One of the most noticeable differences in therapy environments here is the lack of privacy and confidentiality, as we mentioned in a previous post. All assessment and treatment sessions are for everyone to see and hear, and it certainly crowds the already-too-cozy therapy area.
This has often been a source of frustration for us Canadians who are accustomed to private treatment rooms, pulled curtains, and large therapy spaces, particularly as we’re finding that the children cannot concentrate and are distracted by multiple voices answering questions (often just curious strangers) or excessive rattling and calling of non-responsive children’s names.
After learning a bit more about the rural Indian culture, having a discussion about this with Pradeep (Samuha founder) and especially after personally seeing the difference in social roles of males and females, we’ve realized that the Early Intervention Centre is so much more than a clinic for therapy.
In villages, men often congregate around petty shops, restaurants, or street corners and chat to hang out and relay information about politics, village drama, or health concerns. Unfortunately, it isn’t normal for women to ‘meet up for a coffee’ or hit the shops for a new sari. They are almost always doing chores, taking care of the children, or working in the farm.
What I have come to understand is that the creation of the Early Intervention Centre led to the creation of a place of acceptance, networking, and support for most of these mothers. Regardless of socioeconomic status, age, or caste, mamas from around Koppal can meet and bring their children with disabilities to place where no one judges them. What a positive by-product of this clinic. No wonder these moms will spend hours each day sitting and waiting for their child’s therapy – they’re receiving therapy for themselves too. 🙂