Six-year old Subhranil looks at the overcast skies. He is playing with his ball in the streets, just outside his house. It’s that time of the year when the nor’westers’ bring relief from the rising humidity.
But Subhranil’s mother Rupali, has put up her entire laundry on the terrace to dry. The forty year old homemaker is cooking lunch. The little boy understands that if he is not able to alert his mother on time, her efforts would go to waste and she will be burdened with additional work!
The playful child runs inside, gestures to his mother, perfectly communicating with her, to pick up the laundry from the line, for it is going to rain.
Subhranil Mukherjee is a deaf child.
Their story was shared by Rupali, at the parent’s networking meeting organised by VAANI at North Bengal Handicapped Rehabilitation Society (NBHRS), Siliguri in April this year.
VAANI and NBHRS have been partners since January 2011, working together to bring communication into the lives of deaf children within their families and society at large.
Rupali opines that the skills training technical expertise provided by VAANI and its partner in areas of communication and education, reading, writing among others has brought about an immense change in the life of her boy and their family.
In terms of ‘how to communicate’, by both speaking and signing with a deaf child, she feels that Subhranil and her family have made immense progress. The fruits of this can be seen in the development in his interaction with his parents and neighbours.
One of the main reasons why VAANI is consolidating the formation of parents’ group is for ‘parents to share with each other’ and ‘motivate other parents of deaf children’, states Niladri S Chakrabortty, Asst. Programme Officer (East), VAANI.
He feels that when parents with the same plight share their ‘everyday experiences’ a sense of ‘belonging’ is brought in and this ‘encourages others’, especially those who would make themselves believe that having a disabled child in the family may be a burden.