Soothing music for differently abled children | Sunday Observer

Soothing music for differently abled children

any of our encounters with differently abled children have always been a struggle between ‘Sympathy’ and ‘Empathy’. This is quite similar to how both terms entered the English language. We used to look at these kids with sympathy and it is only now we tend to change it to empathy.

Nadun Hettiarachchi- a musician and researcher- has done much so far and continues to develop empathy towards these children by practically showing how capable they are. True, these kids cannot pursue mainstream education like most other children and they need special care. Amidst this special care and special education, music has a vital role to play as Hettiarachchi has already proven. Going beyond his usual schedule of teaching music to the differently abled children, he recently launched a song titled ‘Maha Visala Adarayaka Pangukaarayo’ which is about differently abled children, highlighting the much needed empathy for them.

Being Conscious of- 

an immense love

Fascinates the world with –

that wondrous love

Filling eyes with tear of joy –

bringing smiles in every face

Turning into a gleeful story-

with so much of love…

Fighting many dreams –

knowing they’ll never come true

Turning into a gleeful story-

with so much of love… yes… - so much of love

(English translation of

original lyrics)

 

“We often discuss about the weaknesses, and negativities of differently abled children. We sympathise with them. But I wanted to change that and show the entire world that these kids are talented too” Hettiarachchi revealed his objective in releasing the song.

Since the day he started working with the Chitra Lane School for the Special Child, he has been researching about the connection between music and differently abled children. After successfully conducting four research projects he is now working on a research project as part of his MPhil studies to prove that music can be used as a therapy or treatment process to resolve social issues of children with neurophysiological disorders.

In conducting much of his research, Hettiarachhi has used a novel concept called ‘musical imagination’. “I believe, these children can look at the world through music. If we look at the scientific background, certain memory cells of these kids are inactive. We can make them active through music. Not just music, any aesthetic subject can be used to improve these children. That is what I I generally practice” he explained.

The International Conference on Birth Defects and Disabilities in the Developing World (ICBD Sri Lanka 2020) which will be held in Sri Lanka with the coordination of the Sri Lanka Medical Association on February 23-26 has given a golden opportunity to this courageous musician to prove the validity of his studies. He is going to perform his song with his students (differently abled children) at the opening ceremony of the international conference on February 23.

“I was given the opportunity to sing this song along with my students at the opening ceremony of the ICBD conference. I have already proven that hyperactive children can be balanced through music. On February 23 I can prove that again in front of an international gathering”.

Nadun Hettiarachchi has worked with hundreds of autistic and Down Sndrome children where the students have shown a major shift in their day to day lives too due to music. One such autistic child has now completed the Visharada examination, proving the abilities of differently able children.

Thisara Mangala Bandara has contributed the lyrics and Chinthaka Jayakody the musical direction of this song, spending years to finish it with special care. “Actually we were developing this song for more than two years. We wrote the song till we were fully satisfied with it” Hettiarachchi said.

After completing the MPhil, Hettiarachhi has already planned to carry further his studies on music and differently able children to the Phd level.

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