by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on  February 12, 2015 at 2:59 PM Medindia Exclusive - Interviews and In depth Reports
Placement Opportunities for the Intellectually Disabled
Persons with intellectual disability or mental retardation often face the challenge of being economically independent. Perceived limitations of their ability to perform simple tasks and their self-help skills give rise to doubts about their output when employed. Trust steps in to train individuals with intellectual disability and help them realize their worth as contributing individuals.

Situated aptly amidst the industrial surroundings of Ambattur, Chennai, Navajyothi Trust receives orders of assembling and packing of small components from the nearby automobile industries. Here, the young adults who are mentally challenged take up the job of completing those orders. These intellectually disabled adolescent and adult boys undergo training for a period of 3 years to learn to handle simple jobs of assembling components, using nuts and bolts, checking and congregating the contents and packing them.

It all started with two very severely disabled children - an autistic girl and a boy with intellectual disability and physically malformed body. The boy was the son of Mr.D.J.K. Cornelius' partner. Seeing his plight of helplessness, Mr. Cornelius, an engineer and businessman, was determined to bring them into the society as contributing individuals. He set his engineering mind to work and designed simple gadgets and tools to enable the persons with intellectual disability to perform repetitive tasks. He got them orders from nearby small scale industries and helped them earn their living.

Vocational training and placement opportunities are offered to the fully trained intellectually disabled young adults in Navjyothi Trust. The Trust was founded by Mr.D.J.K. Cornelius, in the year 1969 as a Public Charitable and Educational Trust dedicated to the habilitation for the Adolescent-Adult persons with mental retardation.

Navjyothi Trust currently works in the following areas concerning persons with intellectual disability:
  • Behaviour modification and counseling for persons with intellectual disability
  • Assisting in obtaining legal aid for families
  • Family counseling
  • Vocational training for persons with intellectual disability
  • Environmental restructures - designing and consultation
  • Setting up work centers
  • Assistance in employment of the persons with intellectual disability
  • Human resource training for instructors in vocational rehabilitation of the persons with intellectual disability
  • Research and Publication
When a young adult with intellectual disability joins Navjyothi Trust, he has to undergo 3 years of training.

Pre-vocational training encompasses the following aspects.
  • Behaviour modification
  • Training in self-help skills
  • Training for housekeeping jobs, involving the parents
  • Communication skills - verbal or non-verbal
  • Money concepts and time management
  • Independent travel - Home to work and back
  • Light engineering and assembly jobs, involving gross motor skills
Vocational training-Part I involves training in the following issues:
  • Aptitude testing and personal interest
  • Use of single hand for small jobs at work
Vocational training-Part II involves:
  • Using both hands simultaneously
  • Fine motor coordination
  • Using tools and simple machines
  • On the job training
The trainees also have some leisure activities such as yoga, craft, cooking, cleaning, and gardening, in addition to a day of outing.

The Salient Features of Navjyothi Trust Institute of Mental Retardation

Environmental Restructuring: What make Navjyothi Trust special are the models of environmental restructures that enable the maximal utilization of the potential in persons with disabilities.

Being an engineer himself, Mr. Cornelius came upon the idea of restructuring the tools for persons with intellectual disability to make it easier for them to give best possible output. Some of the machines are re-designed for them to make the work simpler and also increase the accuracy.

For example:
  • A roller is used for packing boxes for Brakes India Ltd
  • Assembling oil-can dispensers for TI cycles
Human Resource Training: Navjyothi Trust has developed a special course captioned Diploma in Vocational Rehabilitation (Mental Retardation), called DVR-MR. This is a one-year long certificate course that covers the theoretical and practical aspects of working with the adults with intellectual disability in their work environment and placing them in their jobs. The students who take this diploma are usually working in the field of rehabilitation of mentally retarded children or adults. The course is recognized by Rehabilitation Council of India.

Employing the Intellectually Disabled: Navjyothi Trust takes up orders from companies like Delfi TVS, Brakes India, TI Diamond Chain and Turbo for small parts assembling and packing. These orders are packed by the persons with intellectual disability, who have been trained and instructed to do these simple jobs. Najyothi Trust pays them a monthly salary to make them independent and make them truly contributing members of the society.

A special scale called Vocational Competence Scale has been designed for determining the residual capabilities of the persons with profound intellectual disability. This enables the right job placement and utilizes their capability to the maximum productivity.

Every year, about 8 intellectually disabled pass out as fully trained to explore their placement opportunities either in Navjyothi Trust or elsewhere. Some of these students are employed by small scale industries in and around Ambattur. Such students are given continuous support to cope up with the new work environment or change of job at hand that they face at their work place.

The small scale industries that employ the trained students believe that these students are consistent and punctual workers. They are happy with the kind of dedication shown by the trained intellectually disabled and pay them for their work too.

Name of the Institute: Navajyothi Trust Institute of Mental Retardation

Address: 40, Menambedu Road, SIDCO Industrial Estate, Chennai - 600098

Phone No: 044-26257615

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