Monday December 18, 2017

Learning Disability: Things we need to know

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Does India understand the concept of disability, or more so, the specific types? The concept of disability differs from society to society. Although, India is progressing in this path but the question is whether or not it has the right trajectory in its mind?

“The problem is not how to wipe out the differences but how to unite with the differences intact.” – Rabindranath Tagore

And these variations and diversities of the issue are exactly what the Indian society, as well as the government, needs to understand. Disability is not restricted to just the physical or mental aspect of it, rather it has a wider spectrum as it segments or branches out.

Although, all of these disability issues need to be given prime importance but some are forgotten or overshadowed by the more prevalent concerns. One of them being the ‘Learning Disability’ which is often thrown in the backyard of the legislative amendments or the societal concern and even by the advocates of the disability rights.

Today, December 3, is observed as the “Persons with Disabilities Day”. However, how much do we know about the concept of disability or do we even understand that there is a difference between it and the model of handicapped or impaired, is a question to be asked.

Impairment is any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function.

Disability is any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.

Handicap is a disadvantage for a given individual, resulting from an impairment or a disability that limits or prevents the fulfilment of a role that is normal (depending on age, sex and social and cultural factors) for that individual.

One of the things evidently realized by the authorities and society is that the education of a person with a disability of any kind is very crucial for their development and independent life.

Therefore, it has also experienced great transformation aimed at enabling an independent life for such people. Education has become a fundamental right of every child in India and that has led to the biggest front foot in the direction of their (persons with disability) empowerment.

Although, it appears to be a great decision, however, for certain sections of disables it is the biggest flaw in serving as the Right to Education is provided, but not tweaked according to their needs.

People with learning disability (LD) have a comparatively poor academic performance in school. LD is a developmental disorder that usually becomes evident during the period of primary to secondary education. Though it is not restricted to that time frame only.

This is a ‘perinatal problem’ which consists of a certain neurological conditions, known to be associated with LD; however, genetic predisposition seems to be the most probable etiological factors. Evaluation of a child suspected to be having LD consists of a medical examination as well as a vision and hearing test analysis of school performance.

To diagnose such student, a perimeter is available which estimates their problem by an education testing. Although, it can be helped or aided for improvement with Individualized Remedial Education Plan (IEP). With the help of a planned strategy, most children learn to cope up with disability and get integrated into a regular stream. But this disability doesn’t stop here, it pertains even in higher education students.

It’s a lifelong process of development which heals itself day after day.  

A study conducted by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People revealed shocking facts of discrimination against those with disabilities. A survey under the study showed 89 schools across the country had a mere 0.5 percent of the total number of students with disabilities.

Eighteen schools questioned during the survey accepted that they did not admit students with disabilities. Twenty percent of the schools were not even aware of the 1995 Disability Act at all.

“The Bachelor of Education (B. Ed.) syllabus doesn’t have enough information on disabilities. There is a section on special education, but nothing on inclusion,” said Koshi a central university student working in the field. As a result, teachers are, at times, shockingly uninformed about children with disabilities. There is a lack of awareness among teachers and professors about LD.

These students have no less capability to understand or acquire knowledge as compared to others rather they qualify for this status if they have an unexpectedly high IQ score.

People with LD don’t come across as being one quite easily until their educational history is brought under attention. Thus, special attention ought to be given to them as they are under constant stress to figure out the dividing line between the socially standardised intellectual students and the not so intellectual ones.

The India government definitely has certain provisions for LD students, but they, at large, fail to be revised and implemented as they fall on the back foot of the disabled category. The LD students are not obvious in nature and have integrated issues, but they remain to be disabled if not in the socially obvious manner.

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On World Disability Day, NGO Narayan Seva Sansthan to hold free-of-cost Limb Donation Camp in Delhi

In addition to corrective surgeries, the camp is expected to provide training to the specially-abled and poor people to develop their potential so that they can be self-reliant

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Representational Image. Pixabay.

New Delhi, Dec 2, 2016: A charitable organisation will hold an artificial limb donation camp in which 101 aids including 51 artificial limbs, tri-cycles, wheelchairs and crutches will be distributed.

The free-of-cost limb donation camp, to be organised here on World Disability Day (December 3) by Narayan Seva Sansthan, will have around 100 amputees from across the country.

“During the camp, we will be distributing prosthesis and other devices that have been designed using the latest technology by prosthetists and not normal technicians,” Narayan Seva Sansthan President Prashant Agarwal told IANS on Thursday.

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In addition to corrective surgeries, the camp is expected to provide training to the specially-abled and poor people to develop their potential so that they can be self-reliant.

“The aim of the camp is to help, guide and encourage the patients. During such camps, we often see that patients feel encouraged when they see each other. They share their experiences and guide each other accordingly,” Agarwal said.

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“India is in great need for sensitisation, when it comes to disability and we must come together to combat the stigma surrounding disabilities,” he added.

“The Artificial Limb Distribution camp is another endeavour from our side to help these individuals in their path to a fully-functioning member of the society,” he explained. (IANS)

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Unique ID Cards For the Disabled Coming Soon in India

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Disabled man in Calcutta. Image courtesy: indiamike.com
  • 2.23% of India’s population suffers from various disabilities 
  • For the first time, Ministry of Social Justice has come up with a new database to issue UDID cards to differently able people
  • The cards will indicate the intensity of disability through a color scheme

The Ministry of Social Justice, a branch of the government responsible for welfare, social justice, and empowerment of disadvantaged and marginalized sections of society, will launch a central database for the disabled and issue Unique Disable Identity (UDID) cards.

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The design for these cards seems to have been well thought upon. On one side, a color bar will show the level of intensity of the disability. A yellow bar indicates the extent of disability of 40%, blue for 40% to 80%, and above 80% is indicated by the color red. These cards will also bear a unique hologram to avoid duplicate identities.

Around 2.23% of the population in India suffer from disabilities, which amount to about 27 million people. There had been no system until now to identify this huge chunk of the population. The database that is being worked on by the government will be available to the public domain in June for registration at the district level, a first of its kind endeavor.

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The portal will serve as a means to acquire disability certificates, and will ensure that everyone with all degrees of disabilities has access to this facility. The portal will allow the people to mention details of their disabilities, after which they will go through a screening process before being allotted UDID cards. Because not everyone has access to the internet, a provision of offline forms has been ensured.

Vinod Aggarwal, Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment at the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities said on Tuesday last week, “This would enable the government to have genuine and real time data on disability covering various aspects such as level of education, income and employment status”.

The Government also plans to establish Central University for Disability Studies and Research in Kerala, following which, similar centers will be built in other states too.

-written by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96

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3 responses to “Unique ID Cards For the Disabled Coming Soon in India”

  1. That’s a very thoughtful and effective way to provide the disabled with ID Cards. Measuring of level of disability can also be done which may help them to avail government schemes.

  2. A very important and effective measure taken for the disabled people. Also, measuring the level of disability with color is a good idea as it would help the government to categorize people into various groups.

  3. such an initiative is a welcome change. however, the government should be careful that measuring of the disability level done prior to receiving the ID is done in a fair and proper manner, which is free from corruption.

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Meet Saif Ahmad Khan: ‘Save the Quest’ NGO Founder makes Education more flexible for Specially-Abled and Unprivileged Children in India

The story is about Save the Quest, an NGO that works for the upliftment and sustainability of the specially abled

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-by Chetna Karnani

The modern metropolitan Indian is a frequent visitor to restaurants and multiplexes. But how many of us have given a thought to it whether such places are friendly to specially-abled people? 

In an exclusive interview with Reporter Chetna Karnani of NewsGram Team, Saif Ahmad Khan, founder of ‘Save the Quest’ NGO, discusses his ideas and shares his thoughts on how Education can change the fate of the specially-abled and unprivileged children  in India.

It was not long ago when ‘Save the Quest‘, an independent NGO in New Delhi came into being in order to make this world a better place for the specially abled. Established by Saif Ahmad Khan during his graduation days, ‘Save the Quest’ works towards the quality education and upliftment of specially-abled and underprivileged children in Delhi and Bihar. A success story like none other, Save the Quest shatters the preconceived notions of the society that NGOs these days are mere glamorous means to acquire financial gains in the name of social work.

Save the Quest at a feast with orphan children during Ramadan
Save the Quest at a feast with orphan children during Ramadan. Image source: Save the Quest

Before its inception in 2013, Saif has worked with various NGOs like ‘Save the Children’ and has also carried out social work since his childhood. “The only driving force for me to start this organisation was to turn my passion into profession. When Swine Flu was a serious problem in India, I used to make posters and stick them around the school to raise awareness among students and make them conscious about this issue. This is how it all began.

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Everyone comes across children begging at street lights but anyone hardly pays any heed to their condition. It is usually not out of choice that these children take up begging instead of spending their childhood amidst books and carefree play. Saif, back in his hometown Patna, once approached these children and began his pursuit to impart them quality education. “Bringing children to a school is not a problem. The real challenge is to sustain their interest.

As a result, I started with showing them cartoon films and giving away sweets at the end of the class. And slowly I shifted to educational videos so that they got basic knowledge like alphabets while enjoying these videos”, says Khan, whose aim was to bring schools to children who could not go to a school.

Meals during studies
Meals during studies. Image source: Save the Quest

Beginning with only six children at first, this mobile school now reaches remote rural parts of Bihar where there are either no schools or where female literacy is almost zero.

Most underprivileged children have mid-day meals as the only motivation to go to schools, and this directly hampers the quality of education. Students who wish to study sincerely are not provided with adequate facilities to study, or are simply victims of poverty and submit to their condition. Therefore, in an attempt to change the face of the Indian education system, Saif’s team initially builds strong relationships with these children so that learning also contributes to their growth and helps them groom.

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Apart from that, the NGO is also associated with a Delhi based orphanage (name withheld) that requires the sponsorship for these children’s education. There are challenges like fundraising and seeking guardianship that every NGO faces.

One of the awareness campaigns carried out by the NGO
“I PLEDGE”, one of the awareness campaigns carried out by the NGO. Image source: Save the Quest

“Problems began with the mere thought of starting an NGO. My family and friends were earlier hesitant to support since the students’ stationery and other expenses were met from my savings. Today we need sponsors for around 500 children, and if each person contributes a small amount of 400 per month, their overall development expenses can be met,” said Saif.

The children are also introduced with sports, and are also taught chess. For his personal contribution towards eradicating disability as an outlawed issue which only attracts sympathy but no substantial help, Saif has sponsored the development of a girl child who is on wheelchair. A very active 8 year old child, says Khan, who is now determined to prepare her for Paralympics to be held in 2026 and is currently trying to find a coach for her.

Saif has also published a book within a team of 12 students named ‘Opportunities and Barriers for Students with Disabilities’ under the research of University of Delhi.

Besides children, the NGO also runs employability training for the blind and differently abled, for they believe that the most important means to their stability is their financial independence. Ishant Rajput, 24, is associated with the NGO since its beginning and was trained regarding basic computer qualifications. Ishant is now a successful graduate and is preparing for competitive exams.

'The Band'
‘The Band’. Image source: Save the Quest

“It is students like Ishant who make me realise that the words disability and difficulty are not related at all. Disability is just a social contruct and it is our duty to create a barrier-free existence for these children”, claims the founder chairperson of Save the Quest.

"A walk for the Visually Impaired" held in University of Delhi
“A Walk for the Visually Impaired” held in University of Delhi. Image source: Save the Quest

Save the Quest has helped more than five thousand visually impaired children in the past three years and has organised sensitisation and fund raising campaigns.

For any information on volunteering or to donate, you may contact Saif through:
Phone: 08585907442
E-mail: saif.stq@gmail.com
Website: www.savethequest.org

Chetna is a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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