DIZ: 2 Weltwarts German Volunteers write about their experience in Sense Kaleidoscopes.
HOW ART & EDUCATION CAN BREAK SILENCES!
Two “weltwärts”-Volunteers are working with kids with Autism at the DIZ-Partner organisation Sense Kaleidoscopes
Written by Tonia Brandt and Sarah Novak
To respect every child the way it is, support it and provide all of them a safe space where they can work on their own and just be themselves: That’s the goal that Akshayee Shetty and Anima Nair, the two founders of ‘Sense Kaleidoscopes – A unit of ayathi trust’, have set for themselves. And they managed it quite well.
Sense Kaleidoscopes is an Art Academy in Bangalore for kids and teenagers with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome between the age of 10 and 24. The students are taught not only in Art, but also in subjects like Math, English and Science. Created and taught for their own needs and levels. That’s also where we Volunteers were working on. Mainly it was our task to prepare the lessons, which then were taught by the teachers. In concrete terms: quite easy explanation terms and a lot of visual effects and repetitions for the autistic brain to understand it more easily. But that wasn’t the only task we Volunteers were doing.
We had a lot of freedom to bring in new things and our own ideas. So, we started, for example, an own Music lesson, in which we were playing some of the students’ favorite songs. Or directly teaching an instrument to the kids. We also used our mother tongue German and started German lessons with the kids. They had a lot of fun and also began to talk a few words in German to us. We had the idea to create a kind of Game class in the afternoon after school where we taught the students some popular table games. In total we were included in a lot of things and really experienced the school life there in every possible way. Not only were we part of Birthday celebrations, but also the school’s move from one area to another and a lot of other things.
The students were absolutely open-minded about interacting with each other and also with us. So, it was pretty easy for us to find our place at Sense Kaleidoscopes. The future plan of the organisation is to create a kind of Autism community as a closed and safe space for the students and also their parents where they can live, do their Art and go to school. This would be a perfect option especially for students from mostly the Art Department who will not be able to live their life completely on their own and therefor need some care.
Also, some kind of Café should be a part in this future plan where the student’s artworks will be sold and exhibited. Akshayee’s plan is it to make this kind of Autism community open for everyone from all over India, because Autism is still a taboo in India. Some kids with Autism aren’t even going to school or are send to normal schools where they get a totally wrong treatment. A lot of kids from SK already experienced bad things in in the past. Now they feel comfortable and safe in this space. To put it in a nutshell it was a great experience for us to work with kids with Autism and at the school in general. We were part of a wonderful project and loved our time there.