x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Cerebral palsy child shows how to achieve

The lack of special needs-equipped schools was criticised in a report by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau yesterday.

Pulkit Chopra, 11, plays the piano at home. He has cerebral palsy but has just graduated Grade 5 at the Gems Millenium School. Millennium
Pulkit Chopra, 11, plays the piano at home. He has cerebral palsy but has just graduated Grade 5 at the Gems Millenium School. Millennium

DUBAI // When Meeta Chopra found out yesterday that her son Pulkit was ready for Grade 5, she was overwhelmed.

“I am so excited … he is so excited,” said Mrs Chopra of Pulkit, 11, who has cerebral palsy and attends the Gems Millennium School in Dubai.

“The school accepted him right from the start and he has just blossomed. His teachers have always gone out of the way to help him adjust and provide the extra classes he needed to move forward.”

Mrs Chopra’s son attends one of a handful of Indian schools in Dubai that cater to children with special education needs.

The lack of equipped schools was criticised in a report by the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau yesterday, and Mrs Chopra agreed with their findings.

“I have been to other schools and the reaction I would get from the teachers was, ‘why are you even looking to school him?’” she said.

But she said that when she approached Millennium, it was a different story.

“We were immediately accepted and work closely with the special-needs department and specialist to ensure he learns well,” said Mrs Chopra, who is also Pulkit’s shadow assistant in class.

Pulkit attended the Rashid Paediatric Centre until he was six and deemed ready for mainstream inclusion. He was enrolled at Millennium for KG2 and has made good progress ever since.

“He is like any other child when it comes to wants and needs,” Mrs Chopra said. “He wants a PlayStation and takes part in sports and drama as well.”

What she appreciates most at the school is the cooperation from the other parents.

“Once I had a parent come up to me and ask if my Pulkit was in his son’s class because if not, then he would request the teacher to shift him,” Mrs Chopra said.

“That was really heart-warming for me.”

The DSIB report rated Millennium as one of the schools providing a good provision for children with special needs.

Mrs Chopra said the school had allowed her son to be like his peers.

“He is so excited that he is now in a higher grade,” she said. “He does not feel like he lacks anything because of all the opportunities that have been given to him.”

aahmed@thenational.ae