“Like a spring the beginning of all things are small.” It happened to be the same with Life Help Centre when we incepted the tiny seeds of service to the handicapped in the year 1977. This organization started its service in a rented building at Adyar, Chennai which shifted soon to its own campus on 11.52 acres situated at Palavakkam which is towards the south of Chennai on the East Coast Road, in June 1983.
Eva Integrated High School
It is intended for the orthopaedically handicapped children and normal children. This school is recognized by the State Government of Tamil Nadu and children between 5-14 years are admitted in 1st – 10th standards. Apart from education, therapies like physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and play therapy are given to these children and special training in mobility with the help of aids and appliance is also provided. There are 125 children benefiting by this school.
This is solely intended for the intellectually differently abled children. Children between 5-16 years are admitted who are classified into three groups according to their IQ level as Educable, Trainable and Custodial. The educable are given special education and the rest are taught basic academic skills and self help skills to make them independent. Special therapies like speech therapy, exercise & yoga therapy, physiotherapy, music therapy and hydrotherapy are also given. Presently, 83 children are given special education here.
Buildings with out architectural barriers:
All the buildings of Life help centre, big and small have easy accessibility by the orthopeadically differently abled people who are confined to the mobility aids/ appliances with ramps along with steps or staircases. Walls of the buildings and toilets are provided
railings for support. Toilets are provided with commodes specially designed for the
orthopeadically differently abled.
Hostel facilities are provided for all residential children and the dormitory hostel facility is provided for the physically differently abled where 62 children are staying. Mentally handicapped children are given cottage type accommodation where 7 children stay with a caretaker in a cottage. We have nine cottages accommodating 63 children.
Working Differently abled Ladies Hostel:
Accommodation is provided for differently abled ladies working at our centre in this hostel, which is located out side the campus at a place called Neelankarai. It has all modern amenities and is structurally modified for the comfort living of-differently abled adults.
Pre-Vocational training Centre
Incepted in the year 1988, this centre aims to impart vocational training to the intellectually differently abled adolescents in various simple trades thereby enabling them to learn certain types of work and avail employment opportunities. Thus integrating them to main stream their life with the normal society and earn their livelihood.
The students who are above 17 years are admitted here and three years of concentrated training is given in the specific areas with the help of a special instructor/Instructress, enabling the trainees to become self-reliant and useful citizens. Presently, 53 students are trained by 11 staff members. Training is offered to the students in trades such as envelope making, carpentry, metal work, injection moulding, leather craft, tailoring, horticulture, screen printing and cotton wool packing sections respectively.
As a library is very essential for any school, our educational unit manages a well-equipped library with all informative materials in it. We have books on therapies, nutrition and dietetics, health, human development, child development, community welfare and also books on special education. The library also possess good story books, picture books, dictionaries, puzzles, audio cassettes, video cassettes and other interesting informative books for young children.
As we have stepped into the new millennium, it is our major need to learn computer. Based on this idea, we have started computer education in our school to give education to the physically handicapped and intellectually differently abled children. Children have equal interest like the normal individuals. All the children give good co-operation and at present one qualified instructor is incharge of the computer lab.
Many children with intellectual disability have speech problem like stuttering, stammering, distortion etc., To overcome these problems, speech therapy is being given to improve the speech of the intellectually differently abled children. Many innovative methods have been implemented by the speech therapist according to the individual abilities and shortcomings and to suit the needs of each child.
This therapy is given to orthopaedically handicapped children and intellectually differently abled children. Hydrotherapy helps to strengthen the muscles and gives flexibility to the body. An instructor looks after these children during the hydrotherapy class. Individual attention is being paid to all the children.
Physiotherapy unit is being managed by two physiotherapists. The therapy is imparted to the children as per their individual need in a well equipped unit.
A playroom with indoor games and recreational facilities is available for play therapy. Their social development, fine motor and gross motor skills and physical development improve during this play therapy.
Music Therapy is exclusively given for children with speech problem. At first they start vocalisation, then slowly they progress towards small rhymes of 2-4 lines of three words each. Through this, there is a marked improvement in the children with speech problem.
Orthopaedic Appliances Unit :
This production cum service unit was started with a motive to provide orthopaedic appliances and later with an increasing demand from the public, this unit has been providing appliances to the needy people. Thus, meeting not only our institution inmates needs, it also meets the needs of other institutions and individuals by manufacturing calipers, clutches, artificial limbs and other appliances. This unit gives employment to one adult handicapped individual under the charge of one orthotist.
Health centre provides medical care to the institution handicapped children, staff and rural people from the coastal line villages at a very nominal cost. It is facilitated with a laboratory, immunization unit, dental unit and a X-ray unit. The health centre is managed by a team of Professionals – like a general physician who visits daily, a dental surgeon who visits thrice a week, a gynecologist who visits once a week who are assisted by a lab technician and a nurse .
EMPLOYMENT-Income Generating Programme
We run these production cum vocational unit, in order to give employment atleast to those who have completed education and training in our centre and to give employment to the adult differently abled who are not much literate, deserving and those neglected by the families and societies.
Printing Press :
This unit was started in 1986 under the Central Social Welfare Board grant-in-aid programme. Here, about 6 handicapped adult girls who are trained in composing, printing and book-binding. An instructor and a machine operator are taking care of the unit. This printing press not only fulfills the requirement of the institution, but also gets orders from outside and runs in a self-sufficient manner.
Mikky visual aids and toys :
This unit manufactures wooden visual aids and educational toys under the trade name “Mikky Visual Aids and Toys”. These toys are of great use to special children and kindergarten children to improve their basic skills. Their light weight and soft edges make them user-friendly toys. The toys made in this unit are of international quality wood and are being exported to various countries and also sold locally to various Schools in India.Twelve handicapped adults are provided employment by this unit.