Exercise to identify children with special needs

For the first time, a comprehensive survey of disabled children in the State is proposed to be carried out. The Rajiv Vidya Mission (RVM) plans to commence the survey from December 3, which is World Disabled Day.

A survey done during 2006-07 showed the percentage of disabled children to be 2.42, which is less than the national average of 3 per cent. Authorities feel the survey was not done properly as teachers noted down only those impairments which could be seen with the naked eye and missed out on disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy and low vision.

Disabled children, officials think, could be close to 5 per cent in the State. The whole exercise is intended to identify children with special needs so that they could be provided inclusive education after medical assessment.

Usha Rani, State project director, RVM, plans to enlist the support of the 89,000 Anganwadi workers to carry out the survey. The Women and Child Welfare Department has been sounded in this regard.

The Anganwadi workers, it is said, have close rapport with parents and know even such disabilities of children which parents do not want to disclose. There is one Anganwadi worker for every 100 to 150 families.

In the first phase, identification of the disabled children will be done from December 3 to 10, in the second phase (December 15 to 27) special educators will go and confirm the disability and in the third phase (January 21 onwards) medical assessment of the children will be done.

“With this comprehensive data we will know the type of disability and what exactly the children need,” says B.D.V. Prasad Murthy, coordinator, Inclusive Education, RVM.

RVM authorities are going an extra mile to ensure that no child remains out of school. To realise this ambitious goal, efforts are on to integrate children with special needs in the regular schools.

Escort allowance of Rs. 250 per month to bring disabled children to school, defrayment of transport expenses for availing physiotherapy facility and assisted devices are some of the steps already taken to get the disabled children to school.

After the medical assessment, children with severe disabilities will be provided home-based education. They will essentially be imparted simple life skills like how to brush, dress and carry out day to day chores.