The Special RYLA Rotarians help enhance leadership qualities in special children.

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Rotary Club Karur Wings, RI District 3000, conducted its first RYLA ­Agnikunjugal for children with special-needs. The programme, featuring brain gym exercises, memory and concentration activities, was held on October 11–12 at Sri Meenakshi Matric Hr. Secondary School. The pilot initiative benefitted 110 students in the 14–15 age group, with mild autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.

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“Four hours of uninterrupted activity, in a maiden attempt made this event a surprising success.” said Supriya, (a Special needs teacher in Dyslexia) who organised the orientation session. The programme required “step by step instructions and proper attention.” To ensure smooth execution she made sure “the children were divided into groups of six and a teacher helped them get along with each other through fun team building activities. Training in logical analysis, creativity and innovation abilities deveopment was also given,” she said.

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RC Karur Wings partnered with Helikx Open School (a Helikx Organisation initiative that imparts academic skills to students with learning disabilities) to conduct the two-day programme. The Helikx team, under the leadership of G Kumaraguru, administered the training and motivation sessions that included self analysis, self esteem, goal setting, leadership skill enhancement and emotion management.

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Magic show by Rtn Sethupathy of RC Karur and cultural events by hearing-impaired students added to the entertainment quotient of the RYLA programme. Parents were allotted separate waiting space and “a side benefit was that it allowed parents to network while the programme was being conducted,” said Rtn M C Saanthosh, Chairman of the event.

Why a special needs RYLA? “Because clubs in the district already provide leadership programmes for regular students. These children deserve and require a lot of motivation. All we had to do was take the effort and we have received positive feedback and hope to continue the good work in the future,” he added.

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