Community Learning Centers

Community Learning Centers

Contribute To This Initiative

There are over one lakh children with multiple disabilities in Karnataka in the age group of 3-13 years, according to our estimates. These children suffer from severe incidences of disability like cerebral palsy, locomotor disability, and speech & hearing impairment. They are usually unable to manage their activities of daily living (ADLs) independently and have no exposure to formal learning.

APD’s Community Learning Centre program has been operational since 2007. We enroll children from surrounding urban slums and low income families. At the CLCs, APD’s trained staff works with these children for 2-3 years in a school-readiness curriculum. This equips them to cope with ADLs and inculcates disability and age appropriate learning skills. It is run in partnership with the community and parents/caregivers. APD has successfully transitioned 15% of children from CLCs to mainstream schools including our own Shradhanjali Integrated School. Such education empowers these children to lead dignified lives with a certain degree of independence and access their rights to equal opportunity and participation.

Our CLC program is conducted in 2 centers in Bengaluru – Ulsoor and Lingarajapuram. The third center is at the Annaswamy School in Frazer town that is financially and technically supported by APD.

Our Objective

  • Enable children with disabilities from local slums access their basic rights through inclusion and equal opportunities for education
  • Awareness in the family and community about social inclusion and participation
  • Train parents/caregivers to manage disability and engage in self-advocacy
  • Training and skill development for functional self-reliance in everyday life
  • Ensuring preparedness to join mainstream or special schools

Road Map

  • Identification and enrolment: CLC workers conduct home visits, surveys and assessment camps to identify severely disabled children in the age group of 3-13 years and encourage families to enrol them in the centres. 50% of the children enrolled at the centre receive home-based support.
  • Individual plans: Individual education plans (IEP) and goals are developed for each child, focusing on behavioural modifications, activities of daily living (ADLs) and academic skills. Progress is monitored regularly against the IEPs. Children enrolled at the centres will be provided uniforms, books and other learning material. Transportation is also provided to and from their homes, if required.
  • Learning activities: The CLC staff and APD volunteers engage children periodically in therapeutic activities that help better learning, communication and stimulation. The CLC staff organizes two interactive programs with children from mainstream schools every year to promote peer interaction. This drives inclusion and sensitizes teachers from mainstream schools. Children are encouraged through activities such as sports, art competitions and exposure visits. A few children from each CLC, showing good progress, will be able to join mainstream schools by the end of the year.

    Two interactive events are held in model schools for all children under the school support and secondary education programmes, which encourage peer-to-peer interaction and sensitize the non-disabled children and teachers.

    An annual sports meet is conducted for children under the programme in partnership with other NGOs and special schools. This is a mega event in which numerous children and their parents participate.
  • Therapy and mobility aids: Clinical assessments are conducted with the support of parents and professionals. Individual rehabilitation plans (IRPs) are developed depending on each child’s condition. These children then get access to mobility aids and devices. And a few others will be able to function independently at home through facilitation of home level accessibility such as ramps & railings, toilets etc. Nutritional supplements are provided to all children.
  • Capacity building: The CLC staff provides training through four training programmes during the year – 2 residential training programs and 2 exposure visits. Parents/caregivers are trained on basic therapy and disability management. These parents collaborate to form a federation that will be trained and empowered to take up issues of severely disabled children with relevant government departments. The parents’ federation will conduct regular meetings and receive inputs on disability, self-advocacy, child rights and social security schemes.
  • Sharing skills and knowledge: APD’s CLC staff has provided financial support and technical know-how for setting up the new CLC at the Annaswamy School (mainstream school) in Frazer town. We expect that the infrastructure and staff will be in place at the earliest. The CLC staff will continue to identify more such mainstream schools and build their capacity to cater to children with disabilities in their community.

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