Transcending Challenges

Transcending Challenges

Special children have been in the news recently for their remarkable achievements. Here’s another bright feather in their caps. Since last month special children from Anand Dighe Jiddh School and St John the Baptist School for Children in Need of Special Care have been learning a sport that not many students attempt – roller skating! And what’s more, according to their trainers, these children are learning the technique of skating twice as fast as other children. The special children never fail to surprise us, do they?

Special Skating.jpg

Team Galaxy International Roller and Ice Skating Club of India, based in Mulund and with several offshoots in Thane, approached the special schools and offered free training to their students. The founders of the institute thought that because special children hardly ever get to play such sports, a free course will do a world of good to their athletic abilities. Besides, training them in skating will enable these students to participate in the Special Olympics next year.

So, from September 2005, every week, the trainers have been carrying free skates to the schools and training the special students in the art of roller-skating. When the trainers, Avadoot Tawde and Rahul Panandikar first started their training, the special children had never even seen a pair of roller skates before. But in no time, they got the hang of skating and soon wanted to try it themselves. According to Tawde, “Though it was difficult to train them initially, they learned faster.” Pandandiklar adds, “They respond to demonstration and action more than verbal explanations. Other than that, we don’t see much difference in the skills between them and other children.” There’s one important difference that is reflected in their attitude towards the sport: because special children don’t get to dabble with such sports often, they seem to value it more than others.

Unlike other children, skating is not merely an enjoyable sport for the special children, it is also a means of physical activity that improves the coordination of their body movements. According to experts, skating is beneficial to special children because it tends to balance vestibular stimuli and improves reflexes of the skater. The resultant psychological benefit is increased self-confidence, which helps them in living a more positive life.

Come December, these students will participate in the skating competition organised by Team Galaxy, which will, for the first time, have an event reserved for the special children. They will once again prove that they can transcend from their mental and physical disabilities and rise to the challenge. Perhaps these children are called ‘challenged’ because time and again they challenge every obstacle that comes in their way. And in doing so, they challenge our notion of them as disabled.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *