Albert Einstein once said that Play is the highest form of research, and he couldn’t be more right. Often looked upon by parents and other adults as a means to pass time, Play is of paramount importance in the motor, social, cognitive and emotional development of the child.
From repeating muscular movements, incorporating objects in play, to using imagination, and following rules and penalties in a formal structured game, children require different cognitive efforts. This is why we can amuse and engage a 10 months old baby in a game of peek-a-boo, while a 10 year old needs a more complex game.
Working with children with special needs, we have found Play to be an important and useful intervention technique. It can be used with children with Autism, Learning Disability (LD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Cerebral Palsy (CP), Mental Retardation, etc. From helping the therapist establish a rapport to engaging the child into performing different expected occupational roles in a fun and purposeful manner, Play is an indispensable technique.
Our Occupational Therapist frequently employs Play in her sessions while dealing with children with special needs. It can be used to improve social reciprocity in children with Autism, cognition in those with LD, physical strength, grasp/prehension patterns and eye hand co-ordination in children with CP, etc.
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All work done by SRCF is driven by its vision to provide individuals with the best possible supervised, personalized and appropriate care, in order to restore optimal health, independence, dignity and quality of life, while making health care accessible to all. Working with this vision, SRCF started “Anand Chhaya”, a healthcare facility in the Ramtekdi community.
Besides providing medical services, SRCF is also working towards helping the community seniors procure monthly pensions. Under Pune Municipal Corporation’s Mata Ramai Bhimrao Ambedkar Scheme, seniors receive a monthly pension of Rs. 1000/-, while under the Central Government’s Shravanbal Seva Rajya Nivritti Vetan Yojana, seniors receive a monthly pension of Rs. 600/-. Since many seniors are unaware of these schemes or the process for registering themselves, SRCF is assisting them in procuring the required documents and filling the forms.
There are around 1500 elders residing in the Ramtekdi community, 500 of whom have already been identified by SRCF. Documentation procedure for 106 seniors has already been completed, with SRCF aiming to cover all 500 by December 2017. Although Rs. 1000/- may sound like a small amount to most of us, but it has vast implications for the seniors and the community.
Once the disbursal of the pension begins, the seniors will have a fixed amount of money at their disposal on a monthly basis without having to depend on their families. They could use the money for their medical needs and not ignore their health. Moreover, on a larger scale there would be an increase in the amount of money coming in the Ramtekdi community, which would not only boost the local businesses but also improve the living standards of the locals.
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As the year 2016 draws to a close, SRCF inaugurated its Senior Citizen Outpost Centre, “Anand Chhaya” in Ramtekdi for the elders of the community. The Centre is currently offering General Medicine OPD and Physiotherapy services and will soon be offering Dental services to the residents as well.
Ramtekdi community has over 1000 elders. In November of 2015, SRCF with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) conducted a survey on 500 elders of the community. The survey found 52% of the seniors to have Arthritis, 37% to have dental issues, 20% to have Blood Pressure and another 20% to have diabetes among other conditions.
In view of these alarming numbers, SRCF undertook the task of taking healthcare to the seniors ‘ doorstep and establishing a Medical Centre in the locality, for the benefit of the entire community. “Anand Chhaya” will provide health care services to the seniors at subsidized rates, so that neither the families nor the seniors themselves neglect their health.
The inauguration was met with a resounding response. More than 300 residents of the community attended the event, and the first day saw 65 elders registering for the services.
“Anand Chhaya” is not only the result of the effort put in by the members of the SRCF family but also the result of the kindness of people who shared our dream and donated to the cause. We thank each and every donor for helping us realize our dream.
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