There are a lot of heroes in the special needs community, quietly doing their job, inspiring many, and impacting a lot of students and educators. People who have been lucky to have crossed paths with one such hero are willing to share their experience with the community. This 5th of September, let us celebrate them together!
1) Jude has inspired me by showing me how to be more sensitive and to think from different perspectives. To keep a balance in life and to live life to the fullest. To be a child at heart and to love what you do and to do it with great passion.
- Story by Monisha Rodrigues, Counsellor, Remedial Educator
About Jude from Monisha - A cheerful .. Motivating person with a heart of gold for individuals with Autism and other neurological disabilities. A music therapist who never stops encouraging others to put all that he has into making it a better place for those with disabilities...
2) Despite being a person with blindness Mr. Yusufi was using all his other senses and worked with great efficiency in all matters. He had a great vision and wanted to ensure that every person of Gujarat and India should get the opportunity and have equal participation in all facets of life. He worked for the education, training, and rehabilitation of children and adults with all categories of disabilities. He also worked for their vocational training and self-employment. He always wished that whatever problems he faced in his personal and professional life, no other person with any kind of disability should face any such problems. He keeps on working for the benefit of the disabled people tirelessly. He is always highly motivated and says that for any good work money will never become a problem.
- Story by Abbas Kharodawala, Special Educator, Trainer
About Yusufi from Abbas: Mr. Yusufi Kapadia got blind at the age of 10 years. He had great difficulties in his education being a blind person getting educated in the normal system. Still, he attained the degrees of MA, B.Ed, Diploma in Physiotherapy. He had a mission to work for the education, training, of the children and adults with all kinds of disabilities.
3) When my son lost his speech at the age of 1year 2 months, due to seizures .we were shattered .once when I was giving bath to him, he was around 1.8 months, I had a comb on my head which I did not notice, he tried his best to say but I could not understand, he immediately kept his leg on my leg climbed up on me took the comb from my head and showed it. I felt so bad that i could not understand,every night he had difficulty in getting sleep,i used to sing goddesses song to him till he gets sleep, some times till night 12 or till 1am,once when i came out of washroom afert taking bath ,i saw him standing in front of pooja room and singing goddesses song then i felt so happy as if i had achieved great thing, he got back his speech,now we turned our attention to grasping skills, then joined inclusive education course,started to implement what ever his special educators advised,once his teacher MsRukmani sodha at spastic society, i think she had taught him about queue,at home he used to do potty on the floor since he had fallen inside indian commode,he called me after doing potty and said amma see i have done potty they all are in queue,i felt happy that he is connecting vocabulary which he had learnt at school,each day he is surprising me with new things,from that day i felt that all kids have the potential to learn, there is no doubt in that. It is we as special educators and parents should try our best, treat them as normal mainstream children. Actually it is the other way around each student whomever I have worked with had taught me how to think differently and enabled me to use so many strategies each and every moment. I like to thank all my students and my dear son for making me the person I am today. The love which they express is really extraordinary. I feel blessed.
- Story by Rajeshwari, a mother with a MSc. in counseling psychology and a diploma in special education.
About her son, from Rajeshwari - He is energetic, smiling, never gives up, likes creative activities every moment, he was the driving source for me to get into the special-education field, makes me think every moment so that we find a way to teach him and learn together. I have treasured the moments and incidents myself, the way he used to question me, made me feel that he is no less than any other child, he needs to be taught in a modified way, he is always loving, happy which adds life to my every day.
4) I saw Gonika once teaching a special needs child. The smile that the child was having on her face looked so beautiful and that moment inspired me and changed my attitude towards the special needs kids. I too wish to make such a difference in the lives of these kids and bring that smile on their faces.
- Story by Puneet
About Gonika from Puneet: She is a school counselor and work as a special educator. I have seen her working with special needs kids and she is so affectionate with them. she goes out of her bounds to help students with special needs that include giving them free coaching and tuition classes to help them prepare for their open board exams. Our locality doesn't have a professional special educator. The once which are available charge way too high and don't even bother about the results of their sessions. But she learns through youtube and other internet sources about dealing and teaching special needs students according to their individual needs. Hats off to all such heroes like Gonika!
5) I first met Rury when I joined her seminar in 2019. I came early to the venue to get the first row. I saw there were some people in the room, including her. I sat quietly and looked around. To my surprise, she came to me. She asked why I wanted to join her seminar. We talked a bit before people started to enter the room. It might be a simple thing for others, but it means a lot to me. Her first impression lasts forever. After attending her seminar, I joined her training online to discuss the subject in detail. I applied and succeed. It was not easy to enroll because there were only a few seats available. The training online was very affordable. I met parents and therapists from different areas. It was exciting. She invited us to join her WhatsApp alumni group after the training online ended. The group is incredible. People with different backgrounds, experience, a field of expertise are in one group managed by her. I am happy to be a part of the group. We discuss teaching materials, life experience, new topics, and many more. I know she is busy because she has a family to take care of. Despite all of that, she still has time to support us. I know there is a long way in front of us, but she will help us to be on the right track. I am so grateful to have a chance to know her. I wish I could write more about her dedication to the world of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Indonesia.
- Story by Anis Sumarni, mother of a 4.5 years old autistic son.
About Ruri from Anis - Rury Soeriawinata is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst from Indonesia. She is very well-known among the people who deal with special needs children, especially parents. She regularly conducts a live webinar to discuss common problems in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her broad range of experience helps us to find solutions to our problems.
6) Savita, her sister, and I were in the same class in school. With increased academic pressure, Savita preferred to spend more time outside the classroom, in the garden, and with the staff. Shy and quiet, she enjoyed scribbling, talking to herself, and watching others. Most of us were too busy with ourselves or our groups to even notice her presence. Savita was different from us but, why? No one had the answer. Everyone was kind to her. But that was it. Never gave a second thought to it. Doing a Bachelors's degree in Neuro Muscular disorder and a Masters's degree in Applied Clinical Psychology gave me a view into her world. I joined a reputed inclusive school in Kolkata (India). Here, I have the privilege to work with the regular as well as the differently-abled students together. This has provided me an opportunity to understand the age-appropriate physical, cognitive, emotional, and social milestones as well as the deviations if any. Our school offers the regular curriculum as well as the parallel curriculums for those who are unable to adapt to the regular curriculum. I can proudly state that the millennial Y children are much, much more aware of inclusion than our generation, advocacy of their rights, and spreading awareness about inclusion.
- Story by Anupama Bothra, Special Educator
About Savita from Anupama: Savita had substantial limitations in her brain functioning. A sweet, gentle girl, Savita loved to interact with nature. Her favourite activity was to speak to the picture of her late dad. Our failure to understand her way of- communicating, expressing emotions, and expectations from us, prevented her from enjoying peer companionship and interaction.
7) Ms. May Ruth D'Souza has no admission tests for her organization and children are accepted truly as they are. She has taught that one should never give up on anyone or label them. She has changed my perspective. Instead of looking at the problems the children with special needs are facing I now focus on their strengths and use the strengths to develop interest and confidence. She has encouraged me to enhance my skills and knowledge by attending workshops and courses. I believe that "Every child needs a champion, an adult who never gives up on them " and I have become a champion thanks to Ms. May Ruth D'Souza.
- Story by Ayesha Azharuddin Ahmed, Special Educator
About May from Ayesha: She is a founder member and Principal of Insight Academy, Bangalore. Her vision is to provide quality education for all by creating an inclusive environment at school that nurtures every child and brings about acceptance and empowerment. She has made a positive impact on not only the lives of many children with special needs but also helped their families.
Some people make a huge impact on our lives and those we care about. Humans of Special Education series is a small effort to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts of such people with the community.
If you also have one such story of inspiration about someone who has inspired you and/or created a huge impact in this space, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be publishing selected few stories on every 5th of the month. Stay tuned!