Institute for mentally challenged to start new course

COIMBATORE, APRIL 24. The National Institute for Mentally Handicapped (NIMH), Secunderabad, will start a postgraduate degree in Disability Studies (MDS) in order to overcome the shortage of trained personnel in the rehabilitation of disabled, the Director, NIMH, L. Govinda Rao, has said.

Talking to The Hindu here recently, he said that the branches of the degree would be MDS in Vocational Training and Early Intervention. Other courses offered by the institute are M.Phil in Rehabilitation Psychology, B.Ed and M.Ed in Special Education, PG Diploma in Early Intervention, Diploma in Vocational Training and Employment and Diploma in Early Childhood and Special Education.

The institute offered technical guidance to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and about 60 short-term programmes were offered. He said that the institute focused on seven priority areas which included promotion of self-help groups (SHGs) of the disabled, assisting women with disabilities, early detection, intervention and education, training and self employment.

The others were access to disabled friendly environment and public transport, access to Information and Communication Technology and poverty alleviation programmes (arranging pensions, providing health facilities, etc). On the monitoring of these NGOs, he said that Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunity, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, was passed to scrutinise the activities of NGOs.

The State Commissioners and the District Rehabilitation Officers kept a watch on the activities of the NGOs (both funded by Government and the ones run with the help of private donations).

Organisations working for the rehabilitation of the disabled should look into the life cycle needs of the disabled. Hence early detection and intervention was a must, he added.

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