In conversation with Zeeshan and Ashraf – Myths and facts about Intellectual disability

Syed Muhammad Ashraf is a student at International School of Choueifat- Abu Dhabi. During his short trip to Pakistan, owing to summer vacations, he wanted to make his presence count in Pakistan. In pursuit of helping the deprived, and to find the right channel, Ashraf knocked NVP!

It was a Wednesday morning, when he walked in at NVP office to have one-to-one meeting. Ashraf was of the view to volunteer his time and make his skills productive. Keeping in view his choice of work NVP team offered him an assignment at Dewa Academy for the role of Academic Coordinator.

Ashraf met the CEO and team at Dewa Academy. He was assigned to conduct a class ‘Sunshine’ designed for adults of up to 22 years. These kids are active in doing their routine work like taking food, running cycle, playing games etc. However, they are a bit slow learner when it comes to reading and studying.

Ashraf was appointed to assist his instructor during physical therapy exercise or checking their work in class. Zeeshan Soomro, incharge of autism unit at Dewa, guides Ashraf about mentality of these children, as they accept love and generosity instead of coercive way of teaching. It helps in increasing their ability to learn and improve reading habits.

In a conversation with Ashraf:

Kindly brief us how you adjusted yourself within Dewa academy?

In the beginning, students treated me as a stranger and they tend to get frightened, every time I tried to mingle with them. However, with a consistent effort, I brought them all in a comfort zone with the help of engaging activities and making them enjoy their time.

I had meaningful time with these kids. They taught me how to cope up with challenges and face the real world. No doubt, I found NVP a professional platform where a volunteer can offer services.

Ashraf’s volunteer supervisor, Zeeshan Soomro, who started to work at Dewa Academy 12 years back as an Art Instructor, says:

In order to train students, we need to go to the level of that student. If a student is of age 3.5 years then I have to picture myself the same to deal with him/her. I look after their hygiene problem, sex awareness, communication, socialization, cognitive development, self-help, and ADL (activity of daily living skills). We also need to focus on child’s sensory integration. In short, all efforts are to develop the civic sense in a student to behave consciously in the society.

How NVP can be of your help?

We do not necessarily need professionals. Rather, we need people who have desire to work with special children. Offering these kids food, guiding them to drink water or playing with them is also a skill. These kids are basically visual learners.

We need volunteers who have intention to serve the community, should be of creative mind and artistic. We highly recommend volunteers who join us, should not have favoritism or strong friendship with these kids, as they get disturb when a volunteer signs off his/her assignment.

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