21 October, 2020

Break The Sound Of Silence

A school where the hearing-impaired learn to speak and find their way into the mainstream

Break The Sound Of Silence
Janesh, 23, is currently studying for an engineering degree at an American university. As a student at Bala Vidyalaya, The School for Young Deaf Children, Chennai, this was a distant dream. And like many of his schoolmates, he is able to communicate without sign language.

Janesh owes it to the training he received at Bala Vidyalaya. Unlike other similar institutions, here the focus is on early intervention. In fact, most children here have been able to develop verbal language skills.

The humble beginnings of the school dates back to 1969. The current honorary principal, Saraswathi Narayanaswamy, saw a serious lacuna in the field of education for the hearing- impaired. She began in a small rent-free premises. "There were five students and two teachers—myself and a friend," she recalls. "Hearing aids with custom-made ear moulds were provided and free training was given. All five developed verbal language skills and moved to regular schools."

With 180 students currently enrolled, Bala Vidyalaya continues to be a free institution. "The child needs help from day...



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