Pam Hackett’s Second Visit to Mysore, India
In November 2009, PTS Managing Partner, Pam Hackett returned to Mysore, India to provide pediatric therapy support one year after her first visit to the Beautiful Gates Special School (BGSS). During her visit, she provided direct treatment, consultation, and teacher training on behalf of Pediatric Therapeutic Services Inc., the company that she founded in 1998 with Diana Fongheiser.
PTS is now the leading provider of school-based pediatric therapeutic services in a five-state region centered around Philadelphia, and stretching from Connecticut to Delaware. But the company’s commitment to children stretches even further, as it continues to partner with BGGS to bring proven services and methodologies to India.
“During my visit to India, I was overwhelmed by the contrast between special education services in Mysore compared to what we have available to students in the U.S.,” Hackett said.
In India, only 10% of children in need of special education receive individualized education plans (IEPs). BGSS has instituted an evaluation process and individual student goals – a progressive approach compared to many specialized schools there.
New laws demonstrate the Indian government’s support for children with disabilities. But despite legal reform, the burden of care for these children lies with the family and community-based services. And, as elsewhere in the world, much is dependent on the incomes of those families and the affluence of their communities.
“What struck me so clearly during my time with the children and their families at BGSS was how alike we all are, despite our geographic and cultural differences,” Hackett continued. “The parents I met with want the same things that we want for our children here.”
And as in the U.S., when parents and teachers form a close, meaningful partnership, it creates a foundation for accomplishment that can overcome almost any obstacle.
At BGSS, where parents must bring their children back and forth from home each day, they are a constant presence at the school. What is working at home is shared with the staff, and likewise, strategies that are effective at school are brought home.
“This was perhaps what the most important lesson I’ve learned in my mission trips to India – that communication and collaboration between parents and schools creates a bridge across the chasm of disability,” Hackett noted. “It has renewed my commitment to educating parents, as well as teachers, in building understanding and creating supports for success.”
About Beautiful Gate Special School – Mysore, India
BGSS is a school dedicated solely to the education of children with special needs and their families. Children who attend the school have a range of disabilities, including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and autism. Prior to attending BGSS, most were confined in their homes and had few opportunities for intellectual or social development.
Countless children throughout India are lacking even the most basic educational services due to barriers such as extreme poverty, social policy, cultural stigma, and the caste system. Although the school’s founders are Christians, the doors of Beautiful Gate School are open to children of all faiths. BGSS strives to create an environment that fosters respect for individual differences and celebrates the unique strengths of each child.
BGSS serves as a model for other schools by training teachers, empowering parents, and demonstrating that these “special” children have tremendous potential. By offering these children the opportunity to learn and grow, BGSS is setting a new standard for educating children with disabilities in India.
Visit Beautiful Gate Special School on the web at: http://www.bgssindia.org
About Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS)
Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS) Inc. provides advanced therapy staffing solutions to school districts, charter schools, and early intervention programs. The organization integrates comprehensive therapy management with related services and program supports to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve classroom performance.
PTS was included on Inc. Magazine's list of the 5,000 fastest-growing, private companies in America and ‘Philadelphia’s 100 Fasting Growing Companies’ for 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. In November of 2009, The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce named PTS recipient of its Customer Service of the Year Award. In both 2009 and 2010, PTS was named an American Business Awards ‘Stevie Award for Women in Business’ Finalist for Best Overall Service Business in the USA.
Founded in 1998, PTS is headquartered in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, USA, serving southeastern PA, northern DE, southwestern CT, southeastern NY, and all of NJ. Visit PTS online at http://www.pts-inc.net
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