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Home > City Resources > Education > Dilkush - School for the Intellectually Challenged
Dilkush - School for the Intellectually Challenged 

"You have touched me, I have grown"

The Children in a song and dance sequencePassing through an inconspicuous gate in Juhu, seems to transport one to a different world. A world where the air is rent with war cries, and gurgles oflaughter mingled with muffled sobbing and screamed orders. This is a world most outsiders know simply as Dilkhush, a special school catering to the special needs of some very special children.

Special children?! - children who are exceptional in one or more area the hearing impaired, visually impaired, emotionally disturbed, learning disabled, gifted, autistic savant, those with cerebal palsy, the intellectually challenged. Dilkhush cares for the intellectually challenged.

Dilkhush, is a hub of activity, bringing together people from varying backgrounds and ambitions on a common platform. The focus of all the activity are the children who are of different sizes, abilities and charms!

The children, based on their ability, age etc, are grouped largely into Junior, Middle and Senior school. Within each of these groups there are both academic and pre-vocational classes which are so called depending on the percentage of academics Staging a skitconcentrated on in each of them. Academics in Dilkhush isnt about classroom learning with no purpose, rather it is refered to as functional academics, having practical applications. Pre-vocational skills like cooking, painting, sewing are also imparted with aview to providing potential employment opportunities. In the younger classes a lot of emphasis is placed on imparting skills in Activities of Daily Living or ADL, along with ABC!

At Dilkhush training of the individual is built around one basic concept development of an individual who can participate actively in what is refered to as the outside world. The focus is to integrate the elements of the child's personality, to groom him or her to independence. Classroom size at Dilkhush is on an average about 8-12 children. This number facilitates better learning, greater interaction and more attention holding capacity for both teacher and learner.

Extra / co-curricular activities like aerobics, physical training, music, art and craft are as far as possible incorporated into the learning program. These are used also to encourage expression in the child, which are often of a non-verbal nature.

Integrating parents in the school program is an important element at Dilkhush. This is done through periodic seminars, meetings and home visits.

In the Class roomChildren at Dilkhush are exposed to various inter-school events dance competitions, Integration camps, Special Olympics, National Festival of Music and Dance. Outings and visits to various places are encouraged to provide real-life experiences that would further independent living skills travel by public transport whenever possible, visits to shops, bank, post office, Gateway of India, INS Vikrant, Nehru Science Centre all serve as important learning experiences. A number of 3 day camps have also been organised for the older, more independent children Gorai, Bordi, Neral, Jambe, Vikramgadh. Last year - for the first time ever an overnight stay at Dilkhush itself was held for the younger ones and those who arent able to look after daily living needs. This was a first for the management, teachers, children and most importantly parents! It turned out to be a great success.

Enjoying on the playgroundThe students are also involved in various other activities like sports and plays. Dilkhush hosts a play every year with a cast made up of students of the school. In fact, there are plans to staging a musical play next year! National festivals and events are also celebrated with elan. The children with their incredible capacity to enjoy themselves, make the most of these days. More importantly they understand the reason why they celeberate days like Holi, Independence day, Diwali, Christmas!

Dilkhush stands for a hope that the unique combination of abilities, ideas,plans and talents make possible the dream of realising the potential of the intellectually challenged individual.

On entering the school building one of the first things that hits you is an oversize hand, holding a smaller oversize hand with the words "You have touched me, I have grown".

Text and Pics By: Supriya Rathod

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