ABILITY PERSONIFIED

Introduction

Communication is something that binds human beings together. The process involves exchange of information between the participants, one being the sender of information and the other, receiver. It’s a known fact that hearing provides a window to the world. When a person has a hearing impairment, he/she will be deprived of opportunities to experience the world of sounds around and fails to understand or make sense to the world using hearing. The result is delay in speech and language development making it difficult for academic work, recreation, vocation and other social participation.

The expedition of an impaired child’s parents from deafness to normal hearing world is the story no less than David’s victory over Goliath. Infinite number of possibilities opens up and remarkable improvements in the child occur irrespective of its impairment when we carry an optimistic notion in our minds. For this, one should be immensely unswerving and seek right guidance at right place and from right people.

Diagnosis and Treatment

This is a remarkable tale of Mr. Shivayogi B. N., alumnus, 2015/17 batch ICS Mahesh PU College, Dharwad which is nothing but a miracle as he endeavoured to make his mark amid the adversities of highest scale. At the age of two he was diagnosed with the severe hearing loss. Like many other parents, Shivayogi’s too were shattered at learning about his hearing impairment. But, as it is said that, ‘the universe conspires to materialize our ardent desires’, it wasn’t no exception in Shivayogi’s life either.

“A doctor in Dharwad confirmed Shivayogi’s speech and hearing impairment and advised us to get him treated at ‘All India Institute for Speech and Hearing’. We further admitted him at ‘Rotary West Institute for Mother and Deaf Child’ for a four-year training course. The special training provided by the educators there, Ratna Shetty in particular, helped him reading and comprehending lip movements and overcome the problem in learning” Nagaratna, Mother of Shivayogi expressed.

Primary and Secondary Education

When Shivayogi turned six, he got admitted in one of the renowned schools in Karwar i.e. KHEP High School of KPCL where his father himself was a staff member. In the years to come, to his parents’ contentment, he gradually made a mark in academics as he went on to become studious student with a command over four languages including his mother tongue. His multi-talented attribute brought him many accolades as he managed to excel not only in academics but also in extra-curricular activities. He made his parents’ hearts swell with pride when he won district as well as state level competitions in drawing and sketching.

Struggles and Overcome

Shivayogi’s life was not all bed of roses. He had his share of battles with loneliness and miscommunication. “Since childhood I have always had problems coping up with the customary society. Interacting with my peers and my family members caused irksome and tested both mine and their patience. Every day when I ascended my mood with an optimistic attitude, one or the other incident would descend my and make me aware of my disability. I used to be cynical about my abilities as there used be instances when people around me had to compromise so many aspects which sometimes made me grumpy and dejected. But then, I started seeing the brighter side of life as I started to accustom myself with rousing books and inspiring people particularly Bharat Shetty Barkar who battled similar fate as mine with optimum success. I began believing in my abilities and talents that would make some differences in the years to come. I started inculcating ethical values in me and expanded myself to broader horizons as I opened myself to different perspectives of life. My focal point was to achieve as much as possible so that I remain to be in the thick of things which gave satisfaction of a different sort. And now at the fag end of my teen, I would be dishonest if I express that my problems and conflicts have disappeared but one that truly has changed is that I have begotten an endurance to cross over the hurdles that are laid before me” penned Shivayogi.

Arrival on the Big Stage

One of the most important days in Shivayogi’s life that completely banished his cynicism came when he registered an astounding score of 606 out of 625 marks in SSLC exam without letting his adversities come in the path of his success. This success instilled the highest of level of optimism in him as decided to pursue PUC in the stream of Science.

ICS Mahesh PU College, Dharwad

In the days where modern and lucrative minded colleges think twice before facilitating such specially-abled students, we were adamant on taking this as a challenge to prove the doubters that, cumulative efforts pave way to nothing but success. Though Shivayogi had created a stir in SSLC exam through his stellar performance, taking up Science in Pre-University level would prove to be a daunting task as education in North-Karnataka had not reached such a stage to support speech and hearing impaired children with a flawless education.

Very early in his journey at ICS Mahesh PU College, Dharwad, Shivayogi showed signs of genius that he was later to display prominently. Though specially-abled, nothing abated his crusading zeal. The educators in the centre recognized his special talent early on and left no stone unturned in nurturing the same. The initial strides in special endeavour were despairing and disturbing for the educators as they were dealing with an accustomed approach towards teaching ‘unaccustomed’ because, oral communication is considered to be one of the most effective and primary modes of communication in teaching whereas in Shivayogi’s case, it wasn’t to be due to his impairment. But his grit and determination went on to become the inducing factors that kept the educators marching towards the goal that was no more Shivayogi’s himself but of the whole college. His industriousness, honesty and sympathetic attitude made special for him not only in the hearts and minds of his educators but also in his fellow mates.

ROBOMATE

Children with hearing impairment face problems during lecturers, discussions and one-on-conversations and these challenges are irrespective of level of hearing disability. Our educational system is based on the assumption that students in the classroom will perceive and therefore understand all of what the teacher is saying. When much of the information received in the classroom is broken because of hearing loss or failure to match the hasty lip movements of the lecturers, learning consequences are likely to occur. Even the latest hearing technology, normal hearing ability is not restored by hearing devices. Constant ‘lecture mode’ learning increases fatigue wherein most children with hearing impairment show behavioral patterns of inattention.

Shivayogi resorted to ROBOMATE for this array of problems which made learning simple. India’s largest video platform for students containing modular lectures and interactive study materials which are carefully designed to ensure maximum learning through proven techniques such as conceptual videos, adaptive learning and collaborative learning methods that helped him approach studies in a different way as he could pause and repeat the lecture that he’s following which is not in the case of live lectures in the classrooms.

Internet and Digital Sources

Shivayogi finds himself grateful to have belonged to digital era as any desired content is available on just a click of a button. He is taking optimum use of the spree of applications that are available to keep himself upgraded with the ongoing happenings. Thanks to the technology and emergence of the internet there is a raising awareness about the problems faced by the hearing impaired as more and more content is being shared online. Shivayogi is thus benefitted by the revolution in education technology that has taken this world by storm.

Achievement

Shivayogi became an overnight star as he earned laurels to our college and his parents yet another time by scoring an aggregate of 96.5% in PCMC and an overall score of 93% in PUC II year. Kannada 88, English 84, Physics 99, Chemistry 95, Mathematics 95 and Computer Science 97 respectively.

Suggestions

Shivayogi shared some of the tips which he learned through reading and experience that may be useful for normal hearing peers and hearing impaired persons looking to share and interact better and improve accessibility. Adhering to these simple points will go a long way in improving the conditions around for hearing impaired in the society.

  • The institutions should ensure that there is CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation) and help the impaired with notes for each slides, lessons to be conducted on that day. Educators should devote 1-2 hours to such hearing impaired people and help them to understand the material effectively. They should also provide visual narration support to aid explanations.
  • Videos should have transcripts for assimilation after the completion of events. Groups that cater to the impaired can have special mentors to focus on the hearing impaired groups and help them progress.
  • Communicators in institutions should ensure that they have the hearing impaired person’s attention before speaking and understand the gravity of the proper communication when the problem is known.
  • When communication it is important to use slow speech and lip-patterns using clear, plain and normal way without distracting the deaf listener.
  • Use written, typed or visual mode of communication as an empathetic approach to make comprehend the impaired.
  • Importantly make effort and have more patience while interacting with the hearing impaired. Please do not underrate the impaired and sideline them in group conversation or elsewhere.
  • Hearing impaired people should make all forms of efforts to make use of technology, available resources around them and seek for help whenever needed, while accepting their identity and disability in a frank and open manner.
  • Parents, caretakers and peers should help impaired in every possible way to improve their knowledge and build the skills in surviving in modern society.

Conclusion

The management extends a heartfelt note of gratitude to the almighty for bestowing upon us with the responsibility of nurturing such a wonderful and special child in Shivayogi. We promise to rush in where others fear to tread. We will pursue to be self-assertive. We will continue to be optimistic. Neither will we let ourselves to be disappointed nor daunted by the circumstances that we face. We ensure to press on and on to attain perfection overcoming all the difficulties in our ways because ‘excelsior’ is the primary motto of our organization.