I remember how my mother’s maternal aunt took care of her mentally challenged son. She will take him along with her wherever she went. Actually he must be a maternal uncle to me. Though he is grown up and twenty five years old, he behaved like a ten year old kid. I had heard my paternal grand mother talking about my father’s elder brother who was mentally challenged and who liked to play and listen to music from a harmonium. I have vague memories of interacting with people who are mentally disabled. I remember my grandfather’s elder brother who stayed with them till he died. He used to do chores at the hotel run by my grandfather and stayed at the hotel. During those days there was no proper school or a place for the mentally challenged people. No one thought about giving rehabilitation program to them and get them fit to face the world alone. Now a days things are not so. Parents need not worry so much about that. Support from the government and other private educational institutes are there to make their life worthy.
Life Help Centre at Chennai is a school started for mentally challenged people. I remember once taking my husband’s relative to the Life Help Centre. Though he was eighteen years old, he behaved like a little kid. But after getting the right kind of education from Life Help Centre he was trained to be independent and take care of himself.
Yet, still there are parents who are not aware of the facilities and make their life painful along with their mentally challenged kids. In an attempt to protect them, they deny their right to learn to be independent and lead a normal life. When facilities are there to train them to lead a normal life, the parents must make use of it. Yet, there are incidents where nothing could be done. Such children are left to the mercy of God. It is painful to see such parents as they are silent sufferers. They do not want to give up the duty as a parent and are ready to sacrifice anything for the sake of their children. Parents should not forget that they also have a life to live. If the family had other children, they need to take care of them also. I know a friend of mine whose wife failed to make use of such facilities for their son. Now she is old and she finds it difficult to take care of her son. Initially when they admitted the son at the special school, she could not withstand seeing her son crying and refusing to be at school. This type of situation is pathetic to note and no one except the parents are ready to take care of them. My friend feels much depressed and could not think about the situation after their life.