SOU.SAVITA KAMAT VIDYAMANDIR: In October 1986, we started our 'School for Mentally Handicapped Children' with only 9 students in the school. We now have about 150 students in the School. A well trained and dedicated teaching staff of 7 special teachers ,3 craft teachers & 20support staff educate the children in different skills to make them as much self sufficient as possible.

The curriculum is focused on the daily living skills & pre-vocational skills rather than pure academics. It is individualized according to the child's needs & capacities. Various innovative teaching methods which are activity based are in use here and the School has won prize for developing innovative teaching material in the past.

The Principal of the school was nominated to the 5 member committee set up by the Government of Maharashtra state to develop new common curriculum for the special schools for the Mentally Handicapped.

VARSHA CHOKSI CHILD GUIDANCE CLINIC: Here, twice a week, experts like a Psychiatrist, a Clinical Psychologist, a Paediatrician, a Social Worker & a Special Educator work in a team to evaluate & manage the problem child. All new cases are first assessed in detail before their admission to School / workshop. The parents are counselled about managing & educating these children at home. About 30 – 40 new children are seen here every year.

SHAMRAO BHIDE WORKSHOP FOR MENTALLY HANDICAPPED: In July 1992, we started our 'Workshop for Mentally Handicapped' to give vocational training to mentally handicapped persons who were above 18 years in age. We now have about75students in the Workshop who are trained by the dedicated teaching staff in various productive vocational activities like making Candles, Rexin bags, Cloth bags, Envelopes, Greeting cards, Rakhees, Furniture Items, Handicraft items, and Food items for snacks & meals, so that they could be rehabilitated in some gainful occupation. In addition, there are various exhibitions held by the local Women’s Organisations, Lion’s club etc., where we display & sell our products.

PRODUCTION CENTER: The students who are trained in the workshop are later given opportunity to work in the production center. Here the trained students work under the supervision of trained staff to produce Candles, Rexin bags, Cloth bags, Envelopes, Files, Greeting cards, Rakhees, Furniture items and Handicraft items. A small food outlet named 'Swadishta' (Delicious) is run under this activity where tea, cold drinks and snacks are sold. .’. In addition, there are various exhibitions held by the local Women’s Organisations, Lion’s club etc., where we display & sell our products.

40% OF THE INCOME GENERATED FROM THE SALE OF PRODUCTS IS GIVEN TO THE CHILDREN.

ASPIRATION-DAY CARE CENTRE: WE HAVE recently started a day care facility programme for Pre-school group from 3 to 6 years of age having Mental Retardation, Autism, Cerebral Palsy & Multiple disability belonging to low income group and below poverty line families.

The centre has started functioning regularly from June 2008. Presently 12 children from below poverty line group and 15children from low income group attend the centre. The children from below poverty line group receive all services free including food & transport. The children from low income group receive partial financial assistance for these services. By the time these children reach the age of 6 years, they are ready to enter the school for further special education.

EARLY INTERVENTION UNIT: The children from birth upto 3 years of age receive sensory stimulation and physiotherapy here UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF Physiotherapists and Pediatrician Efforts taken at such an early age have shown very promising results in reducing the disability. The parents are also trained to handle these children at home. There are 25 children at present in this centre.

REHABILITATION & PLACEMENT: We have a record of at least 25 students who have completed training in the workshop & are gainfully employed in the society, either in the industry or by way of self employment. Two of them have been employed in the workshop and two in the school itself as a helpers, office boys or classroom attendants.

TRAINING OF PRIMARY TEACHERS: In rural area, there is a lack of awareness about the problem of Mental handicap along with a lot of misconceptions about their management. Primary teacher is the key person in the overall management of a child in addition to the education of the child.

Training of the primary teachers about mental handicap goes a long way in improving the awareness, early detection, careful handling & proper management of the Mentally Handicapped children.

CARE-GIVER'S TRAINING COURSE: The National Trust, for people with Mental Retardation, Autism, Cerebral Palsy & Multiple disability was formed by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India in 2002. Under their reach & relief scheme, trained care-givers will be made available for home based care of these disabled persons.

Aavishkar was one of the few organizations selected to implement this programme. We have successfully completed the 6months training programme of the first batch.

THE CARE GIVERS HAVE NOW BEEN ABSORBED IN REGULAR WORK.

AWARENESS BUILDING ACTIVITIES: Monthly Birthday Programme is celebrated in the institute where all the students from school & workshop COME together to celebrate the birthdays of the students whose birthday falls in the particular month. Prominent personalities from various fields are invited for the same as guests. This experience when shared by the guests among their relatives & friends, greatly increases their awareness and sensitizes them about the problem of mentally handicapped & their capacity to develop into a self-reliant individual.

Apart from this, various cultural programmes are arranged in the school which ARE shown on local TV channel, Radio & Newspapers. Talks & features are also prepared for these media to increase the awareness about the problems of mentally handicapped.