The report based on the assessment of the children of Different Arts Centre (DAC), prepared by Institute of Communicative and Cognitive Neuro Science (ICCONS) and Child Development Centre (CDC) was handed over to Minister of Health and Social Justice, K. K. Shailaja by the Chairman of K- DISC (Kerala – Development and Innovation Strategic Council), Dr. K. M. Abraham on 18 February 2021. Executive director of Magic Academy - Gopinath Muthukad, director of CDC - Dr Babu George and executive director of Kerala Social Security Mission - Dr Muhammed Asheel were present at the event of handing over.
The report underlines that there is quite a remarkable change in both physical as well as mental health of the children at DAC especially when it comes to their IQ, EQ, psychomotor domain, and behavioural aspects; which enables them to lead a better life. The agencies have also noted that there is a marked improvement in their gross and fine motor skills as a result of the training and activities they are involved in at DAC. At the event Minister K. K. Shylaja stated that through relentless effort and perseverance, there is scope for vast changes in children with special needs and that it is indeed an extraordinary feat and an example for the rest of the world that DAC has achieved. She added that there are plans in the near future to set up similar initiatives in other districts as well.
The report reinstates the fact that DAC is indeed a revolutionary change in the area of education and support among the differently-abled. The centre which is backed by Department of Social Justice and Social Security Mission has all the reason to be proud of its activities as they are the instigators of such a positive change in the life as well as lifestyle of the differently-abled children. The self-assuredness the children get from performing, and the confidence they receive from the applauses of the viewers act as the main catalysts of this change in them.
It was in October 2019 that DAC started with 100 children from different parts of Kerala afflicted with cerebral palsy, depression, hyperactivity, MR etc. A pre-assessment of the children was conducted by ICCONS and CDC. These children were trained in magic, singing, dancing, acting, film making, painting, instrumental music etc. and were encouraged to perform in front of the public who came to visit the Magic Planet. Even though by March 10, the centre had to be shut due to COVID restrictions, the children continued their training online. The centre reopened by November 2020 following strict COVID protocol.
The differently-abled children, who were the brand ambassadors of the “Anuyathra” program- an initiative by the department of social security to make Kerala a more differently-abled friendly state had been trained at Magic Planet for a performance in the M-Power theatre- a space dedicated for the performances of the differently-abled children at Magic Planet. Among these children, Magic Planet identified those who are from economically disadvantaged families and employed them as permanent performers at the M-Power theatre. CDC had conducted a study on these children and had found out that their involvement in performing magic has created a marked difference in their mental and physical stature and it is following this report, in order to spread this positive change in more children, 100 differently-abled children were brought into the program that led to the setting up of DAC.