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Ear for the unheard

- Trust enables 180 born with impairment

Jamshedpur, Feb. 23: Deepak Lal has long overcome the handicap of hearing impairment. He is now an accountant in an automobile ancillary unit at Adityapur industrial area, having completed B.Com from Jamshedpur Co-operative College and learnt computer financial packages. The youth is also pursuing chartered accountancy.

Rashmi Kumari, who is also hearing-impaired, is an intern with Tata Steel after completing BCA from Jamshedpur Women College.

Deepak and Rashmi are among 180 youths who were born with hearing and speech impairment and never dreamt of leading a normal life until they enrolled in the Centre for Hearing Impaired Children (CHIC).

It helped them not only to hear but also speak.

A charitable trust located in Northern Town and patronised by Tata Steel, CHIC, since inception in 1989, has changed the lives of hundreds of deaf and mute children by teaching them how to listen and speak.

The centre, which does not believe in teaching sign language, develops the auditory skills of a child through special methods.

Speaking to The Telegraph today on the sidelines of the annual sports of its current lot of children (32), CHIC vice-chairperson Deepika Lall said the centre had so far integrated 180 students in mainstream schools.

“We are the only institution in the eastern region providing all facilities — therapist, audiologist and technicians — under one roof. We provide auditory verbal training in which one learns to talk through listening. We do not encourage sign language, as children then stop trying to hear and speak, making their integration into the mainstream difficult,” said Lall.

The centre, which recently began cochlear implants for those who can afford through its audiologist Sanjay Mishra, has planned massive expansion in view of the increasing number of hearing impaired children.

“We have decided on expansion plans by adding two classrooms (besides two existing ones), making the auditorium soundproof (through acoustic tiles so that voices do not echo for help in music and dance sessions) and enhancing the staff of therapist, audiologist and technicians (who make moulds for ears),” added Lall.

The expansion plans, which will come into effect next fiscal year, will have an expenditure of nearly Rs 15 lakh.

The cochlear implant costs Rs 8 lakh. Five children have benefited from it with surgeries carried out by audiologist Sanjay Mishra.

Children, who come for therapy, should preferably be in 1-4 age group, as it is the peak period for an individual to grasp words and sentences from elders. However, the therapy can go for several years. Children are given hearing aids so that they can catch the words spoken.

Several children who have completed training and are studying in mainstream schools spoke about the role of the institution in making them compete with other children during annual sports.


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