Rotary – Thulir School for children with Autism Spectrum disorder

Thulir Integrated School New Building

We are very proud to announce the opening of Rotary-Thulir Integrated School, a first of its kind school setup in Mysore for Autistic kids, in the academic year 2016-17. The idea behind the school has been many years in the making and thanks to the vision of Rotary and the drive from Thulir Trust, autistic kids now have an unique opportunity to get into mainstream society – at their own pace and aptitude level.

The unique proposition of an Integrated School

An integrated or Inclusive school creates an environment where autistic kids who have developed skills, move into a regular classroom setup and interact and learn with other kids. It lays the foundation for a healthy society that respects and supports different talents, strengths and capabilities.

As an example, Asha a little girl of 8yrs is very comfortable in a group of autistic kids. She is able to follow instructions, excels in reading/writing and math in the group. But when put into a regular school she exhibits difficulty in sitting in class for longer periods, is unable to manage stress and starts throwing tantrums in class, needs social attention and starts disturbing the class, has a problem making friends and being socially accepted. The teacher has a difficult time trying to accommodate and understand the needs of Asha and finally it is communicated that the school isn’t equipped to deal with Asha and so she must drop out.

Parents with autistic kids are everyday living with this problem of our school infrastructure not being adequately staffed with skilled special education teachers who can hand hold their kids and teach them basic skills.

In an integrated school setup, Asha will be first trained on the basic skills and requirements to start being part of a bigger group. Once Asha has developed the minimum requisite skills, she is accompanied by the special education instructor and made to spend smaller sessions of 30mins-1hour in a regular class. Asha sits in a regular class and learns one on one from the special educator and slowly starts being a part of the group during extra-curricular sessions likes arts, dance, craft etc. Asha slowly develops her confidence and her peers in class start treating her as one of their classmates. Next Asha starts sitting in class on her own and has pull-out sessions with the special educator to continue working on her skills. Asha starts learning rules of being in a group, starts developing friends when her peers understand her and acknowledge her for who she is, enjoys the school environment and is not getting stressed as she is being accepted in the group, and she slows starts developing learning skills in curriculum topics.

Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) would be made for each child in order to help him/ her overcome the difficulties in learning. Children enrolled in Rotary Thulir school would be provided with opportunities to be integrated with normal kids in the same school whenever necessary. The school would teach basic academics, Activities of daily living skills, school readiness skills, and extracurricular activities like art and craft and music.

The coming together of Rotary Mysore and Thulir charitable Trust

The Thulir charitable trust has been successively functioning since December 2013. The trust is currently providing occupational therapy, speech therapy, special education and art and craft classes for more than 60 children with autism spectrum disorder. Among these kids around 30 of them are eligible to be enrolled in schools for academic learning. But because of their diagnosis and of their sensory motor difficulties these kids are not given opportunities to learn in the regular schools. Even if few kids are provided admissions in regular schools, they are not given special care and are mostly pulled out of school in a year or so.

The Rotary Mysore, with the vision of serving children with Autism Spectrum disorder, had constructed a school building with the plan for an integrated setup in Dattagalli, Mysore. Subsequent to their review of the Thulir Trust’s operations they have agreed to provide 4 class rooms and the infrastructure required to start the ‘Special Wing’ of the school – catering to autistic kids. In the special wing, the kids who are educable would be grouped based on their skills. The teacher student ratio would be 1:5, so that children will be given extra attention which would help them excel in academics.

How can you support the cause?

For starting up and running the school for our kids the trust is in need of the following equipment and materials. We request you to extend your support to the Nobel cause financially so that every child enrolled in the school would be able to be benefited from the ultimate mission of the trust.

Note: All donations are exempt under section 80G of the income tax act 1961.