Payal was identified by our survey worker, Sarojini, in Madangir which is a neighbouring community of Dakshinpuri. Payal was about two years old then. Sarojini brought Payal and her parents to the rehabilitation clinic of Samadhan. Her father, who died some time back, was a cart puller and her mother is mentally handicapped. Payal was very fearful, cried all the time and would be with her mother who was herself emotionally unstable. Payal’s speech was a few single words, her walk clumsy and her fine motor skills were poor. 

In the rehabilitation clinic Payal was diagnosed as mentally handicapped due to genetic causes with speech and motor delay. Since her mother, Usha, was mentally handicapped herself and could not help her daughter, Payal was placed in the Home-Based Early Intervention Programme. Neelam, the home intervention worker, really worked hard with both Payal and her mother. Besides, training Payal  Neelam also helped Usha in cleaning the house. Usha’s neighbours were very supportive and helped Usha as she was unable to take the responsibility in following the daily exercises at home. Neelam formed a play and activity group with the neighbour’s children where everyone danced and played. Payal was also encouraged to perform. 

After three years on the home intervention programme Payal was admitted to the center based educational programme. At school initially she was very shy being in a bigger group. She was frightened to see the camera. Her interaction was more with the teachers than her mother. With the encouragement from her teachers Payal showed improvement. She could speak a few full sentences, her social behaviour became normal and she mixed readily with everyone. She had also achieved toilet training and could bathe, dress and eat herself. She also gained tremendous confidence in performing in front of people. She loves singing and dancing. Soon after Payal’s father died, the other family members tried to take over their house and harassed Usha, Payal’s mother. Samadhan’s senior staff intervened and gave Usha employment at the Samadhan’s Self Help Group run by mothers of mentally handicapped children and other women from the community. 

Payal attended the educational unit for six years. She learnt to write her name, address, counting, tables up to five and also basic reading and writing. She dances well and has participated in various cultural events and has won many prizes. Her teacher Neelam who has been working with Payal since the home based early intervention programme was confident that Payal could be easily placed in the mainstream school in standard two. 

Neelam was also a part of the pilot project team which worked in two MCD schools. She worked as a support teacher, training the MCD school teachers in how to identify children with intellectual disability and also the basic skills of working with these children. Since Neelam had direct contact with the Principal and the teachers she felt this would be the right school for placing our children. So Neelam discussed with Payal’s aunt about placing Payal in this school. The aunt was very happy and offered her support to take care of Payal.  Neelam along with Payal’s aunt visited the school and spoke to the principal. The principal advised Neelam to approach a MCD school nearest to Payal’s house. As per the policy of the government every child should attend local government school in the area s/he lives.  

Neelam approached one MCD school in Krishna Park where Payal lives. She did not have any difficulty in seeking admission for Payal, not in Class II but in Class III .  Payal started attending her new school from 13th April 2005. She is happy to go to a bigger school with a lot of other children. Usha, her mother, was happy and distributed sweets on Payal’s new achievement. At present Payal is enjoying her school holidays and will be joining her new class from the new session.