water for the parent when he/she comes back from work. Ask him about how his day has gone. Many parents tend to think ‘After all, what great thing will a mentally retarded child have done today’. Resist that attitude and take an interest in his affairs, he will be sure to reciprocate and take greater interest in your work’.
“Don’t consider the child as a burden and feel ashamed to take him/her out. If you do this the feeling will automatically rub off on the sibling and he will have the same attitude later on an will be unable to extend a caring hand. Take your child out into society. You have to break the ice somewhere”, they urge.