CHENNAI: Saraswathi Narayanaswamy, who for 50 years has labored towards assisting the deaf’listen’ and talk, expired in Chennai on Thursday night after a short illness.
The 78-year old was a pioneer in early intervention and identification of deafness in children. Balavidyalaya School for Deaf, the school she set 1969, which offers free instruction to hearing impaired kids, is now celebrating its golden jubilee. The college has grown to more than 7,000 square feet, together with 16 classrooms, 70 children and 20 teachers)
“Since early intervention in children is critical to growing language, we acknowledge kids as young as three weeks and train them into language language skills so that they can combine mainstream schooling,” explained Saraswathi in a previous interview with the Times of India. The faculty has helped over 500 kids through time.
One of those Saraswathi has coached is Swetha Machanavajhala, senior product manager, Microsoft, that made the organization’s Hearing AI program, which makes the auditory globe inclusive.
“My hearing loss is much more than 100db which places me at the deep hearing loss group,” explained Swetha, before their golden jubilee celebrations. “However people are shocked when I admit it. I owe my talking ability for my alma mater Balavidyalaya.”
Saraswathi explained the motivation behind setting up the college was her years of battle as mother to a child with hearing loss. “I had been left without a help in coaching my son or daughter. I devised my own teaching way of my child and worked together with him, till he began talking like any other kid,” she’d said.
“I feel a deaf kid can talk if recognized and intervened under age 3 decades,” she’d said.
Saraswathi is survived by her son Srinivasan and daughter Meera Suresh, honorary leader of Balavidyalaya.