Free screening at Father Muller hospital for a month.

“It’s not a disease, it’s a condition. We’re all disabled in some way or the other; it is only the degree of disability that matters,” senior paediatrician Sanjeeva Rai of Father Muller Medical College and Hospital has said.

With these words, the process of educating parents of cerebral palsy children started. The anxious parents had gathered at the Hospital on Tuesday for “Free physiotherapy screening for children with development delay and awareness programme” that was held on the occasion of “World Cerebral Palsy Day” and “World Physiotherapy Day”.

Doctors at the programme estimated that 12,000 children had been identified with cerebral palsy in the State; while officials of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, which collaborated with the hospital on the programme, said that 53 children with the condition, that afflicted physical and mental capabilities of the child, had been enrolled in schools in Mangalore taluk.

Dakshina Kannada Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) MosesJayashekhar said teachers had been trained in handling children with special needs.

For parents worried about their children’s chances at education, SSA officials promised that the syllabus and pattern of examinations had been tweaked to help them. For example, while children were exempted from second and third languages as well as mathematics and science. They were even given certificate training in computers, singing, and drawing, said Irene Pinto, integrated education teacher, SSA. “Moreover, 5 per cent of the jobs have been reserved to those who are differently-abled,” she said.

Though questions regarding mobility of their children or making them behave “like other children” mostly received a negative response from the doctors, they did make sure to impart necessary tools, advices, and medical solutions to ensure the condition has the least detrimental effect on the children.

Free screening would continue on for a month at the hospital. Emphasis would be on educating parents about the medical help and physiological help, including speech and hearing training, to ensure the symptoms of the condition were reduced, said NarasimhanSwaminathan, associate professor, Department of Physiotherapy.

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