Spandan’s Holistic Multidisciplinary Functioning
At Spandan, we realize that each child is unique. We work on the principle of understanding each child’s psychology and learning the mechanism of best unleashing their latent potential. This is the organization where the body, mind, and soul of a child is addressed under one roof. We are able to do this with the help of homeopathy, medical and paramedical experts, academicians, and psychologists, working together as a team. Our team experiments with teaching methods and techniques used all over the world to suit them to our needs. Thus, we can develop the intelligence and thinking capacities of our children. Our students come from all strata of society, including the poorest and most disabled children of society.
How is the curriculum designed?
We design our curriculum individually for each of our children. It is done in a way so as to enable a child to interpret information both in verbal and written forms. We focus on developing a child’s judgment ability and his or her grasping power. We also aim at gaining psychosomatic stability in the child and set the syllabus as per the child’s needs – training for the NIOS exam, vocational training, functional education, etc. For autistic children, the focus is on language and communication development and correcting bad behavior. The curriculum is flexible. The teachers set achievable goals for the children, and based on their progress they modify the curriculum.
How are the students taught?
The teachers at Spandan modify traditional teaching methods to make the subject less difficult to teach. They make use of various teaching aids, charts, flashcards, experiments, etc. They take the students out for field trips so that the students can actually learn from experience. Our children are tested regularly to ensure frequent revision of the material taught to them. Our teachers combine teaching with various therapies, such as water therapy, music, and dance, occupational therapy, yoga, sports, etc. This develops their mental faculties and enables them to learn better. But what helps the children the most is that although the curriculum is well rounded and structured, it is not rigid. It is flexible as per the child’s needs and progress. Thus, we can ensure that the child is not bound to a fixed set of lessons, but gets the freedom to learn whatever he or she is lacking and attain whatever goal is set for him or her optimally. This raises their self-esteem and enhances their performance
Based on the disability and the capabilities of the children that come across during the Educational Evaluation of the child by our team of professionals, the children are divided into different batches: Sunflower, Rose, Lilly, Tulip, or Lotus. We are training our children for Pratham Open School exams. Pratham is the largest NGO working toward quality education for all. In order to help the children appear for the class X exams, they conduct level A (Class 3), level B (Class 4 and 5), and Level C (Class 6 and 7) as a strong foundation.
Other than academics, we teach our students pre-vocational skills in order to enable them to be independent, useful members of society.
HOMOEOPATHY in itself is a HOLISTIC SCIENCE that considers and treats the ‘entire person’ and not only the mere external symptoms. Homoeopathic medicines do not act on merely one particular organ of an individual but it has a much deeper and central action on psychoneurodocrinological and psychoimmunological axis. It promotes the growth gradient and hence facilitates the process of development.
In Autism there is a phenomenon of Neuro-psychological regression. It is characterized by aberrations of sensitivity, behavioral disturbances, etc. Some children are extremely sensitive to sensory inputs like light, noise, touch, etc. On the mental plane, they have excessive fears, violence, destructiveness, etc. Some children also present with sleeplessness, appetite disturbances.
Thus homoeopathic medicines play a crucial role in the management of Autism.
The Homoeopathic Medicines:
- Bring about moderation in sensitivity disturbances
- Improve hyperactivity and hence enhance the attention span of a child.
- Help in controlling emotional disturbances
- Promote growth processes and intellectual faculties.
- Act as immuno modulators and promote the general RESISTANCE POWER of the system
- Help in managing underlying neurological, genetic, metabolic problems.
- DO NOT HAVE any adverse or depressing neuro-physiological side effects.
Occupational therapy is a health care profession concerned with a person’s ability to perform daily occupations, including self-care, productive, and leisure activities. The goal of occupational therapy in the school system is to maximize the occupational performance of the student with special needs and inculcate the skills required for successful functioning in school. School performance in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, manipulation of tools, physical education, independence with self-care tasks, and social integration are dependent on gross motor and fine motor abilities, visual motor integration, and visual perceptual skills.
Occupational therapy is provided to improve performance in the following areas:
- Gross and fine motor skills
- Cognitive perceptual skills
- Visual motor skills
- Sensory integration
- Motor planning skills
- Activities of daily living (ADL Training)
- Play skills
- Socio-emotional skills
This is achieved by training in the following areas:
- Behavior modification
- Perceptual training
- Pre-vocational training
- Fine and gross motor areas
- Social skills training
- Computer training
About one-third of Autistic children are unable to communicate effectively with others because of poorly developed speech. For these children, speech therapy not only benefits their speech but helps in improving the overall communication of the child. Autistic children may face the following communication challenges:
- Trouble with eye contact and gestures, and other nonverbal gestures
- Trouble understanding the meaning of words outside the context where they were learned
- Memorization of things heard without knowing what’s been said
- Reliance on echolalia as the main way to communicate
- Little understanding of the meaning of words or symbols
- Lack of creative language
Speech therapy goes a long way in eliminating these problems. It enables the child to communicate his or her needs thus helping the development of the child.
NDT is a holistic and interdisciplinary clinical practice model informed by current and evolving research that emphasizes individualized therapeutic handling based on movement analysis for habilitation and rehabilitation of individuals with neurological pathophysiology. The therapist uses the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) model in a problem-solving approach to assess activity and participation, thereby to identify and prioritize relevant integrities and impairments as a basis for establishing achievable outcomes with clients and caregivers.
Instructors Group of NDTA, The NDT/Bobath (Neuro-Developmental Treatment/Bobath) Definition.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Mood Disorders:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy has demonstrated strong effectiveness in the treatment of mood disorders (Sexton, 1995a). Cognitive interventions can modify dysfunctional thoughts that maintain depression, hopelessness, and low self-esteem. Similarly, behavior change strategies such as activity scheduling and systematic decision making can reduce the severity of depression, counteract the inertia and confusion often associated with depression, and promote feelings of mastery and competence. The collaborative nature of CBT, as well as its clear rationale and its use of structure and achievable goals, also enhances its effect in treating depression.
Parker, Roy, and Eyers (2003) conducted a meta-analysis of the efficacy of CBT in treating depression. They concluded that this approach was most effective with mild or moderate depression and that the combination of CBT and medication was more effective in treating depression than either alone.
Applied Behavior Analysis:
Behavior analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. Positive reinforcement is one such principle. When a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated. Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning.
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the use of these techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior.
As mentioned, behavior analysts began working with young children with autism and related disorders in the 1960s. Early techniques often involved adults directing most of the instruction. Some allowed the child to take the lead. Since that time, a wide variety of ABA techniques have been developed for building useful skills in learners with autism – from toddlers through adulthood.
These techniques can be used in structured situations such as a classroom lesson as well as in “everyday” situations such as family dinnertime or the neighborhood playground. Some ABA therapy sessions involve one-on-one interaction between the behavior analyst and the participant. Group instruction can likewise prove useful.
How Does ABA Benefit Those with Autism?
Today, ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism. It has been endorsed by a number of state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Surgeon General and the New York State Department of Health. Over the last decade, the nation has seen a particularly dramatic increase in the use of ABA to help persons with autism live happy and productive lives. In particular, ABA principles and techniques can foster basic skills such as looking, listening, and imitating, as well as complex skills such as reading, conversing, and understanding another person’s perspective.
Relationship Development Intervention:
Relationship Development Intervention® (RDI) is a family-based, behavioral treatment designed to address autism’s core symptoms. Developed by psychologist Steven Gutstein, Ph.D., it builds on the theory that “dynamic intelligence” is key to improving quality of life for individuals with autism. Dr. Gutstein defines dynamic intelligence as the ability to think flexibly. This includes appreciating different perspectives, coping with change, and integrating information from multiple sources (e.g. sights and sounds).
RDI’s six objectives are:
- Emotional Referencing: The ability to learn from the emotional and subjective experiences of others
- Social Coordination: The ability to observe and control behavior to successfully participate in social relationships
- Declarative language: The ability to use language and non-verbal communication to express curiosity, invite interactions, share perceptions and feelings and coordinate with others
- Flexible thinking: The ability to adapt and alter plans as circumstances change
- Relational information processing: The ability to put things into context and solve problems that lack clear cut solutions
- Foresight and hindsight: The ability to anticipate future possibilities based on past experiences
Activities in water are fun and enjoyable and have many physical, psychosocial, cognitive, and recreational benefits. It provides an ideal medium to exercise, especially for children with Autism. Warm water also reduces the spasticity in muscles and relaxes them.
For Autistic children, water therapy provides:
- Therapeutic play-based functional movement
- Improvement in the range of motion
- Help in facilitating neurodevelopmental growth
- Improvement in overall body awareness
- Increase in balance
- Sensory integration and mobility skills
Music and Dance:
Music therapy helps in treating autistic children, but it has to be applied with kids in mind. It should not be too complicated for them to follow. Music that engages autistic children in dancing and singing works very well in helping them communicate and develop social skills. Autistic children respond to music by singing in the same note, and some of them may even start communicating through singing. They may take up an instrument to play, and this will help them gain interest in acquiring a certain skill. Music therapy can help different autistic patients in different ways, but generally, it is beneficial to them because it makes them more responsive to things around them.
The reason behind such a great response to music is that autistic children do not engage in normal social activities, and music sessions give them an opportunity to express themselves. Music therapy for an autistic child starts with learning how to play a musical instrument, as he or she may get intimidated by human contact. Slowly, the therapy moves on to include singing and even dancing, if the child shows interest in such activities. This gives the child an emotional outlet as well as a sense of fulfillment, which was lacking in the past because of limited social activity.
If implemented appropriately, the addition of physical activity to the routine of an autistic child can help him or she overcome many of these challenges and improves the child’s overall quality of life. Sports are important to maintain optimum fitness levels. Frequent participation in sports activities improves balance, speed, agility, strength, flexibility, and endurance.
Exercise and sports also play a role in behavior modification. They help the child reduce behaviors such as head-nodding, body spinning, hand-flapping, etc. which interfere with the child’s social interactions. They also help in reducing self-injurious and aggressive behaviors. The repetitive actions involved in running and swimming may distract the other repetitive behaviors associated with Autism.
Besides improving fitness, motor function, and behavior in individuals with autism, among the most important advantages of physical activity are the social implications of participating in sports and exercise. Physical activity can promote self-esteem, increase general levels of happiness, and can lead to positive social outcomes, all highly beneficial outcomes for individuals with autism. For those with autism who are able to participate in team sports, this presents an opportunity to develop social relationships among teammates and learn how to recognize the social cues required for successful performance on the field or court. However, individuals that prefer individual sports such as running or swimming that do not rely as heavily on social cues may still benefit from the positive attributes of physical activity while forming social relationships with coaches or trainers. In all cases, participating in sports provides individuals with autism with a role in society that may not have existed otherwise.
Yoga represents the way of life that endows perfect health – physical, mental, moral, and spiritual so that what is ignoble in man is submitted to what is most noble in him. To achieve this great art and science of life, a comprehensive practical system of self-culture has been formulated. This system through the development of one’s body, mind, and psychic potencies, ultimately leads to physical strength and further and further on to spiritual consciousness.