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Chaitanya (male, 4 years)

Helping Chaitanya overcome anxiety and improve communication

It was my first day as an 'early educator' in the Anganwadi when I encountered a young boy who immediately burst into tears upon seeing me. His reluctance to interact with me and others in the Anganwadi raised concerns. In this case study, we will explore Chaitanya's background, identify his problem areas, and discuss observations and interventions to help him overcome his challenges.

Chaitanya comes from a modest background. His father works as a painter, while his mother is a homemaker. Despite their economic constraints, Chaitanya's mother is determined to provide her children with an English-medium education. His elder sister, Riddhi, already attends an affordable English-medium private school in Kashele.

The boy displayed anxiety when encountering new people, especially in the Anganwadi setting. He rarely interacted with anyone and seemed hesitant to communicate. He was a bit reserved and tried to leave the Anganwadi as he felt uncomfortable. In the initial week, he fought with another child and mostly remained silent.

After a few weeks, Chaitanya gradually began to feel more at ease. As an early educator, my task was to engage him in various group activities such as art and craft, colouring and free play. I also gave extra attention whenever he was nervous, fostering a sense of security.

By the end of the quarter, Chaitanya had grown comfortable with his teacher and fellow children in the Anganwadi. He started following instructions and loved to interact with the other children. He showed remarkable kindness towards Om, a younger child.

As a teacher, I’m glad to see a positive change in Chaitanya's behaviour. I was so proud when his parents narrated that the boy didn’t fear upon encountering new faces during a community event in Kashele. He enjoyed the festive atmosphere without any hesitation.

Communication challenges: When I discussed Chaitanya's communication issues with his mother, she mentioned that Chaitanya takes time to feel comfortable, which is typical for children his age. His mother assured me that Chaitanya does speak at home, uttering words like “Riddhi majhi tai aahe (Ridhhi is my mother)”, “majhi aaji (my grandmother)”, “Papa (father)”, and "Aai (mother)". Unfortunately, during my visits to Chaitanya’s house, I haven't had the opportunity to witness his communication firsthand. However, I remain committed to encouraging Chaitanya to communicate more.

Intervention: Chaitanya exhibits enthusiasm when he watches videos on the TV, making it a potential tool for intervention. He enjoys playing with his friend, Piyu, at the Anganwadi. The boy has a keen interest in art and craft. I engage in daily conversations with Chaitanya, despite hearing him speak only once when he showed something to his mother. I plan to continue using the TV as a means of interaction, as it excites him. And I’ll persist in my efforts to encourage him to communicate more freely.

Overall, Chaitanya's progress has been encouraging as he overcomes anxiety and begins to communicate with expression and action. I’m hopeful of seeing more improvement in his communication skills through creative activities, consistent support and encouragement.