While doing her masters in Human Genetics, Santhi used to spend time volunteering at a nearby orphanage for children with hearing and speech impairments. At one moment she decided that she was born for special education and applied for remedial teaching posts. Her first assignment was a 16-year-old boy with severe learning disabilities. Over the course of a very difficult year she managed to help him pass his Grade 10 exams.
Next Santhi registered as a special educator and in 2011 set up a special needs school called EDventure Academy. Since 2007, 500 children, aged between two and a half and twenty three years old, have been trained and subsequently integrated into normal schools. They increase their capacities in essential areas like personality development, socio-communication skills, self-esteem and self-belief. In addition, the older students are taught maths as well as vocational and pre-vocational skills. Her school offers free places for the under-privileged and has raised money for places in regular schools.
In one example, a girl with autism was told that she would never speak or be independent, and yet after some months at the Academy she was able to communicate verbally and now excels at math and computer coding.
Santhi has conducted workshops and training for teachers, including the latest awareness workshop in Bangalore. In 2014 she received the ‘Extraordinary Teacher Award’ from the Information Resource Centre, a Unit of Shringeri Sharadha Peetham, Mysore.
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