Diary Entry:Rising Sun Institute for Special Children

Dear diary,
CMH placement is over (Thank Goodness!!!) only case submission and viva left. And by this time, I’m kinda tired of reading and re-reading and re-re-reading the cases for editing. I just wanna get over with them.
Today was our orientation day for our Child Psychopathology placement in a special education Institute called Rising Sun.

Before the time of officially entering the Rising Sun Institute for Special Children, I saw a child being helped out of his car into a wheel chair, outside the gate of the institution, a child, without motor control. The moment I entered the gate, I heard a child crying, looking out of the window. Unsure and a little rattled, I entered the impressively big building along with my class mates.
Orientation and a detailed tour of the building followed. The tour started from 4th floor, with a gradual descend towards the basement. Each floor of the building houses different categories of students, the most impressive being the children with trainable skills. Seeing the vocational training section of the building on 4th floor, I was spellbound. One coherent sentence that my mind could think of was “these special children are living up to their name.” From learning beautiful handy work on a piece of cloth, hand-loom cloth production to cutting, sewing and producing the institution’s uniforms, to making use of recyclable stuff to make useful stuff, the use of beads, sequins and Italian dough to make stunning jewelry; the work of the children was impressive, made us proud and put us to shame.
4th floor comprised of 2 sections. One section was for visually challenged students and the other, vocational training section.
Each floor consisted of a self-care unit, a speech therapy room, a computer lab and various classes for children of different ages.
The ground floor consisted of junior section and the basement was divided into 3 main sections. One section was for “Autistic” children. Another section was for “Cerebral Palsy.” The third section was for Physiotherapy. It consisted of “Sensory Integration therapy, Hydrotherapy and Occupational therapy.”
Here, we got to learn the difference between a “Profession” and an “Occupation.”
Putting “Occupation,” in simple words, it is “any activity that occupies a child’s time.” It consisted of “Pre-writing training, hand-eye co-ordination and eye-feet co-ordination training.”
All in all, the experience was an eye-opener and left a permanent impression on mind. It would be an honor to be given an opportunity to learn more about the setup.
And it was a moment of gratitude towards Allah, first, for making us as normal as it gets and secondly because He chose us to try to help the less privileged ones amidst us.
The class I was to observe, was in Cerebral Palsy section. It consisted of 2 groups of children. The age ranges from 6.5 years to 7.5 years and 7.5 years to 8.5 years olds. Both groups of children were sitting around a semicircular table, with a teacher facing them. Each group had its own table and teacher. One group contained the students who, even though slow, could learn to read and write. The other group, of smaller kids, used activities to improve their movement and co-ordination.
The teachers were extremely patient, loving and down to earth. The children smiled when the teachers conversed with them.
A student, successfully achieved his goal of arranging boxes of different sizes so that the biggest box contained the small one. Small box contained yet another smaller one. So on and so forth.
A little girl learned the names of different colours. She completed a task by putting coloured beads onto a frame of their respective colours correctly. She got tired after her task completion so she was allowed to put her head down and close her eyes.
The group of students, who were capable of learning, learned their respective tasks and the teacher listened to them later. The teacher helped a child to memorize Urdu alphabets by putting them into pairs. Another child memorized the table of 6 successfully till 6×6.
The teachers were hard at work and the children were at ease with them. They worked with remarkable patience with each child.
The drawbacks I observed was that children who learned something previously but came after long holidays had forgotten what they had previously learned, taking the teacher back to square one. The parents’ support and co-operation was minimal which should have been more, for the sake of their own children.
Overall, it was a very unique experience to be able to observe the children closely and get an insight into the problems faced by the children and teachers in the process of learning.

To Be, Or Not To Be, That Is The Question

I see a damaged soul instead of seeing myself in the mirror. I see that girl, whose eyes have this far-off look when she sings. As if, she’s in some other time, some other reality, some alternate universe. I see her past and her future. She’s a broken record, a torn piece of cloth, a silver chain that lost it’s shine, a ruined shrine: what’s common, is the damage. What happened?
She was forced to grow up. She was forced to take responsibility, to be mature. But who in the world must define maturity? Is it laughing on the face of adversity? Is it, ignoring the urge to slap a misbehaving child? Is it, not crying in front of anyone and soaking your pillow when alone? What is this maturity?
I see a girl for whom the blooming flowers don’t have any significance anymore because the spring didn’t reach her inside this time around. I see a tortured head, tired eyes, a fake smile on a gloomy face. I see misery that’s self-created, monsters waiting for the warrior to strike back and a warrior with wounded pride. I see darkness with a hint of light. Only a dot perhaps. I see the sky, meeting the ocean, but too far, on the horizon. I see opportunities, just a little beyond her reach. I see life draped in the cloak of death.
To be, or not to be? And what will be if when she ceases to be?
No, I won’t answer that. It’s, perhaps, more depressing than the post itself. When death comes, it comes. the fear isn’t of dying but of the process itself. The difficulty isn’t in living right now but in enjoying the luxuries with no or lesser effort.
I remember, once, not long ago, there was a girl I shared my room with, I called her my friend. She’s gone now. Only her memories remain. The hurt, the low moods and the occasional depressive thoughts…..
A hug from my mum would definitely make me feel better and there is a mother who can never hug her daughter again. So many people have bigger problems than I do.
I decide to be, as long as I can be. For this life, is a treasure and I, the keeper. So I decide to take life, over death. For difficulties come to make us realize that we are still alive. I’ll just have to go and find the warrior inside again. The sooner, the better.

Title: opening phrase of a dialogue Hamlet, Act III, Scene I.
By William Shakespeare

The Sadness Inside

The death you mourn,who was it that died?
Why do you feel bad?Whats this sadness inside?
What did he mean to you?What do you have to hide?
Oh heart,stop,let go!Be patient,don’t lose hope
Soon things will be different.Time will heal you one day
O dear heart,don’t cry.Today’s just not the day
Grow up dear heart.Stop mourning,start living
The dead is dead.There’s no turning back
So you look for what’s ahead.And move on.
Keep moving.Don’t stop.Shed all the burdens
Start anew.Learn from your mistakes.
Bury the past with the corpse you bury
Let all the tears of misery fall
Put on a big smile,take a deep breath
The world is full of second chances,take yours!