“We fail, as a society, to respect the word ‘disability’. We focus more on what one cannot do rather than on what one can do,” Khawar Sultana, a clinical psychologist at Amin Maktab, said on Tuesday.
Amin Maktab is the oldest institution in Lahore for intellectually challenged children.
Established in 1961 by the Pakistan Society for the Welfare of Mentally Retarded Children (PSWMRC), Amin Maktab celebrated its golden jubilee this year. As many as 85 children are enrolled at the Amin Maktab located near Firdous Market. They are taught in nine groups based on their abilities. The institute also runs an Inclusive Education Programme and an Outreach Programme for children with special needs.
“We often tell a story through two puppets, Motoo and Mina,” Sultana said. Motoo is an ordinary inquisitive child who asks questions about the needs of children with disabilities. Mina provides the answers,” she said. The IEP focuses on enabling the children to communicate and to deal with money. “We want to focus on providing the child with practical learning skills in line with their capabilities,” she said.
Nuzhat Rubab, a psychologist at Amin Maktab, believes a lack of social acceptance inflicts greater pain on children with disabilities.
Started in 1988 in collaboration with the UNICEF, the Outreach Program (ORP) has educated more than 3, 000 children. Currently 418 children are benefitting from it. The programme helps families of children in the ‘severe’ to ‘profound’ impairment categories.