Meera in India

Meera is a first-year computer science major in the Lyle School of Engineering who is a Dean’s Scholar and Engineering Fellows Scholar, among other awards. During summer 2011, she was named a Maguire & Irby Family Foundation Public Service Summer Intern by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility at SMU. She will be interning at Swasraya, a school for the mentally disabled in India, where she will design a curriculum and help students in order to promote inclusive education. She also plans to help raise awareness by updating the school’s website and creating brochures and fliers.

Goodbye, India!

Today was my last day at Swasraya, and it was definitely bittersweet.  I never imagined I would grow so attached to the children in the short amount of time I spent here. I even have a list of about 12 children whom I want to adopt and take back to America with me! This internship has been such a great learning experience for me, and I feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to spend my summer doing something so meaningful. This next part is going to sound like a cheesy award show speech, but it has to be said. I would really like to thank the Maguire Center for selecting me as one of the recipients of [...]

2011-08-24T17:57:30+00:00 August 14th, 2011|Meera in India|

One-on-one time with Jones

After my experience with Aishwarya, I felt like I knew how to handle autistic children. That’s why when I went to Jones’ class, I was completely confident in my ability to teach him. The teacher had warned me that he was very difficult and had a tendency to scream and cry when he was upset, but I did not anticipate that happening.    I observed the class for a few minutes, and Jones seemed okay. He had been crying earlier that day so his eyes were red and puffy, but he was doing the puzzle the teacher had given him without complaint.  Then, out of nowhere, he got up, lay on the floor, and started writhing around screaming. It seemed [...]

2011-08-02T13:00:40+00:00 August 2nd, 2011|Meera in India|

Striking a deal for learning

Today I spent time in the eighth grade-level class. This is the highest level of academics reached by students at Swasraya, and when I walked in, they were learning about democracy. I was surprised to hear Lincoln’s quote - “government of the people, by the people, for the people” - being used in their class lecture. As the students started copying the quote, I noticed one girl staring out the window, oblivious to the lesson being taught. When I asked about her, the teacher told me she has severe autism and can be difficult because she does not do anything she doesn’t feel like doing; today that included participating in the class lecture. She also has a tendency to get [...]

2011-07-13T16:52:02+00:00 July 13th, 2011|Meera in India|

Learning English with Scrabble

Today I was told to look after a class with cerebral palsy for a few hours. There were only three children in this class, who were about 8 years old. During English class, I noticed that they had a lot of difficulty copying the simple words I gave them, like “cat” and “dog,” but their social skills were much more advanced than I would have expected. One exceptionally talkative boy somehow convinced me that they had done enough work for the day and that they should be allowed to play a game. I looked through the cabinets and came across Scrabble. I figured this could pass for teaching them English and set up the game. Five minutes later Scrabble pieces [...]

2011-07-08T15:28:09+00:00 July 8th, 2011|Meera in India|

Miss Meera’s first day

Today I sat in on different classes to see what they were learning and to identify ways in which I could help out. My first class was a group of 6- to 8-year-old children with Down syndrome. The teacher was teaching them how to count to 20, but this mischievous group of boys was soon running around the classroom pushing and kicking each other. Obviously, they soon became my favorite class. They were a very enthusiastic and friendly group, and seeing a new face in the classroom was just the distraction they needed to lose any desire they had to learn numbers. They took turns interrogating me about my name, age, and home. When I said I was from America, [...]

2011-06-29T16:48:25+00:00 June 29th, 2011|Meera in India|

First week in India

Meera is a first-year computer science major in the Lyle School of Engineering who is a Dean's Scholar and Engineering Fellows Scholar, among other awards. During summer 2011, she was named a Maguire & Irby Family Foundation Public Service Summer Intern by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility at SMU. She will be interning at Swasraya, a school for the mentally disabled in India, where she will design a curriculum and help students in order to promote inclusive education. She also plans to help raise awareness by updating the school's website and creating brochures and fliers.

2011-06-29T16:40:46+00:00 June 22nd, 2011|Meera in India|