Friday, 21 October 2011

A different kind of School- V-Excel, Mandaveli, Chennai (Madras) India

I happen to live across the road from V-Excel Educational Trust.  Those who are from Mandaveli, might be familiar with Leelavati Nursing Home.  Leelavati was a legendary gynecologist that has delivered babies in the Mandaveli area for over 40-50 years.  Even my great grandmother was her patient in '50-'60's. Leelavati nursing home is now V-Excel.
Board outside V-Excel

Now, on to V-Excel.  V-Excel is a Educational trust that works with special needs children.  These include teacher training, parent support group, schools and a variety of other groups.  In addition, they have a special community program every other Friday. From my window, I watch the children play and learn through individual care and attention.  The teachers and care-takers are truly dedicated and are all of all ages.  The kids can be very aggressive and the care-givers have to be extremely patient.  Every afternoon around 2:30, the kids play cricket.  It is amazing how a simple sport can bring out the best in kids.  The kids are howling with excitement and the decibels hit dump truck levels.  The kids are running around, making their best effort and playing their very best.  The teachers are very encouraging and helping the kids to really demonstrate their mettle.

One interesting thing about V-Excel is that they welcome the neighbors to attend and participate in their programs.  Last night they had Diwali celebrations.  I took Kaveri and her friends for the program.  They were sharing fire crackers, sweets and excitement with all who showed up, not just their students.  Kaveri got her first action with fire crackers.  Initially she was scared but warmed up when she saw all the other kids playing lighting away.  It was a such a fun experience.  Today, they had a Carnatic music concert.

A month ago, they had a Special Needs Specialist visit from Boston.  He was answer some very seemingly complex questions from the parents.  One parent had a child that was constantly breaking any glass item- tumblers, bowls, flower pots etc.  This Specialist broke it down into a few parts to ascertain the root cause of the problem.  Was the kid attracted to the sound of the glass breaking or the action of something breaking?  And the simple solution was to record the sound of glass breaking and replaying, or to give him lego blocks to throw down.  The second is harmless but he gets his desire fulfilled.

It is truly a remarkable school concept and the way they work with the community.

To learn more about them, I visited their Website.  It has a lot of information and topics of interest on the available resources, suggestions of complex situations and how to bring up special needs kids.  If you have time, visit their site at http://v-excel.org/.  To donate, visit http://v-excel.org/donate.shtml. 

2 comments:

  1. Hi Deepak, I was searching for Leelavathi Nursing Home (as I was born there) and chanced upon your post. Your wrire-up made for some interesting reading. Thanks. Is the Dr. no more? I am sad to hear that. Regards, Krishnan (krishnanis@gmail.com)

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    1. Hi Krishnan,the Doctor is still alive, I believe. But she no longer practices.

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