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The importance of early diagnosis

Photo: Tanvir and his mum

“In Kolkata there are many centres to support deaf children but they don’t work. In one centre they would use a spoon and try and move my son’s tongue around. They didn’t teach us anything and it was very expensive” says Mrs Khan, mother to Tanvir Ahmed.

When Tanvir Ahmed was first diagnosed as deaf at the age of one, his mum had no idea how she would communicate with him. Mrs Khan, previously a teacher started to ask round in her neighbourhood for support. After a few failed attempts, Mrs Khan heard about the organisation, Child in Need Institute  (CINI), a partnering organisation of Deaf Child Worldwide in India.  

At first sceptical, Mrs Khan agreed to meet a CINI representative that convinced her with proper support Tanvir had the right to learn a language and could learn in school like the other children.

“We started going to the CINI centre when Tanvir was five but got support at home for Tanvir from the age of three. Tanvir started to learn Indian Sign Language, and so did I. We also learnt about new communication techniques to help the whole family communicate better with Tanvir. My husband and son are very supportive now and have learnt a lot,” adds Mrs Khan.

When Tanvir joined the mainstream school he got extra support. Tanvir’s teachers had been given sign language books and Teaching Learning Materials (TLMs) to assist Tanvir’s learning in the classroom. CINI also provided support to the teachers with deaf awareness training. Children in Tanvir’s classroom have accepted Tanvir and he’s got many friends to play with and some of the children in Tanvir’s classroom are learning sign language too.

Tanvir is really flourishing by mixing with other children and learning and playing with them. The community are aware of the work CINI is doing and Tanvir has become well known throughout the school and the community.  

Mrs Khan joined a parents’ group organised through CINI to connect and build a network of support with other parents of deaf children. Through the parents’ groups information is shared and parents learn from one another and raise deaf awareness within their communities as well as learning about benefits and services that are available.

“Now I’m a member of the parents’ groups I give support to other families. If I find out about other deaf children, I refer them to the support available through CINI.

 “Before we got help, Tanvir wasn’t very attentive, he was acting up because we couldn’t understand what he was saying, but now he gets up early, he quickly gets ready and he goes straight to school.  

“We want Tanvir to get a good quality education and now that we understand more about deafness and what services and resources are available, we hope Tanvir can go onto higher education” adds Mrs Khan.