Breaking out of the shell- Naveen Joseph

Naveen had contained himself in a world of his own, detached from everyone, conspicuously unhappy with people around him , not willing to reach out to others. Before he turned 9 his parents attempted to make him join quite a few schools, but each time he refused to go back after a couple of days. Naveen faces difficulties in communication. He was unable to write or even read.

According to his parents this heart breaking pattern continued until he joined the Sneha Deepthy  School for Mentally Retarded Children, Mannuthy Kerala About the school.

The geniality of the school succeeded to break the pattern cocooning Naveen in its warmth. Belonging to an average economic background it was a respite for Naveen’s parents to have a facility like this for their son. They prayed that he settled, which he did ,bringing happiness to his father who is a small time contractor and his mother, a homemaker.

At Sneh Dipthi he was introduced to the Special Olympics Program , dance, art and to computers through his Mentor and Coach, Victor. He was given an opportunity to participate in quite a few sport disciplines to assess his final forte. Participating through Athletics, Bocce, Basketball and Badminton he attempted cycling too. The Campus of the school has held state level Cycling competitions therefore providing a platform to practise regularly.  The day cycling competitions were held to make a selection for the SO World Summer Games LA 2015, it started to rain. Undeterred by it, Naveen along with the other Athletes refused to conclude the competitions. They continued to cycle and Naveen was selected for the World Games from where he returned after winning two gold medals.

At the school he was also exposed to Computers and dancing. Although he faced difficulties in reading and writing, he instantly took to Computers mainly ‘copying’ content and also enjoying browsing through the net. Currently he is being trained in computers through a program in collaboration with AMBA , a non-profit organisation that works for the economic empowerment of intellectually disabled adults.

Naveen loves dancing under the tutelage of his Mentor, Victor. When Victor changed his job, Naveen followed him to his new job destination.  Sneha Dipthi helped him complete education till the Xth grade with the help of a scribe. The diverse activities and frequent sporting camps are bringing about a transformation in Naveen Joseph, now 19yrs.

Sister Pushpam , who has witnessed his journey over the years says, “ He is getting better. He was always very lonely, not going out with others not much connect with his siblings either. His only connect was with the TV. But as he got involved with Special Olympics and continued to participate in the daily chores along with computers, we can see him develop. He waters the plants etc. He loves sports , something he was not exposed to before joining SO. The biggest gift of Special Olympics to him is self-confidence which he developed through the many camps where he learnt to interact with others. Although he can’t communicate easily, he manages to ask or convey his likes and dislikes, something which was totally missing in him. Sports has made him grow into a person of his individuality”