medical and educational rehabilitation for physically and mentally challenged
persons is most convenient when all services are available under one roof. This
is a great benefit for parents and caregivers, who are guided in the right
direction by a team of professionals taking care of all the needs of the
children with disabilities.
little away from the hustle-bustle of the busy main roads of Annanagar, Chennai
in South India, is located a home for persons with physical and mental
a Sanskrit word for "Friendship", extends a warm hand of friendship to the
physically and mentally challenged persons with special needs, students like
those afflicted with polio, cerebral palsy, autism, mental
What makes MITHRA's contribution to society
services offered at MITHRA include Special school, Occupational and
Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy and Vocational training. An Out-Patient
department for general medicine, psychiatry and dental consultation is open to
general public. MITHRA offers advice and guidance regarding government grants
and concessions to the disabled persons.
top it all, residential facilities are also offered to the children who come
under the care of the institute and to their mothers who wish to stay with
their children to avail the training. Boys and girls live in segregated
dormitories and all of them come together to contribute towards maintaining the
hostel and dining hall. MITHRA also grows a kitchen garden of its own that caters
to the dietary needs of the residents.
about 150 children with intellectual disability and cerebral palsy receive services and
training at MITHRA. Among these, 80 children are residential, some of whose
parents are also given accommodation. About 45 children come in as day scholars
for a comprehensive intervention program to undergo physiotherapy, occupational therapy and
training in self-help skills and vocational rehabilitation. The remaining come
as out-patients for therapy alone.
How and when was MITHRA established?
Rehabilitation Center was established on 19th
March 1977, founded by
Sr. Mary Theodore, in commemoration of the birth centenary celebration of
St. Thomas, the Apostle in India. Sr. Theodore was inspired to do something
worthwhile for the most neglected section of the society - the physically and mentally challenged
children, especially those who are born in low income families. She served as
the first area director for Special Olympics in India and was the first President
of the State Level Federation of Organizations for persons with disabilities.
Sr. Theodore passed away in the year 2012, leaving behind a landmark along with
a dedicated staff that will carry on her services for a long time.
is a registered society. The general council members elect the Managing
Committee and Dr. Sukumar is the Hon. Secretary and Executive Director in-charge of all day
to day activities.
Rehabilitation Center is an institute that offers various services and training
to the physically and mentally disabled children and adults.
Closer look at how MITHRA operates
social worker in MITHRA first takes in the history, background information of
the child and provides counseling to the parents regarding the disability, ways
of handling, what can be done, etc. Then the child is referred to the various
departments of MITHRA, like physiotherapy,
and special school sections. The parents are also
given assistance to obtain concessions for train and bus travel. Placement
issues, interactions with siblings and neighbors are some of the topics that
are involved in counseling.
special school consists of various classes, with one teacher handling a maximum
of nine students. Students in each class are of a mixed group, with various
levels of intellectual disability grouped in together. This kind of
categorization has facilitated the kids to mingle with each other and also find
joy in each other's achievements thus encouraging them to perform better.
Curriculum for 'special needs' students
curriculum for the special needs students is based on individual needs of the
child, and aims to realize a child's potential towards academic and functional
growth. An array of toys in the toy library includes a lot of educational toys
that also kindle the various sense organs with their bright colors and texture.
Play therapy sessions are an integral part of the daily activities with various
indoor and outdoor games.
Occupational therapy department caters to the occupational needs of about 50
children, coming in twice or thrice a week as per their requirement.
Desensitizing the sense organs is the main goal of occupational therapy and the
therapist uses various kinds of equipments, toys and objects to make the child
feel the environment around him or her. A special room for visual and auditory
stimulation incorporates colored lighting systems and various kinds of sounds
and is the main feature of the department of occupational therapy. Cognitive
skills such as thinking, memory, perception and problem solving are encouraged
in the children for attaining optimum well being and independence. The day
students are accompanied by their parents, while the residential students are
brought in by the care-givers of the center.
physiotherapy department also attends to the needs of about 60 children, to
provide support in standing, exercises to strengthen muscles and other
activities. Those who are obese are taught aerobics to manage their weight.
Various equipments and supportive stands with braces can be found in the
physiotherapy department that helps the children achieve maximum mobility. The
physiotherapy department also offers shortwave diathermy, wax bath, traction,
interferential therapy, ultra sound, etc for out-patients who come with
Caring for children with special needs -Team
work among MITHRA's staff
dedicated staff in the Special School, physiotherapy and occupational therapy
and the vocational training departments is very much committed towards their
goal of bringing the best out of the special children. They proudly display the
achievements of their students, who come up with great display of colors in a
picture or a beautiful piece of embroidery work. They are patient and openly
show their pleasure when it comes to encouraging the children. They are also
genuinely caring towards the students and keep them busy with activities based
on individual performance abilities.
Vocational training for older 'special'children
training for older children who are intellectually or physically disabled is
also provided at MITHRA. Various beautiful designs of candles are made by them
with the guidance of a qualified trainer. Embroidery is taught to students who
then come up with beautifully done cushion covers and jute bags. Other things
like envelop making, block printing, weaving, etc are also taught to the
disabled older children. Tailoring is taught to girls coming from low income
groups coming from the nearby areas. The end products are sold in stalls that
are arranged in exhibitions and colleges. Some corporate bodies also encourage
these stalls to be arranged in the various offices so that the children can
showcase their ability and bring in contributions to their institutes.
Rehabilitation Center is one of the special education schools which caters to
all challenged children irrespective of the economic status of the admitted
child. The contributions are made by parents according to their income status.
While these contributions from the parents take care of about one-fifth of the
total expenditure per month, various donors come in to offer help, whether in
terms of cash or kind. MITHRA invites volunteers from various colleges,
National Social Service groups, Social workers students, etc to volunteer in
any way and involve themselves in the service of these special children. The
donations to MITHRA are eligible for tax exemption.
Special care for grown up girls and women with
from the above mentioned services, MITHRA also takes in some of the grown up
girls and women with intellectual disability under its wings to provide
accommodation, food and most importantly, protect them from the unwanted
elements of the society. Parents of the students report that they have never
been so happy because their children are taken care of very well here. They
feel at home and find a lot of improvement in the child's ability not only in
terms of communication and learning but also in exploring the world outside and
within themselves. Educable children are trained to appear for 10th
grade exams under the National Institute of Open School
stands true to its name, a friend indeed, because it extends its hands of
friendship to those who are in need.
in touch with MITHRA: Mithra
Rehabilitation Centre, D-171 R.V.Nagar, Anna nagar, Chennai 600102. INDIA.
P: +91(44)26633708 Organization Website: www.mithra.org.in