WHAT WE DO
Our inspiring journey through 51 years of nurturing children with special needs in Sri Lanka, began with a single step in 1967, when three caring volunteers took into their hearts to nurture two children with Special Needs. In the 1960’s, when the rest of the world was forging ahead with programmes and research regarding individuals with intellectual impairment, there was very little hope for a family with a special child in Sri Lanka. This is when the Chitra Lane School for the Special Child first opened in a single room, down Lauries road in Colombo 4. In February 1973 the School moved to a slightly larger premises on Bagatelle Road and then again in 1977 to its current location at 45/3 Chitra Lane in Colombo 5.
To this day, the founder of our organisation, Mrs. Delysia Gunewardene devotes her time, wealth of knowledge and experience to care for the many children that walk in through our doors. Aunty Delysia as she is fondly referred to by all, continues to guide and inspire the Chitra Lane family.
The Chitra Lane School created a haven where children and young adults with special needs were allowed to develop at their own pace and encouraged to reach their fullest potential. Any child, regardless of his or her ethnic, religious or socio-economic background was welcomed at our school. By 1988, the student body had expanded to 250 and the Chitra Lane School for the Special Child had reached its maximum capacity.
With families continuing to arrive at our doorstep seeking our help, it was decided to expand our services and create a Resource Center that would conduct home based programmes and provide facilities to meet every aspect of the child including their physical, psychological, and educational development as well as addressing their medical needs. Years of experience had taught us that detecting difficulties and developmental delays early on in a child’s life and providing the necessary help during early childhood, made a significant difference in minimizing the adverse effects of these difficulties.
With this goal of `early detection and early intervention’ in mind, in 1989 the Chitra Lane Children’s Resource Centre was established adjacent to the Chitra Lane School. Today, this Resource Centre is well recognized as a centre of excellence to which schools, hospitals, and doctors from across Sri Lanka refer children to for evaluations and follow-up therapy. Families come to us from in and around Colombo as well as from the southern province, the central hills, and the North and the East of Sri Lanka.
Every child that walks in through our doors is seen by one of our experienced consultants and provided with screening and an intervention programme that is carried out by a team of professionals including educational and medical specialists, a psychologist, speech therapist, physiotherapist, and several remedial teachers. Parents are empowered with the necessary skills and knowledge to care for their special child at home.
The Children’s Resource Centre provides a comprehensive range of services all under one roof including auditory testing and educational skills evaluations; individualized remedial education; speech and language development; physiotherapy and hydrotherapy; medical clinics; parent counseling and training; vocational and life skills development for young adults with special needs. The Chitra Lane Children’s Resource Centre also collaborates with Universities, NGO’s, schools, and other professionals in similar fields in conducting staff training and awareness programmes.
Today, the Chitra Lane organization touches the lives of over 2,000 children and young adults with special needs annually from across Sri Lanka. A majority are from low-income families that rely on Chitra Lane for the well being of their children.
Ours has been a challenging journey over the years. One, which could not have been undertaken without the kind support of many who have helped us in so many ways. Join hands with us as we continue on our journey of creating a better tomorrow for the children of Sri Lanka.
Chitra Lane School for the Special Child is a government approved charity