Able Disabled All People Together (ADAPT) (formerly The Spastics Society of India) is a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) that was set up to address the lack of services and the lack of knowledge about multiple disabilities in general and cerebral palsy in particular. The main aim was to alert the nation to their needs and show how the government and community could help them to be included into existing services.
ADAPT was founded by Dr. Mithu Alur in 1972. Dr. Mithu Alur has, since 1966, been working for the education of disabled children through innovative educational experiments, closely involved in education, healthcare and employment for persons and children leading to social change, legislation and social policy. As a tribute to her effort, the organization got the Prestigious Award of the Best Voluntary Society in the country in 1987. In 1989, Dr. Alur was honoured with a Padmashri (equivalent to an Order of the British Empire) by the then Rajiv Gandhi Government.
The socio-eco-cultural background of the population with whom ADAPT mainly works is of low educational and economic levels. There is lack of awareness among parents, teachers and the larger community about dealing with disability, special needs of the disabled child and coping mechanisms necessary for accepting a child with disability.
The ADAPT’s services are in the areas of education, therapy, assessment, training for all stakeholders namely parents, teachers, therapists, government officials etc, advocacy, vocational training.
Today, ADAPT is one of the leading organisations working for children with developmental disorders in a service delivery framework on the ground level, as well as an academic institution providing various courses. It has all the facilities of identification, assessment, education and treatment; it has early infant clinics for babies, schools providing a holistic program combining education and treatment under one roof; vocational training units for young adults promoting employment; department working for policy change, advocacy and awareness, research and dissemination units.
The overall aim of the organisation is to support India’s social and economic policy reform within a human rights context. ADAPT believes that disabled people have equal rights and opportunities within an inclusive society. The strategic goals (core objectives) of the organisation include:
• To increase the access of children to educational and healthcare opportunities irrespective of disability, gender and social disadvantage
• To promote the exchange of information and ideas on sustainable inclusion policy and practice
• To develop resources to support a sustainable model for the universalisation of primary education
• To foster community attitudes, professional practices leading to legislation measures supportive of inclusive education and a social model of disability
• To develop and implement placement and post-placement strategies for increasing employability of people with disabilities.
• To influence public opinion, policies and legislation concerned with the rights and needs of disabled youth.
For thirty-five years ADAPT has tirelessly worked toward initiating inclusive practices in education and employment. Today ADAPT’S four centres in Mumbai, stand out as unique models, where special education is demystified and inclusion has taken centre-stage.
ADAPT services have provided assessment, treatment, inclusive education, continuum of support services for inclusion in schools, colleges and workspaces, skills training and job placement for all persons with disability, and from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
It runs inclusive schools at Colaba, Bandra and the slums of Dharavi and a skills development centre at Chembur. In addition it offers training for teachers, therapists and parents.
ADAPT has lobbied for and obtained educational reforms that allow children with disability to have writers and get extra time for their school and university exams.
At the international level, ADAPT has engaged with multilateral agencies and international organizations, foreign governments, the education sector, universities and academic institutions, and national and international NGOs.
ADAPT’S three anganwadis (early childcare centre) provide care and support to 1,500 households through direct contact. Additionally 15,000 households are impacted by ADAPT’s indirect services and community awareness programmes. All children in the area of the anganwadis can avail of the educational, therapy, and nutritional services provided. Each anganwadis services approximately one hundred children, and classes function in two batches of fifty children each. All teachers in the anganwadi follow a uniform curriculum, based on an enrichment program designed by Dr.Alur.
ADAPT provides services to around 1000 children and 10000 families annually.
More than 5,000, babies, children and young people have come for assessment and remedial programmes over the last 40 years.
Over 3000 preschool children with and without disabilities have been admitted into inclusive nurseries and schools.
Their students have pursued careers in accounting, journalism, finance, computing, librarianship and some have set up their own successful businesses. Others have pursued academics at the Masters and PhD level.
Approximately 700 adults with disability have been trained through their vocational courses.
ADAPT is a trust, composed of 7 trustees, 7 members of the governing body and 279 members.
140 employees and 30 volunteers are regularly working in the organization.
ADAPT raise funds through annual fundraising event that they organize (Annual Show, I Can Bazaar, Inclusive Mela) or they are involve in (Mumbai marathon). ADAPT receive support from individuals, corporate houses, service organizations, their stakeholders in the community and other institutions who sponsor part of the education and therapy of some of ADAPT students. ADAPT have a sliding scale for fees and parents pay according to their income level for the services received.
ADAPT had international projects with funding from UNICEF, CIDA (Canada), BMZ (Germany), The Women’s Council, (UK) and at present HPCL is partly supporting the education and therapy of 300 students.