Bringing up an Adolescent boy —Challenges and Joyous Experiences

“Adolescence is new birth; for, the higher and more completely human traits are now born.”

-G. Stanley Hall

Physical growth spurt signaled the onset of adolescence. My son is proud of his height and new found physical strength which he channelizes through activities,

like swimming and walking and gym workouts. He did have anxieties over some of the physical changes. However, direct communication, often using pictures and images helped us reassure him and come to terms with these changes.

A new found confidence and individuality started emerging. He would resent our constant supervision. His need to explore and relate to the world on his own terms was nerve wracking for us. He would take off for long walks. Though our anxieties restricted him initially, faith in his abilities and patience paid off; he is now quite familiar with the neighbourhood and neighbours who look out for him. His social skills are improving as he interacts warmly with family and friends. It was also a good opportunity to reinforce social and safety rules.

Curiosity about and attraction towards the opposite sex is a delicate issue. He asks many questions about gender differences, baby birth etc. It was challenging, even embarrassing for us to answer him. However, over time we developed strategies including concrete explanations using illustrations, maintaining a neutral emotional tone. Ensuring a non-threatening culture of disclosure at home made it easier for him to disclose delicate events. We continue to use such opportunities to help him understand social graces like maintaining boundaries, good touch etc. A direct approach, with help from teachers helps him negotiate these challenges positively.

Adolescence has brought about a surge of emotions, in his case, anger and anxiety. Anger often finds its way through destructive acts and physical aggression. Emotional self-regulation is the most challenging goal, which continues to overwhelm us till date. I have observed and learnt many lessons: the child’s anger is also influenced by emotional reactions of adults around him. From this came the powerful learning that we ourselves have a role in changing the situation and helped us change our attitude from reactive responses to more mindful and pro-active approaches of anticipating and defusing the situation before it reaches crisis point. This gives us a feeling of mastery over the situation, while equipping him with more mature strategies like problem solving, mindfulness and self- soothing techniques.

Unfolding of better focus and perseverance, planning and organizational skills has correlated with rapid gains in academics and is giving direction to career and vocational development.

Thus adolescence has been a phase of complex changes and adjustments for my son as well as the whole family. Whilst demanding patience and problem-solving abilities, it is most gratifying to see his unique traits unfolding.

Dr. Shobha Ramesh

(Mother of a special young boy)

Creative Day – Mera Bharat Mahan

29th July 2022 was celebrated in Asha Kiran as “Creative Day” the theme was “Mera Bharat Mahan”.

The day began with singing the National Anthem, post which the students geared up with their paint brushes, paints, clay, chart paper, thermocol and started their day with a splash of colors. Some painted the Flag, while others went an extra mile using wool to depict the saffron and green on the flag. Some made creative use of pearls to flash the Ashoka chakra, while others made the map of India. The sheer joy on the faces of the students as their creativity took shape was worth watching.

Students responses –

  • I loved helping my friends.
  • I made an art of the Indian flag, it makes me proud that I live in India.
  • I enjoyed my day. The art I made reminds me of the people who serve the country and I also wish to serve the country in future.
  • I am glad that my friends helped me to finish my art in time.
  • Learnt about how India is diverse by accepting all cultures and staying together.

It was encouraging to see the students portray their creativity in different art forms. The students visibly enjoyed their time. The efforts taken by parents to train their children how to display the art was truly appreciable.

The Importance of Early Intervention for Young Children and their Families….

Introduction

Positive early experiences are essential prerequisites for later success in school, work place, and the community. Services to young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays have been shown to positively impact outcomes across developmental domains, including health, language and communication, cognitive development and social/emotional development. Families benefit from early intervention by being able to better meet their children’s special needs from an early age and throughout their lives. Many studies have documented the link between early loving, secure relationships and a child’s self-esteem, confidence, and ability to communicate, deal with stress, develop positive relationships, develop a conscience, and learning

Why Intervene Early?

  • Neural circuits, which create the foundation for learning, Behaviour and health, are most flexible during the first three years of life. Over time, they become increasingly difficult to change.
  • The brain is strengthened by positive early experiences, especially stable relationships with caring and responsive adults, safe and supportive environments, therapeutic interventions and appropriate nutrition.
  • Early social/ emotional development and physical health provide the foundation upon which cognitive and language skills develop.
  • Intervention is likely to be more effective when it is provided earlier in life rather than later

Importance of Early Intervention

  • High quality early intervention services can change a child’s developmental trajectory and improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.
  • Supporting a family’s capacity to understand and enhance their child’s unique development positively influences both parents and children. 
  • Supportive and caring relationships between children and caregivers have a significant and enduring influence on young children’s growth and development.
  • Child development, as well as parental well-being, is enhanced when parents and other caregivers are encouraged to understand each child’s need & unique characteristics and respond with sensitivity and warmth.
  • Early Intervention improves and enhances the development of a child with developmental delays, special needs, or other concerns.
  • Early Intervention provides assistance and support to empower families of children with developmental delays, special needs, or other concerns.
  • Early Intervention lays a foundation that will improve the life of the child and offer greater opportunities.
  • It will provide your child with instruction that will build on his or her strengths to teach new skills, improve behaviours, and remediate areas of weakness.
  • It will provide you with information that will help you better understand your child’s behaviour and needs.

Conclusion

  • At Asha Kiran we are focused and design programs to enhance the development of young children with developmental delays or disabilities.
  • Our mission is to enhance the capacity of families to meet the special needs of their children with disabilities.
  • It is intended to maximize the potential of children in the program to live independently in society.

Ms. Sugandhi

Clinical Psychologist

Inclusive and Welcoming Atmosphere

Apart from building the teacher-student relationship, another important role teacher’s play in the school and a student’s school life is creation of positive classroom and school atmosphere. Outside of their homes, the maximum time students spend is in school for a good 14 years of their life.

Following are few initiatives every  teacher in Asha Kiran takes to make the school’s atmosphere inclusive and welcoming:

  • Peer orientation and parent orientation about particular children if required – This brings about inclusivity in the peer group as well as among the community.
  • Encouraging children to participate in events despite difficulty in their abilities. This boosts their confidence.
  • Customising the classes or methodology in a way that makes learning inclusive – Different children require different teaching methodologies. A holistic teaching technique reaches every student equally and learning is optimum!
  • Use the students name – This brings about familiarity and belonging.
  • Emotional safety – Create a safe space for students to open to each other and the teacher. This also brings about inclusivity to students who may feel they don’t fit in.
  • Take their interests as an advantage and incorporate into class – Customizing the class to the way children like it will go a long way in the way they learn and retain the knowledge.
  • Go the extra mile – If a child needs extra attention, a teacher can do their best to give it by providing extra tutoring.
  • Show that it is okay to make mistakes and how one can learn from them. But also, remember to guide them on how to avoid such mistakes. 

While there are some children who might take the inclusivity and friendly atmosphere for granted, with clear ground rules and boundaries and step by step processes, the school can be made into a balanced and welcoming atmosphere for students of all ages, backgrounds, personalities, abilities, and capabilities.

Harshika Ramasubramanian

Counselling Psychologist & Expressive Arts Facilitator

My First Week with Asha Kiran Children

The first week of school started with rapport building with amazing students of Asha Kiran in VTC block. The week was buzzing with activities, rules and routines. It helped students to get familiar with teachers and their new time tables.

However, few students were taking more time to settle down in the classroom and adjust to the school environment, I would like to mention one such case, where a child was struggling to settle down and exhibited challenging behaviors.

We could understand that the transition was causing his anxiety to escalate. In spite of visual reminders, physical workout and activities the child was still restless. One of his classmate, named Krishna readily came forward to help his friend who was in distress. Krishna didn’t hesitate to approach his friend and made every effort to calm him down.

The gentle expression on Krishna’s face, helped his friend to understand the expected behavior.

This role play emotionally regulated the child to follow the instructions. I would like to conclude, that Kids find it easier to learn through their peer group. Social reminders, buddy system boosts a child’s confidence and brings a sense of belonging.

A Mother’s Gratitude

It was indeed a proud moment for me and my family to attend the Graduation ceremony of Master Adit Nair with the Founder-Director Dr. Rita James. She is a beautiful soul whom God chose for a purpose to bring happiness in many children and their families.

Asha Kiran is not just an institution, it’s beyond that – where kids not only excel in their career but are transformed into humble and good human beings.

May God give good health and strength to Dr. Rita James for many more years in this beautiful journey. This world needs more people like her. We are glad God chose Adit to be a part of this amazing and wonderful institution which transformed him into humble, confident human being.  Degrees are necessary but just remain papers after a certain period. What remains for life is the character and humility we carry along with us. My son Adit achieved that in Asha Kiran.

I take this opportunity to thank the entire staff of Asha Kiran.

What an incredible achievement it is for Adit and us all as a family!

Gratitude always

Ms. Preetha Nair