Amar Seva Sangam Enabling Inclusion program reaches about 3200 children with disabilities in the 3 Districts of Tenkasi, Tirunelveli & Tuticoirn districts. In the Tenkasi district Enabling Inclusion program, Parents Advocacy Groups for parents of children with disabilities are formed by Amar Seva Sangam, Ayikudi (ASSA). Through these groups parents are trained to advocate for their children’s needs and rights collectively. Various government schemes, policies and provisions are shared among the parents through these groups and they are guided to avail these schemes. The impact of this program is high and parents cite improved peer connection, feeling of acceptance and ability to advocate as benefits.
One such initiative advocated by this group is the Parent Petition for Individual Toilet Scheme. Baby Sabitha is 5 years young and she is from Puliyankudi. She is diagnosed with cerebral palsy (GMFCS-3). She is one of our service users (home based), in the Vasudevanallur block. Her father Sakthivel and mother Chithra are attending our parents’ advocacy group meetings regularly. During the meeting, the mother shared her difficulty of not having a toilet and it was suggested in the meeting to give a petition for the PM toilet scheme to Public Grievance Day – Tenkasi. Last month, the mother had given the petition to the collector of Tenkasi and after two weeks public work department personnel had visited her house and started the work. Now the toilet construction work has been completed. The regular follow up for this work was done by our staff.
According to ICF* framework, environmental modifications are essential components for promoting functioning and age-appropriate participation of children with disabilities. Along with therapies, these modifications improve children’s independence. We are introducing these environmental adaptations in the rural communities for children with disabilities. Child’s capacity and difficulties, family’s expectations & economic conditions, space availability are analysed for successful modifications. In this process, local masons are sensitized about accessibility and individual needs.
As a part of this initiative home modification work was done for 6 children. It includes ramps & handrails, toilet hand rail (for supporting the sitting, standing and transfer from the toilet). Before the home modification these children are assessed by our therapist and only children whose parents were willing to do the modifications are taken for the home modification work.
* ICF – International Classification of Functioning, Disability & Health (ICF is a classification of the World Health Organization)