Is it worthwhile teaching vocational skills to the mentally challenged?
Recently, someone asked me, “Is it worthwhile trying to teach mentally challenged persons a vocational skill?” It set me thinking.
Firstly, they are human beings like us and have a right to a happy and dignified life. They do have a sense of self-dignity.
When taught a skill and made to do it repeatedly, mentally challenged persons do learn and can be productive. When they do so, they feel so good about themselves. You can see it in their body language.
Secondly, they have feelings and emotions like any of us. When they learn a skill and participate in an activity, their self-confidence goes up dramatically. This is reflected in their changed behaviour, changed for the better.
So, time and effort invested in teaching mentally challenged persons a vocational skill is worth it. The only thing is that, the focus should be on the individual and his or her feelings rather than productivity or performance.
Kanaka Cadambi, Trustee, Navkshitij.