GOS Bala Vihar is a pioneer in India in the field of education, training and rehabilitation of intellectually challenged children and adults belonging to the underprivileged sections of society. Our aim is to provide the best for these special needs children and adults so as to enable them to lead an independent life with self-respect and dignity. We are committed to safeguarding and promoting their welfare and by providing residential care and training by special educators and therapists.
GOS Bala Vihar provides the highest quality residential care and day-care programmes in Chennai for the intellectually challenged from underprivileged backgrounds. We have fully trained staff who assist the residents in day–to–day living. We try to create a home–like environment where our residents can live happily and successfully.
GOS Bala Vihar accommodates moderate to severely intellectually challenged boys, girls, men and women. Each of these groups is provided spacious living areas and an environment to meet their unique group and individual needs with modern and clean facilities. We believe that each person is important and should be treated as such. Our residents are provided four full meals a day including milk in the morning and snacks in the evening.
Instead of being institutionalised at a Mental Hospital, thousands of special children and adults have found a warm and open Home which also trains them to be productive adults. Many beneficiaries of Bala Vihar because of the timely training and guidance lead normal lives today, hold regular jobs and have families of their own.
GOS Bala Vihar has two centres in Chennai region, one at Kilpauk and the other one at Veppampattu.
Bala Vihar, Kilpauk
There are 3 Units for the special children at Bala Vihar, Kilpauk - a Special School, Residential care and a Day care programme.
Each special child at the Bala Vihar Special School is covered under the Individual Educational Programme. A programme plan is arrived at for each child after extensive assessment. Training is conducted through physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, yoga therapy and music. Classes are held for Early Intervention, Pre-Primary, Primary, Secondary, Pre-vocational and Vocational education. The Early Intervention unit is a significant unit. Special children who are screened early can be provided with timely holistic training which can help them become independent and productive individuals.
Residential care is provided to the special children, most of whom have been abandoned by their families. There are many children who are severely intellectually challenged and need extensive and complete care.
The Day care programme is for special children who live with their own families and come here only during the day. Buses are provided for the special children and their attendants to travel to GOS Bala Vihar to attend the School and Day Care programmes. Children attending the Day Care are also provided with lunch.
Bala Vihar, Veppampattu
Bala Vihar, Veppampattu is a Home for intellectually challenged adults, both men and women. It was established in 1976 to provide these special adults with a safe haven and to rehabilitate them.There are 51 women and 60 men in the Home. All of them are either orphans or deserted by their families. Some of them have lived at Bala Vihar for more than 30 years. We have 5 cottages, with separate accommodation for men and women, a training hall, dining hall, kitchen and residential quarters for the staff. Bala Vihar at Veppampattu provides an opportunity for residents to be gainfully occupied in farming, mat weaving, door mat weaving, frame mat weaving, phenyl making, washing powder making and tailoring. This way the special adults are engaged in various physical activities and are active.
The Home is set up on 13.04 acres of land donated by the Government of Tamil Nadu. Farming is carried on by the special needs residents and vegetables like brinjal, ladies finger, pumpkin, radish etc are grown by them. These are used in preparing meals for the residents and the excess is sold locally.
Apart from the residential home for the intellectually challenged adults, there is also a Special School for intellectually challenged children and a Day care programme. Special children from the surrounding areas in Thiruvallur district attend the Special School and Day Care Centre. The programmes followed are similar to that at Bala Vihar, Kilpauk. The beneficiaries of these programmes are children in the age group 0 to 18 years. They are provided special education, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, yoga therapy and music therapy. Sports, games, entertainment and outings are an integral part of the programme to improve their motor skills.
N.Gomati has microcephaly. She been studying at GOS Bala Vihar Special School since 2015. After joining the school, she has improved in communication, social interaction, writing, number work and games. Currently she is studying in Class 8. Like any 15-year-old girl, Gomati loves dancing and has participated in numerous State and District level competitions for special children and won prizes.
Chottu, 24 years old is an intellectually disabled person. When he was admitted to GOS Bala Vihar, Kilpauk in 2010 he had been abandoned by his family and was a destitute boy. He was transferred to GOS Bala Vihar, Veppampattu in December 2021 as he was an adult.
Since Chottu was very interested in sports, he was trained in Handball. Chottu has participated in the Special Olympics in Handball and was selected for a National Level Tournament from Tamil Nadu. He will hopefully be selected for an International Level Tournament soon.
Ragashree, 21 years old was admitted through Child Welfare Committee to GOS Bala Vihar, Kilpauk in 2015. She is an intellectually disabled child of mild level. She attended regular school at Government Girls Higher Secondary school, Shenoy Nagar and completed Class 12 in regular stream of education.
She is good in sports and has participated in the State and National level special Olympics games. She recently participated in the National level Special Olympics Handball tournament in Haryana. Ragashree is also good in arts, crafts, music, dance and yoga.
Babu, 31 years and Boopalan, 19 years were admitted through Child Welfare Committee to GOS Bala Vihar. They were trained and are good in vocational skills specializing in making door mats, phenyl and envelopes.
Sports is an integral part of Bala Vihar and both Babu and Boopalan are good in athletics and team games. In 2020 they participated in Special Olympics National level floor ball tournament in Himachal Pradesh and in 2022 participated in the Special Olympics National Level Futsal Sports tournament held in Gujarat.
M Manojkumar a 17 yr old boy has autism. He has been studying at GOS Bala Vihar Special School, Vepampattu since 2016. At the time of admission to Bala Vihar Special School, he was way behind in communication, writing, number work and games.
After he started his schooling at Bala Vihar, he has had good progress in communication, writing, sports activities etc. He has won first prize in Speech Competition held on the eve of World Disabled Day in Tiruvallur. He is currently studying in 10th std through inclusive education. He also goes for training to learn photocopying, scanning and taking printouts.