What This School for Deaf and Blind Students Can Make You Do!

“Make children service providers, not service seekers.”

Patiala School for Deaf and Blind (India), situated in the Royal city of Patiala in Punjab and established in 1967, is the third deaf-blind school in India for the children with multiple disability of visual and hearing impairment.

A handicap can’t render life impossible. This school aims at transforming children into active service providers, not dependent service seekers! The moment  I entered the school, one thing was clear;nobody’s pity is welcome inside. The school is for the brave and those who need love and support, not sympathies.

Filled with 220+ students and 35+ teachers, the school exudes positivity. The school is divided into three sections as The school for the Deaf, The school for the Blind and The school for the Deaf and Blind.

The institution supports 150 deaf students, 70 blind students and around 3-4 deaf and blind students.

Another thing I learned about the school is that it gets no governmental support and runs entirely on donations. Considering the numerous facilities and services provided by the school to its students, it is nothing short of being miraculous.

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The school follows the Punjab Board of Education and teaches up to standard 12. It is a co-ed school and is residential in nature. It is considered to be one of the best schools of its kind in the country.

The students are provided with three meals and two refreshments a day. Classes take place from 8.30 to 1.45 and resume from 2.30 to 3.30 in the evening. The menu comprises of healthy food and ration is also bought from the moneydonated. If one wishes to provide the students a meal, he/she is also requested to serve the food.

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Saw this little munchkin!

When a deaf/blind or deaf blind student is admitted to the school, teachers and attendants take the classes teaching them basics.

Around 200 repeated exercises are practiced on a deaf student for one single letter.

They have specialized therapists who are aware of the potency of the ear and work accordingly.

The blind students have braille books, both in and out of syllabus, available to them and junior students have attendants who teach them how to walk and maintain. The school has special walking paths for the blind which makes them both comfortable and habitual of handling themselves in crowded places.

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Special walking path like dotted and lined textured for the blind.

Also, the grass patches differ. Some parts are rocky and some are smooth. It helps them define the road they are on and hence, makes them understand their walking style and body language.

There is a special library for the blind where they can come and read books of their own choice. The library is fundedby donors and is also supported by the Reliance Foundation. It is filled with novels, both fiction and non-fiction, also the syllabi notes. The students have a separate library class of forty five minutes.

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The books have braille language at the sides.The student can touch and read the title and content.
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What books in Braille look like from the inside.. 

The blind students can also play games. They have specially designed games like chess and snakes and ladder modeled for them and according to their needs. They are available to them in their classrooms and they can enjoy the fun time in between classes and also get separate game period.

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Snakes and Ladder. Notice the dice
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Chess board. The white part is sunk deep and the black part is slightly upwards.

The school has dedicated students who type for braille books. The school has computers that has a special software and supports the braille language.

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The deaf students have special skilled teachers allotted to them. The teachers are professionals and are mostly migrated. The school provides them accommodation as well. They teach the students sign language with the help of various exercises and personal guidance. They are also provided with different machines in order to understand the functioning of the ear.

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A chart that provides basic access to sign language

The teachers hardly write on the board and encourage the deaf students to write it on their own. It helps them gain confidence and gain better understanding of the content at hand. I saw most of the students helping themselves.

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The deaf students also have painting class where they draw and get those colors to paint! They have been allotted an immensely talented artist, who too is deaf,  to teach them. The classroom is full of various paintings and portraits and hand made cards. ‘

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Hand made cards

Apart from studies and sports, students indulge in a lot of extra curricular activities. They do stage, singing and also learn weaving. The weave their own dusters and also provide them to other schools. Weaving is voluntary and anyone who wishes to, can weave in the room provided separately for this purpose.  One can buy the products at 50 rupees from the school. I did and they are pretty cool!

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The weaving room

The deaf and blind students both have access to the computer and internet. They have special software downloaded to suit their needs. The machine is designed in such a manner that both the deaf as well as blind students can use the computer together at the same time. A scanner attached scans and transforms the content on the computer into a braille. The computers have a sound effective designs so the blind can hear the instructions and work to do the needful.

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The computer lab

Out of 220+ students, 180 put up in hostels. I learned that they have both summer and winter vacation of 40 days each but most of them report earlier as they feel more at home at the school.

The institution is doing a brilliant job with the kids and makes them believe in a better future. Every kid in the school is happy and takes on life and faces challenges with a head held high.

The school works entirely on donations and welcomes any voluntary work or service.

One can sponsor any child at 1500 rupees per month or 18000 rupees per year.

You can go on the link http://www.patialaschool.org/ and get to know more about their amazing work and high spirits.

At the end of my visit, I couldn’t resist sponsoring a child. Go ahead, make the choice on your own.

The smile on their faces gets a little wider.