Mothers of children with special needs host sports meet

The voluntary organisation (registered) has Annapoorni Ramakrishnan, Jisha Rajesh, Devaki Balaji, Grace Santosh and sports coach Satish Kumar as trustees.

The idea to do something together was conceived more than two years ago but due to the pandemic the plan did not take off.

We bump into each other at schools, therapy centres; and these interactions have only given us strength to do something for children on the spectrum, say the moms.

On January 5, the Foundation held a sports meet at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for children on the spectrum, inviting participants from various special schools. Siva V Meyyanathan, minister for environment, climate change youth welfare and sports development was the chief guest.

“We received more than 400 registrations but due to the current restrictions called due to the increase in COVID cases, we stopped with 250,” says Grace Santosh. A host of events like 100 meter running, standing jump, short put, bocha ball and relay race were conducted.

The sports fest was a platform to allow the special needs children have a field day and not put any restrictions on them.

“My 12-year-old sang the Tamil Thai Valthu. Tell me where will he get such an opportunity to get on stage, perform before an audience and not be scolded if there are mistakes,” says Annapoorni.

Preparation for the sports event started over a month ago, each taking up a role. Satish, a swimming coach, with his network of friends got other instructors to help him. The events chosen had to be friendly to the special children.

“We wanted children to participate and enjoy,” says Jisha Rajesh.

Reaching out to special schools, getting sponsors, finding a venue and inviting dignitaries was part of the responsibilities the moms enjoyed every bit.

They say they are overwhelmed with the response from the sports meet and plan to hold more such events in the future.

The mothers say the pandemic, especially the early days of the lockdown, was a stressful time for them as children had to be confined at home. The lockdown had aggravated the erratic behaviour of children and they have been looking at offering children a place to unleash their energy.

As much as the children were looking for a safe and comfortable space to develop their social skills, the parents too needed the confidence to come out.

The team say this is a humble start to work towards their dream of planning something for their children.

“The larger goal of the Foundation is a establish some kind of community exclusively for children with special needs that will take care of them and where they can live with each other’s support,” says Jisha.

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