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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

MNCs make a beeline to job fair for differently-abled : Chennai

The event organised by the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for the Handicapped saw a large number of participants | Albin Mathew
The event organised by the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for the Handicapped saw a large number of participants


A job fair for the differently-abled organised in the city saw 18 multi-national companies queuing up to pick the best candidates.

The event organised by the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for the Handicapped under the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Tuesday, saw a high number of participants, both in terms of candidates and employers.

The companies that came in included Tech Mahindra, HCL, IBM, Croma and Futura. “The situation has changed considerably from the past when we had to request companies to come and recruit differently-abled candidates. Today more and more organisations are coming forward and asking us for differently-abled candidates as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility activities,” said Deputy Director of the Vocational Rehabilitation Centre, P K Cherian.

“In a job fair held last  week, we were able to recruit differently-abled  students to reputed companies like Wipro, Godrej and ITC hotels,” he said. “Some of the jobs that were secured by these students had a starting salary to the tune of `30,000,” he added.

Speaking at the inaugural function, the organisers also requested the candidates to upgrade their skills to meet the demands of the industry. “Every day we receive about 10 to 15 applications for jobs. But every one of these candidates wants a government job and security in life. No one comes for training in self-employment or for skill development opportunities,” said Cherian.

He also asked the students to shun their dependence on government jobs. “Reservation for differently-abled candidates is only three per cent and the number of applicants under the category is huge. There are a large number of multi-nationals with immense scope of development.Students must grab these opportunities,” he said.

The event saw about 800 candidates from the physically challenged and hearing and speech-impaired category. The job fair is targeted at persons with disabilities in the age group of 18 to 30 years who have studied up to Class X or above.

Source : The New Indian Express , 31st July 2013 

700 deaf, mute to sing national anthem in sign language : Vadodra

Prerna 2013 - a national-level social event organized by the students of M S University's (MSU) Faculty of Technology and Engineering (FTE) is set to make a new record this year. During the two-day annual event - Prerna - the budding engineers of MSU will attempt to register a Limca Book of Records.

The record will be one of its kind in which more than 700 deaf and mute people from every caste, creed and sex will perform the Indian national anthem on the same platform in sign language.

Through this, the students will pay a tribute to the national anthem, which has completed 100 years and celebrate the era of prosperity.

Prerna, being held for the eighth consecutive year on August 3 and August 4, is aimed at providing a platform to the differently-abled from across the country to showcase their abilities and talents.

Over 2,000 differently-abled including the physically handicapped, mentally disabled, deaf and mute and visually impaired participants are expected to take part in 35 different events.

"This year, under our new initiative - Shiksha - we will support education of nearly 10 under privileged students enrolled in Navprerna run by Navrachana Education Society for the under represented segments of the society," said FTE student Jainish Parikh.

Apart from blind and disabled cricket tournaments which are an annual feature at Prerna, the students are also organizing a blood donation camp, a free health check-up camp and will be involving the elderly in the two days programme.

"Under the 'Joy of Giving', we will be collecting stationery and clothes among other things for the under privileged while Dhaval Khatri, a double amputee magical painter, who holds the world record in painting in one minute, will be a part of Prerna where he will create live paintings," said Parikh.

Also, Amar Sen and Sabyasachi Sen, will present the phenomenal acts of hand shadowgraphy and sand art.
Source  : 31st July 2013 

The Banyan turns 20 : Chennai

(From left) Joske Bunders of Athena Institute, Amsterdam, S Parasuraman, Director, Tata Institute, and Vandana Gopikumar, co-founder, The Banyan | Martin Louis

(From left) Joske Bunders of Athena Institute, Amsterdam, S Parasuraman, Director, Tata Institute, and Vandana Gopikumar, co-founder, The Banyan

Stating that the apparatus to treat the mentally ill in the State is better compared to many other States, secretary to the Health and Family Welfare Department, Dr J Radhakrishnan, said that cooperation from quarters such as non-governmental organisations and volunteers was still essential.

“The State government has announced a slew of measures, including setting up a 250-bed hospital at Yerwadi in Ramanathapuram district, but for last-mile healthcare cooperation from all stakeholders is paramount,” he said, speaking at the 20th anniversary celebrations of The Banyan.

On the occasion, the NGO signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tata Institute of Social Sciences and VU University, Amsterdam, to start a master’s programme in social work and mental health. According to the agreement, training will be provided to people to take care of the mentally ill at the BALM (Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health) by staff from the VU University; the degrees will be given by the TISS.

Radhakrishnan’s view struck a chord with Dr Kishore, senior psychiatrist at National Institute for Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS). The latter concurred: “The nation has around 4,000 psychiatrists, 1,000 psychiatric nurses and perhaps an equal number of psychologists. While these numbers may be woefully insufficient for a nation of over one billion, what’s depressing is that at least 120-odd districts across the nation lack basic access to mental healthcare.”

He added that creative solutions are the need of the hour for such large gaps in service delivery, with its outreach at basic healthcare levels, beginning at the Primary Health Centre (PHC).

Vandana Gopikumar, co-founder of The Banyan, said that it was the very sight of a semi-naked woman running in the streets of the city that moved her to start the organisation.

She dwelt on the genesis of the organisation of how it initially accommodated around 80 women at a rented premises. Vandana related the poignant tale of how a woman, who went missing for over six years and was presumed to be dead by her family, had a happy ending when the woman, after receiving care from their institution, was reunited on the day of her daughter’s marriage.

Prof Parasuraman of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, averred that the issue needed to be addressed at the formative stage itself.

“This can be achieved only by making technicians available at the grassroots level,” he said.  Union Health Secretary Keshav Desiraju and Joske Bunders, director of Athena Institute of VU University, Amsterdam, were also present.

Source :  The New Indian Express , 27th July 2013

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Court questions 3% reservation for differently-abled MBBS degree holders

The Delhi High Court has questioned the 3% reservation for differently-abled persons holding MBBS degree only in non-surgical posts. While hearing a plea pertaining to such an appointment, the Court asked, ”Does the Centre feel that differently-abled persons with valid MBBS degrees are unfit to perform their duties as doctors in surgical procedures?” The Court has sought a clarification from the ministry of social justice and empowerment in this regard.

A bench of Justices Pradip Nandrajog and V Kameswar Rao has also directed the chief commissioner for persons with disabilities to appear in the Court on Monday. The Court order follows a plea in which an ENT surgeon has challenged the appointment of an orthopedically-handicapped (OPH) candidate for the same post in AIIMS for which he too had applied.

The surgeon, Dilip Samal, had applied for the post of senior resident/demonstrator at AIIMS in July last year under the OBC category. He challenged the appointment of an OPH candidate after his RTI query revealed that the selected candidate had scored less than the qualifying marks in written test. Samal was later informed by the AIIMS authorities that as per procedure those who qualify under the OPH category are adjusted in the respective category, irrespective of the marks and merits in the entrance exam.

Samal then approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for relief. In January this year, the CAT had set aside the selection of the OPH candidate Mohammad Mubashshirul Haq. It had ruled that the AIIMS had not notified any relaxed standards of suitability for the OPH candidates while inviting applications or any time thereafter. AIIMS, in turn, challenged CAT’s ruling before the High Court.

The Court took note of the fact that Section 32 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 and the DoPT guidelines mandate that authorities first identify posts to be reserved in medical facilities for persons with disabilities and specifically earmark them.

And that these seats cannot be adjusted with vacancies under other categories.

“Two issues arise out of the plea. The first being whether it is mandatory in law to identify seats reserved for differently-abled persons in medical specialities when applicants are invited from eligible candidates. The other issue which arises is a directive issued by the ministry of social justice and empowerment, government of India, requiring reservation in the medical field only in non-surgical posts,” the Court said.

“It is the second issue which troubles us more than the first. Prima facie, we find it strange that the ministry of social justice and empowerment would be of the opinion that differently-abled persons person would be unfit to perform duties as a doctor in a discipline which requires surgical procedures to be performed,” it said.

Source : DNA , 28th July 2013 

Flying Scholarships for Disabled People awarded certificates of scholarship to nine trainees

On the occasion of this year's Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT 2013) the disability and aviation charity, Flying Scholarships for Disabled People (FSDP) awarded certificates of scholarship to nine new trainees and congratulated a further eight for achieving their wings.

The charity’s programme aims to change the candidate’s lives, all of whom are disabled, through the medium of flight. This brings the total number of students that have been through the training programme to nearly 400 over a 30 year period. 

The certificates were awarded to the proud scholars by the charity Patron His Royal Highness Prince Faisal of Jordan whilst the chief of the air staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton presented them with flying jackets. 

In welcoming the guests to the ceremony, chairman of the charity Edwin Brenninkmeyer paid tribute to the courage, determination and good humour of the scholars for overcoming seemingly impossible situations in order to gain a new lease of life. Amongst the scholars were those who had lost limbs through injury in military action, had suffered devastating motorbike accidents or who suffer from neurological problems making everyday life a challenge. “FSDP aims to demonstrate that whilst you are physically challenged you can still learn and develop new skills that seem to be out of reach. To use a familiar saying we don’t wish to give them fish, we want to teach them how to fish.  The scholars show that with the right attitude almost anything is possible and we are very proud of all of them,” said Brenninkmeyer in his opening speech. 

One of this year’s sets of wings was awarded to Alan Robinson. Having lost his right leg in a motorbike accident Alan took up the opportunity to learn to fly microlights and will be joining a team of disabled men and women who will be flying to Antarctica next year. This expedition is being supported by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry through the Royal Foundation and demonstrates just what can be achieved through the FSDP programme. 

Special awards were also presented to two of this year’s newly qualified pilots. Mary Doyle who suffers from Cerebral Palsy was awarded The Wings Around the World Trophy which is awarded to the female scholar who is judged to have achieved much from the flight training experience. Since learning to fly Mary has not only gained in confidence but now has become an ambassador for the charity and never hesitates to give as much back as she can. The award was presented by renowned female aviator Polly Vacher who through two solo round the world flights raised up to half a million pounds for FSDP.  A second award, the George Stewart Memorial trophy which is presented to the scholar judged to have achieved the most from the scholarship, was awarded to Mark Tomlinson.  

Lee Noon was awarded this year’s Red Arrows scholarship and was proud to have his photo taken with the Red Arrows team who dropped in to show their ongoing support. Mike Child Red Arrow 9 commented: “It is great to offer people the opportunity to go flying that otherwise wouldn’t have the chance. Flying gives the feeling of being in control and for those restricted to a wheelchair or by minimal movement flight provides a whole new dimension in which to function. The confidence they build from the training is amazing and we are so pleased to be involved with such an excellent charity.”

Source : Arabian Aero Space , 30th July 2013

Foundation stone for Ability Village laid : IMPHAL

The foundation stone for 'Ability Village', an empowerment centre for Persons with Disabilities, was laid at Pearsonmun in Churachandpur district with UN Resident Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Pi Lise Grande as Chief Guest today. 

The Centre is to be set up under the auspices of Centre for Community Initiative (CCI), an NGO started by like-minded individuals to work for the betterment of human society.

Registered in 2002 as a Society, CCI opened The Malsawm Initiative (TMI), a School for Children with Special Needs, as its first project with an aim to provide appropriate service to children with disabilities so as to enable them to explore and enhance their potentialities.

CCI is currently a non-funded and self sustaining organization based in a land leased free of cost.

With the expansion in its activities and outcome, the organization has initiated setting up of the Ability Village.

UNDP Resident Representative Pi Lise Grande (R) speaking during the function

UNDP Resident Representative Pi Lise Grande (R) speaking during the function :


Unveiling the foundation stone of Ability Village, Pi Lise Grande read out the engraved words, marking a landmark in the history of CCI.

The foundation stone was then dedicated by Gen.

Secy of EBCC Rev S Vungminthang amid sounding of traditional gong and singing of 'We Shall Over Come' by the students of TMI as special number.

It was followed by a traditional dance (Namlaam) performed by Hiangtam Lamka Young Paite Association (YPA).

The Chief Guest also joined in the dance.

Later on, the Chief Guest planted a sapling to commemorate the event.

Founding father of CCI Pauzagin, Chief of Pearsonmun village Pu G Thanchuung, CEO of Salwan Media Harjiv Singh, etc, were among other dignitaries who were presented and felicitated on the occasion.

Source : E-Pao , 27th July 2013 

Lack of facilities keeps differently abled away from Coimbatore's educational institutions : Coimbatore

Focus on use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), to ensure differently abled lead an inclusive life, has stolen the attention from the real difficulties they face from the physical barriers. This is significant from the representations they have time and again made demanding a barrier-free environment.

While, most differently abled have easy use of audio-visual aids, equipment, computers and softwares to assist them, what remains elusive is the physical access to various places by virtue of these not being disabled-friendly. This is in terms of absence of ramps, lifts to accommodate wheel chairs, modified washrooms, etc. This becomes critical when these places are schools / colleges / universities.

This year, only a few higher education institutions have been able to admit students under the three per cent quota for the differently abled. Out of these, only a handful of colleges have admitted students in double digits. And, this is not because those with disability are not interested in pursuing higher, but because the institutions do not provide an environment conducive to them.

Even those who choose to pursue higher education are those with lesser percentage of disability.

Persons with disability of 70 per cent and above, and others who are confined to wheel chairs do not prefer to go to colleges because the infrastructure is not suited to their condition.

Though there is an Act – The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 – to ensure equal opportunities, higher education still remains a distant dream.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has schemes to provide grants for creating facilities in colleges that are 2 (f) and 12 (B) approved, and universities, but since the institutions do not take interest in applying for these, the schemes go unused.

But the recent State Government Order Ms. No. 21 (Tamil Nadu Urban Local Bodies Rules 2013 of February 1, 2013), the implementation of which comes with a time frame of 180 days, has brought some hope. The G.O. calls for making public and multi-storeyed buildings disabled-friendly in six months.

R. Rajendran, Principal of PSG College of Arts and Science, says, “The college has used the grant from UGC under the XI Fiver Year Plan, along with its own funds, to make existing buildings disabled friendly. Work is going on in phases to put up ramps, modify washrooms, etc. Some washrooms are already in use.”

More than 90 differently abled applied here for UG admission and the college admitted nearly 40 students based on eligibility and three per cent quota.

Visually challenged, and those who are hearing and speech impaired prefer to go to institutions that are exclusive for persons like them. However, there are only special schools and not colleges to accommodate them.

Nevertheless, Nithya Ramachandran, Deputy Joint Director, Sankara College of Arts and Science, says the college admits those with hearing and speech impairment.

“Special infrastructure, aids and faculty have been arranged to cater to these students. It requires special effort to provide them with an atmosphere that is conducive to study,” she says.

On colleges constructing infrastructure suited to the differently-abled, Ms. Ramachandran says that self-financing colleges do not get any provision from any source for taking up such activities.

Though the UGC provides grants, these are restricted only to colleges that have been approved under Sections 2 (f) and 12 (B) and not those recognised under Section 2 (l), which are not declared fit to receive central assistance.

Source : The Hindu , 27th June 2013

A different experience for the differently-abled : MADURAI

A DAY TO REJOICE: Differenltly-abled persons with their life partners at the ‘Swayamvaram’ held in the city on Sunday. Photo: G. Moorthy


A DAY TO REJOICE: Differenltly-abled persons with their life partners at the ‘Swayamvaram’ held in the city on Sunday.

      Source : THE HINDU , 30th July 2013 

K.Nagalakshmi, a differently-abled woman in her mid-twenties, says she believed she would never get married. However, finally she was able to find her life partner, thanks to a ‘swayamvaram’ organised by the Tamil Nadu Physically Handicapped Associations Service Federation.

On Sunday, around 350 differently-abled men and women registered their names to take part in the swayamvaram in the presence of their family members.

“I witnessed the swayamvaram last year and took part in it this year. I had no expectations before being a part of the swayamvaram, but I am happy that I found my life partner here,” says V.Maharajan, a differently-abled man, who is Ms.Nagalakshmi’s fiancé now.

Mr.Maharajan owns a mobile showroom at M.Vadipatti.
The couple met at the counselling session organised recently at a private school as part of the swayamvaram. The swayamvaram includes a counselling session for the prospective couples by legal experts, psychologists, psychiatrists and gynaecologists, says T.M.N.Deepak, State vice-president of the Federation of Tamil Nadu Physically Handicapped Association.

P.Shanthi, a B.Ed. graduate who has no disabilities, says, “I always wanted to marry a differently-abled person. When I came to know about the swayamvaram I participated in it.”

She is now engaged to M.Xavier, an electrician with walking disabilities. “Our families met and they liked each other,” says Mr.Xavier, with a choked voice.

According to Mr.Deepak, several women, who have no disabilities, are eager to marry the differently-abled men.

“Sadly not many normal men come forward to enter wedlock with differently-abled women,” he told The Hindu.

K.Muthiah, a differently-abled man, is now engaged to A.Muthammal, a woman with no disabilities.
“Muthammal and I are relatives. Both of us were working as insurance agents and we liked each other. The swayamvaram helped us decide our future,” Mr.Muthiah says.

According to the organisers, around 25 couples from Madurai will be selected to be part of the grand wedding celebration in Chennai on October 27.

“Around 60 to 100 differently-abled couples from all over the State will be selected to be part of the wedding celebration in Chennai. Last year, 24 couples participated from Madurai and this year we expect 25 couples to be part of the grand wedding,” says S.Boopathy, general secretary (south zone) of the Tamil Nadu Physically Handicapped Associations Service Federation.

Mayor V.V.Rajan Chellappa and Collector L.Subramanian blessed the couples and offered felicitations .


Swayamwara turns a new leaf in lives of differently-abled


Source : The New Indian Express , 30th July 2013

Differently-abled couples, who found perfect matches, being greeted by the organisers of the Swayamwara in Madurai on Sunday| Express

Differently-abled couples, who found perfect matches, being greeted by the organisers of the Swayamwara in Madurai on Sunday

An unusual buzz was witnessed at the Mango grove on way to Alagarkoil Hills on Sunday as hundreds of differently-abled persons from across the State assembled there to participate in the ‘Swayamwara’ organised by Tamil Nadu Physically Handicapped Associations Federation (TNPHAF) South Zone forum.

Hundreds of prospective brides and grooms, along with parents and relatives, were seen scanning the profiles of other participants to find a perfect match.

R Suresh (32), a technical staff at Anna University Centre, who has locomotive disability, came all the way from Villupuram to find a suitable girl for himself. Suresh said, “I came to know of Swayamwara last year, but could not make it then. This year I got an invitation from the organisers and attended.” Such programmes were a boon to the differently-abled in the State, he added.

S Bhoopathy, State Vice President of TNPHAF, said, “The track record of the Swayamwara programme is improving. This year around 350 registered with us as against 200 last year. Around 50 couples were able to find suitable partners and the record will be much better than last year’s.”

K Nagalakshmi (30), of Sellur in Madurai, and Maharaja (30), of Dindigul, were the first couple whose profiles matched. Both of them had orthopaedic disorders. Maharaja said, “All these years I had not even thought that I will get married. But with such bodies playing active role for the welfare of the differently-abled I too have found a match for myself.”

“It is difficult for people like us to find a job and get married. We have to strive hard to earn a status in the society,” Maharaja added.

However, Maharaja said that he was happy over finding a suitable match for himself after a struggle of three years. Maharaja, who owns a stationery shop at Batlagundu, said that he would be able to take care of his prospective bride through his business.

Meanwhile, S Bhoopathy said, “We have made the necessary arrangements for the stay of the participants and their families.  Some participants discussed various issues linked to the marriage with the families of partners they had chosen and entered into alliances.”

So far, around 50 couples have found their matches in the Swayamwara this year.  According to organisers, once a perfect match is found and the families approve of alliance, the prospective groom and the bride are invited to a podium. The organisers said that those who had found their matches would be married off at Chennai by Geeta Bhavan Trust. Collector L Subramanian and Corporation Mayor V V Rajan Chellappa were also present.




Funfair for the differently abled : Chennai


It was not just salsa and hiphop, but also Vijay songs for the little dance troupe from the Guild of Service during the event called ‘Corporate Commitment’ organised by the Shakti Foundation here on Saturday. Being differently abled didn’t stop them from coming forward and entertaining hundreds of students and teachers, who had gathered at the St George’s Grounds for the event.

The students, some of them who found it difficult to stand upright, had been practising hard for the dance performance, every day after their school hours.

“Some of them are extremely naughty and will not practise when you ask them to. But every time they see a dance step on TV, they will pester me to teach them the same,” said their dance teacher.

The event was a meeting point for corporate employees, students from ordinary schools and differently abled schools, saw 15 special schools and nine normal schools participate. A march past by over 1,000 students from across different schools set the tune for the day.

After the inaugural function, the day was open for fun with percussionist Sivamani rendering his rousing performance, students, young and old, including special children, clapping and thumping to his beats.

 A line-up of cultural events followed and  students from several special schools staged a variety of cultural performances, including dance and music.

“When I first saw them perform with such enthusiasm and happiness, I felt so happy. We are now looking forward to invite them at our school for a similar cultural event and interaction,” said  Janani Kandallu of Chinmaya Vidyalaya.

Through the course of the event several students came up with more ideas on newer programmes of their own. “We could have a skype interaction everyday. We might not be able to go to the each other’s schools every day. But a skype interaction would be great way of getting to know each other,” said Y S Aneesh of Maharishi Vidya Mandir. Corporates too were not far behind.

Mahathi Parashuram of Grundfos Pumps India said that there were multiple ways in which corporates can get involved to create more inclusion. “One is through employing the differently abled and making sure that all the necessary infrastructure for their use is available. Creating awareness among other employees and then through your own products, you can make a lot of difference,” she said.

Source : The New Indian Express , 30th July 2013 

Deaf and dumb, this kid can be cured if... Patna

When Ayush was born - as hale and hearty as any other baby his age - in 2006, his father Narad Thakur never thought the diarrhoea that every baby suffers from while teething would render him deaf and, resultantly, dumb. Seven years on, the father-son duo continue to knock the doors of one and all for the humble barber at Bikhna Pahadi cannot afford to pay the Rs 8 lakh that the doctors at AIIMS-Delhi estimate to be the cost to cure the 7-year-old.

Narad blames his child's woes on the negligence of the paediatrician who attended on him while he was teething. "My family members also thought it to be ordinary diarrhoea, but complications continued even after six months and he thinned and thinned. He was then down with chickenpox. We took him to this child specialist who said he had TB."

A native of Nawada, Narad said Ayush subsequently stopped reacting to sounds and even addresses to him. "I am a poor barber who cannot fight with a doctor. Also, I don't have proof against the doctor as it was much later that we realized Ayush had stopped hearing," Narad said, explaining why he didn't want to name the doctor.

As doctors in Patna proved of no help, the daily wage earner took his child to Vellore and Delhi. At AIIMS-Delhi, the doctors diagnosed Ayush's disorder as bilateral profound hearing loss and advised cochlear implant which costs around Rs 8 lakh.

Not that the poor man threw in his towel then and there. The BPL card holder somehow approached Muzaffarpur MP Jayanarayan Nishad who wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in March this year, seeking a directive to the AIIMS to treat the child free of cost or provide him the cost of treatment from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.

In May this year, the Prime Minister's Office wrote to Narad that a sum of Rs three lakh had been sanctioned to defray the expenses involved in the treatment of the child. Undeterred, Narad moved chief minister Nitish Kumar for aid from the Mukhya Mantri Chikitsa Sahayata Kosh. Citing rules, however, the committee that takes a call on such applications turned down Narad's request.

The harried father has now pinned hopes on charity from fellow citizens. Having heard the child's story, a Maner resident has donated Rs 25,000 to him. "But even Rs 3.25 lakh is like a drop in the ocean, isn't it?" asked Narad.
Source : TOI , 30th July 2013 

Born deaf kid utters first word — ‘abbu’ — after 3 years, can now hear too

Bangaloreans and a business house contributed towards the treatment of three-year-old Touheed who, fitted with high-definition hearing aids and following some months of speech therapy, can now lisp ‘ammi’ and ‘bhaiyya’ too.

It took the first three years of his life for little Touheed Ali to utter his first word recently – “abbu” (father). But it was the most beautiful sound to his parents — Nawaz Ali and Rehaana. Like his 13-year-old elder brother Tahir, Touheed too was born deaf. The children’s condition is linked to the consanguineous marriage of their parents — Nawaz and Rehaana are first cousins.
Nawaz, who works with a security agency, could only afford hearing aid kits for his elder son. When ENT specialists suggested a cochlear implant costing around Rs 7 lakh for the younger one, the father, who earns around Rs 15,000 a month, knew it was way beyond his means.
Bangalore Mirror had highlighted the family’s story, especially how elder brother Tahir wanted Touheed to get better treatment than he had (Forget about me, just cure my baby brother, March 27). Our readers responded by loosening their purse-strings and a well-known business house volunteered to foot the treatment costs.
Today, after four months of treatment and three months of speech therapy, Touheed, who sports high-definition hearing aids in his tiny ears, can hear what people are saying, tries to join in the conversation and every once in a while looks lovingly at his dear “bhaiyya”.

While Rs 42,000 was deposited in Touheed’s account by generous citizens, the Hindujas of Gokuldas Warehousing Corporation sponsored the treatment. A fresh round of tests at their own hospital – Sindhi Hospital – concluded that instead of a cochlear implant, high-definition hearing aids would suffice at this stage of his life as an infection after the operation could not be ruled out.
The ENT specialists estimated that the treatment would cost around Rs 70,000. Rajendra Hinduja wrote out a cheque for Rs 50,000 and handed it to the boy’s father. The hearing aids were fixed at Clarity Hearing Aid Centre in Cox Town and the treatment cost came to Rs 60,000.

“I have opened a fixed deposit with the Rs 42,000 and will use the money for upgradation of the hearing aids. As the ears grow bigger, the kit too has to be upgraded,’’ Nawaz said.
Once the hearing aids were fixed to his ears, Touheed was taken to a speech and hearing institute at Lingarajpuram for speech therapy. After three months of sessions, Touheed uttered his first word — “abbu” — followed by “bhaiyya” and “ammi”. Last week, he was put in a pre-school near his house in BTM Layout.

Tahir’s own speech and hearing abilities, after several years of speech therapy, are around 70 per cent of normal – he is now studying in the eighth standard. 
Those who want to help with their ongoing treatment costs can contact Ali Nawaz on 95387 67078.
Source : Bangalore Mirror , 30th July 2013 

Charges framed against 3 of family, doc for rape, forcible abortion : Chandigarh

Additional district and sessions judge Shalini S Nagpal on Saturday framed charges against three women and a man for forcible termination of pregnancy after rape of a mentally challenged and physically handicapped 14-year-old girl.

The police had registered the FIR on February 23 against main accused Vijay alias Vicky, his sister Sunita, mother Shanti, and SAS Nagar-based doctor Rashmi Jain, under sections 376 (rape), 313 (causing miscarriage without woman's consent), 363 (kidnapping), 366 (abducting or inducing woman to compel for marriage), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120 (conspiracy).

The victim's mother, resident of Sector 56, had complained that the teen, mentally challenged and affected by polio, had been raped by their neighbour Vicky. The mother had found that out as, after her daughter remained unwell for some days, she and Sunita (the alleged rapist's sister) took the girl to a private clinic run by Dr Rashmi Jain in Phase 1, SAS Nagar, where it came to light that the girl was five months pregnant.

Later, the girl, a student of Class 4, told her mother that she had indeed been raped by Vicky. When the mother approached Vicky's family, they threatened her. Then, on February 21, in the mother's absence, Sunita and Shanti allegedly took the victim to Rashmi's clinic again and got her pregnancy terminated.

Upon return, the victim's mother found her bleeding and took her to the government hospital in Phase 6, where the abortion came to light and the police were informed. The accused were arrested and the cops also raided Rashmi's clinic to find some incriminating documents.

The case would now be heard on July 29. 

Source : Hindustan Times , 28th July 2013 

UN survey focuses on how persons with disabilities cope during disasters

An evacuation drill being conducted in Dong Phuoc village, Vietnam.


A United Nations online survey launched today seeks to provide insight into how to reduce risk and help persons with disabilities around the world cope with and prepare for disaster events.

The first-ever survey of its kind, produced by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and partners, focuses on issues such as the ability to protect oneself and having sufficient time to evacuate before a potential disaster. It also asks questions about knowledge, awareness and participation in disaster management plans at national and local level.

“The survey will focus on a major blind spot in disaster management, the needs of the one billion or more people estimated to live with some form of disability,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström.

“We can expect that as many as 30 million people living with a disability are affected during an average year by earthquakes and weather-related hazards.”

According to UNISDR, this is the first survey of its kind and the data gathered could help Governments and international organizations put in place preparedness policies aiming to protect persons with disabilities during disasters.

“This survey has the potential to provide a very revealing insight into how we can reduce disaster risk for people living with disabilities which can then be included in the new global agreement on disaster risk reduction which will be in place by 2015,” Ms. Wahlström said.

The survey results will be announced on International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction which is marked each year on October 13. In a news release, UNISDR said it is working closely with UN Enable, the Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network for Asia and the Pacific and other partners on implementing the survey.

Source : U.N , 29th July 2013

Saturday, 27 July 2013

A needed expansion : Saudia Arabia

Wheelchair-bound pilgrims perform tawaf on the raised platform around the Holy Kaaba. Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, head of the Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques Affairs, inaugurated the 12-meter-wide facility on Thursday by pushing a wheelchair.

Source : Saudi Gazette , 27th July 2013 

Grand Mosque provides 12,000 wheelchairs : Saudia Arabia

Amid efforts to make pilgrimage easier for the disabled, the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques has provided 12,000 standard wheelchairs and 110 electric wheelchairs free of charge for their movement inside the mosque.

The standard wheelchairs are available at offices at the Eastern Square and the Ajayd. The powered versions are supplied from the Al-Safa office on the first floor where 521 wheelchairs are also available on rent, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“A number of volunteers are also ready to push wheelchairs around the clock,” said Director of Wheelchairs Administration at the Grand Mosque Muslih Al-Mahmadi.

Wheelchairs allow worshippers into the mosque through 10 gates such as the King Abdul Aziz, the Ajyad New, the Honain, Al-Safa, Arqam Escalator, Al-Marwah Escalator and Al-Marwah.

When the Tawaf Bridge is formally opened today all the wheelchairs will be allowed to enter the Mataf Bridge though the Ajyad bridge and exit through the New Qushasha bridge at the Al-Marwa side of the Grand Mosque.

The Haram police, emergency forces and Civil Defense will help regulate wheelchair-bound pilgrims when the Mataf Bridge is opened.

He added that the presidency and the wheelchair administration have jointly taken steps to curb the practice of some unlicensed wheelchair pushers charging high rates from pilgrims, especially at peak hours.

He also called on all the wheelchair users to keep their own tracks on the mataf in order not to obstruct the smooth flow of circumambulation.

Source : Arab News , 27th July 2013  

Disabled woman 'raped' : Imphal

In another case of abominable and shocking incident of crime against women, a mentally retarded and physically handicapped woman was allegedly raped at Khoyathong here this afternoon.

Bramacharimayum Samananda alias Somen alias Soma (36) s/o Tomba of Samaram Mayai Leikai, Thoubal district but presently staying at Bamon Leikai who is working as a cook in Chaluk Hotel No A-1, Mapal Kangjeibung allegedly raped the 26 year old woman at about 1 pm today.

The victim's mother too works at the same hotel and Samananda used to visit the victim's family occasionally.

Samananda came to the victim's family and asked for a glass of water this afternoon.

At that time, the victim's two younger brothers were away at a tyre workshop of Nagamapal.

Taking advantage of the solitary situation, Samananda allegedly raped the disabled woman, according to the victim's mother.

She said that her daughter came to the hotel and recounted the nightmarish incident to her at the hotel where she has been working.

The accused also threatened to kill the woman if she discloses his crime to anybody, further alleged the mother.

The mother said that a complaint would be filed at Imphal police station this evening itself.

Source : E-Pao Via The Sangai Express , 26th July 2013

'Make panel to ensure quota for the blind' : Lucknow

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has directed the state government to constitute a panel for monitoring and ensuring that 1% quota as provided by the rules for the visually disabled is fulfilled within six months. The court has sought an action-taken report after six months.

The order came from a division bench of Justice DP Singh and Justice Ashok Pal Singh on a writ petition filed by National Federation of Blind. Appearing on behalf of petitioners, advocate SK Rungta, who also happens to be visually impaired, said that under 'Persons with disabilities (equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) Act, 1995', the state government should provide 1% quota to visually challenged persons in all types of appointments. He however brought to notice a government order issued on June 9, 2009 which talked about a special drive to clear the backlog.

Rungta contended that the state government was reluctant to fulfill 1% quota for blind. From 1999 to 2010, the state government advertised 1.57 lakh Group C posts and filled about 78,000 seats, out of which, 49 candidates were from the blind quota. Similarly, in the same period, the state advertised 3,955 Group D posts and filled up 3733 posts out of which only 11 persons were blind.

The petitioner said that the state government should be more serious to give adequate representation to the blind.

Considering the matter, the court said that knowledge is not vested only in able persons, and there had been great thinkers and poets like John Milton and Tilly Aston who were also visually challenged.
Source : T.O.I , 27th July 2013 

Kolkata stages chess championship for the blind

A chess championship for the blind started off here Friday, proving that the visually impaired are just as talented as the privileged and promising exciting close finishes and hitherto unseen talent.

In its second edition, the All Bengal Chess Competition for the Blind, has drawn skilled chess players from several districts of the state to prove their mettle.

"Society is not aware that blind people are equally adept at doing a lot of things. They are equally talented. This championship is a way to create awareness that they are not behind anybody in talent," Debajyoti Roy, secretary National Institute of Professionals (NIP), the organisers, told IANS.

"It also helps in confidence building and strategesing," said Roy, adding that there has been a surge in number of participants since the first leg last year.

Roy said the one-day tournament spread across five rounds, was open to players across all ages, and included many former all India champs.

While the rules were the same, minor modifications of the chess boards were necessitated to aid the sightless in the matches.

The participants are allowed to feel the opponent's chess pieces to locate their positions on the board, that has got depressions and elevations to indicate positions of the black and white pieces respectively.

"Moreover, the pieces do not fall off or scatter away as there are tiny nails at the bottom through which they can be placed at appropriate squares that in turn have holes to fit in the nails," said Mishra.

To take it a step forward, Mishra said the organisation is collaborating with the apex chess body of the state - West Bengal Chess Association - to get the winners of the blind chess championships to match their skills with the mainstream players.

Source : Business Standard via IANS , 26th July 2013 

US NGO holds two-week workshop on autism : Chandigarh

Global Autism Project, a US based NGO which provide services to individuals with autism in under privileged communities worldwide, is holding a two week workshop and training programme for teachers at Society for Rehabilitation of Mentally Challenged (SOREM) in Sector 36.

The workshop which started on July 22, will train the teachers to deal with the students with autism by using Applied Behavioral Analysis. The NGO says that the therapy based on the principle that influencing a response associated with a particular behaviour may cause that behaviour to be shaped and controlled.

Molly Ola Penney, founder and the CEO of the NGO, said "We believe in embracing the talent and resources of the communities we serve by furnishing them with tools that engender self- reliance, sustainable development and continued innovation. We try our best to train the teachers and our partners but ask them to manage everything by themselves."

Comparing the issue of autism in India and in US, Molly added, "There is a higher rate of autism documented in US, because the parents, doctors and even the psychologists are not aware of the problem there. While India is lagging behind in terms of providing quality services and awareness."

Sangeeta Jain, a voluntary teacher at SOREM who has a son suffering from autism, said, "It is like a first hand experience in itself, these people are a way ahead while we are still struggling to reach that point of expertise to tackle this problem with same ease. There are situations when we get through a certain level of teaching but we get struck at one point of time. Through them, we are getting feedback at every step, the workshop is proving to be very helpful."

The NGO, was established in the year 2003 by Molly to provide comprehensive and coherent training for all the partners such that they can further provide children all over the world with effective therapy. Now the The Global Autism Project has partners in five countries, namely, Indonesia, Peru, Ghana, Kenya and India. India became the partner of the project in the year 2009. 

Source : Indian Express , 25th July 2013 

Enhancing travel for people with special needs : Malaysia

A wheelchair accessible van is part of Ace Altair Travels’ Travel Assist services for disabled travellers


WHO Incorporated in June 2004,  Ace Altair Travels is licensed with the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism to conduct inbound, outbound and ticketing operations. The Kuala Lumpur-based firm boasts a central location at The AmpWalk in Jalan Ampang, attracting a lot of walk-in customers from the surrounding offices, residences and diplomatic communities in the area. 

WHAT In January 2013, Ace Altair Travels expanded its range of inbound tour services to include travel products catering to the disabled and the elderly. Travel Assist, which has been trademarked and registered by the company, is a service specially designed to provide travel assistance for people with special needs, including the blind and hearing-impaired, in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding areas.

Services include arranging suitable disabled-friendly accommodation, providing accessible transportation to the disabled, crafting tailor-made itineraries for guests with special needs and arranging trained personnel to assist the traveller on vacation. Upon request, the company is able to arrange for rental of equipments such as wheelchairs, ramps, hoists, portable toilets and portable shower chairs.

Late last year, the company has also purchased a van fitted with an automatic wheelchair lift, which is used to serve wheelchair-bound passengers during airport transfers and tours.

WHY Travel Assist is the brainchild of Ace Altair Travels’ managing director Antony Leopold, who has post-poliomyelitis syndrome in both legs. He said: “My travel experiences as a disabled person has inspired me to provide a dedicated disabled service as I sincerely believe that travel should be all-inclusive, encompassing the able-bodied, the disabled and the elderly. There have also been requests for such services from my travel partners overseas that have FIT clients with special needs.

“What I find sad is that Malaysia presents a great challenge for travellers with mobility impairments. Sidewalks are often in disrepair, curbs are high and curb cuts are often missing or inadequate. Wheelchair users will frequently find their path of travel obstructed due to poorly designed walkways, parked cars, motorcycles, stairs and trees, and will rarely be able to travel more than 50m without having to backtrack or divert to the road. In many areas of the city, it is virtually impossible to travel without some assistance.”

TARGET The company plans to expand its Travel Assist tour services to Penang, Langkawi and Johor Bahru within the next three years.

Leopold said: “This will involve working with tourism players such as hotels, restaurants and airlines as well as government agencies to ensure that their products and services are disabled-friendly and have trained staff to cater to the needs of our disabled clients.

“We also plan to start hands-on training programmes for the hospitality industry in the near future on how to assist the disabled person, as well as theoretical lessons on communicating with the disabled. We are currently working on the syllabus and hope to start this by this year-end. We will collaborate with the various associations working with the physically-challenged, the blind and the hearing-impaired in Malaysia.”
Source :  TTG ASIA , Dated : N/A

Blind Ph.D holder wants to help farmers : Chennai

S. Elumalai was awarded his degree by former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Governor K. Rosaiah — Photo: S.R. Raghunathan
Elumalai was awarded his degree by former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Governor K. Rosaiah 



He talks passionately about the rights of farmers on their produce, and wants to educate them on bio-privacy. The fact that he is visually impaired, he says, has never deterred him from completing his research on intellectual property, traditional knowledge and bio-diversity.

On Thursday, 35-year-old S. Elumalai was awarded a Ph.D at the seventh convocation ceremony of Dr. Ambedkar Law University.
A consistent gold medallist in various institutions, including Madras Law College, Elumalai hails from a village near Tiruvannamalai.

“My father was a farmer, and I have always been interested in farming. But I also wanted to study and generate awareness about how we are exploited in the global economy,” he says.

Issues related to patents on traditional knowledge have always interested him, and he wants to delve deeper into studying trade agreements and policy.

“We give our farmers subsidies, but we also exploit them. There is much they need to know about their legal rights,” he says.

Elumalai now works with government and non-governmental organisations that look into patent issues.

Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who delivered the convocation address, covered topics on law, technology and society and urged the graduating students to look into issues of cloning, bioethics, lunar mining, space law, cyber law and sea law that have been discussed in the recent past.

He asked them to develop a righteous attitude, and play a balancing role in strengthening technological growth. 

Source :  The Hindu , 26th July 2013 

14-year-old mentally ill girl found pregnant : Chikkaballapur

A 14-year-old mentally challenged girl was allegedly raped by unidentified persons but the case came to light only a few days ago after she was found to be pregnant. The girl, from Chikkapayalagurki village, is now under the care of the child welfare committee in Chikkaballapur.

The girl has been unable to reveal details of what happened owing to her mental condition. Psychologists who examined her said she may either be mentally retarded or suffering from psychological illness. Once details emerge, a case would be registered, said AG Sudhakar, president of the child welfare committee.

The girl had been adopted as a toddler by a childless couple in the village, almost 14 years ago. The couple, who are agricultural workers, had found her outside their home one day and with no claimants for her, had decided to adopt her. They had even sent her to school but authorities sent her back owing to her mental state and inability to communicate. She was being looked after at home by her adopted parents, who too are clueless on how their daughter came to be in this condition. They admitted that on some occasions, she was alone at home when they went out to work.

Source : TOI , 27th July 2013

Common treatment models prove effective for preschoolers with autism

Researchers found that preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) make significant improvements during the school year regardless of which special education model teachers use.

Two frequently used comprehensive treatment models have long histories in the field and are used frequently in the public school system. They are the Learning Experiences and Alternative Program for Preschoolers and their parents (LEAP) and the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH).

Anibal Gutierrez, assistant professor of psychology and co-director of the Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention program, is a co-author in the study which compares the LEAP and TEACCH models to each other and to other non-model specific programs (NMS). NMS programs are high-quality special education programs that do not use the LEAP or TEACCH models. Published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, this study is the first to do such a comparison.

“These results demonstrate that high quality classrooms can result in good treatment outcomes for children with autism in our public school systems,” Gutierrez said.

Treatment for preschoolers with autism

The multi-site study, funded by a grant from the Institute for Education Sciences, took place only in high-quality classrooms and enrolled teachers and 3- to 5-year-olds in public school districts. Each group of children showed significant positive change in autism severity, communication and fine motor skills and there were no statistically significant differences between treatment models.

Previous research has shown the benefits of early intervention programs for children with ASD. However, debate has persisted as to which approaches to use – until now.

The authors of the study note that perhaps it is not the unique features of the models that most contribute to child gains, but instead it is the common features of the models that most influence child growth.

“Future research will likely focus on individual child variables that affect response to intervention as well as investigating the common features shared by effective classrooms in order to design more effective school-based interventions,” Gutierrez said.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Miami and University of Minnesota also participated in the study.

Source : FIU News , 23rd July 2013 

'Give more avenues for deaf students' : Thiruvanthapuram

A Shajahan, Director of Public Instruction, inaugurating the workshop at NISH, Akkulam. | EPS

    A Shajahan, Director of Public Instruction, inaugurating the workshop a NISH, Akkulam.


National Association of the Deaf secretary A.S. Narayanan has said that there is an urgent need to include Sign Language in the education system of deaf students from the primary stages.

He was speaking at the three-day workshop on ‘Preparing The Deaf Student for Higher Education’ at the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH), Akkulam, here.

Inaugurating the workshop, Director of Public Instructions  A. Shajahan said that opportunities are low for deaf people. ‘’However, it is possible to give an overview of the opportunities available in the country for the deaf students. They should be able to continue their higher studies and get good jobs in future,’’ Shajahan said.

NISH executive director  Samuel N. Mathew said that the need of the hour is to think about innovative ways to help deaf students emerge successful in their lives. ‘’The revolution which starts in NISH should spread to different parts of India,’’ he said.

The issues of teaching deaf students at degree level, the need for reviewing the degree programme, teaching deaf students and so on are being discussed in the three day workshop.

Experts from various schools and colleges conducting deaf education across India are the main speakers. The three day workshop will conclude on July 26.

Source : The New Indian Express , 25th July 2013

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Golden hearts that help special children : Bangalore

A regular day for special children at Spastic Society of Karnataka | Suresh Nampoothiri

A regular day for special children at Spastic Society of Karnataka


Spastic Society of Karnataka (SSK) has been working for over three decades to assist integration of disabled children with the mainstream community. It works tirelessly to create awareness among general public about mental disabilities to aid early detection and intervention. Rukmini Krishnaswamy, director, Spastics Society of Karnataka, says,"Everything we do here is in the realm of human rights. These children are denied basic rights like education, the right to be understood, the right to be included. We are working towards changing that."

Tele Rehabilitation

SSK is now focusing on 'tele rehabilitation', actively pursued at their centres in Mayasandra, Ramanagara and Kolar. Tele rehabilitation reaches out to people with  neuromuscular disorders and developmental disabilities. Via the Internet, parents and community workers can video conference with medical consultants based in Bangalore. A cost-effective programme, it saves parents the cost, time and effort involved in travelling to the metro. "Many children with disabilities go undetected and uncared for because they live in remote areas. Our tele rehabilitation programme is a means to reach out to them," says Krishnaswamy.

Rainbow Centre for Autism
SSK's Indiranagar premises also houses the Rainbow Centre for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is a complex neuro-developmental disorder that manifests in children by age three. Such children can hear, see and feel yet have difficulty in understanding and expressing what their senses tell them.

"For parents with autistic children, the diagnosis comes as a shock. We provide five weeks of hands-on training to help parents better understand their child, how to communicate, behave and assist in the learning process of the child," says Nalini Menon, who heads Rainbow Centre for Autism.

The degree of autism may vary from mild to very severe and is hence it is known as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Government of India recognised autism as a disability as late as 1999.

"I teach autistic children above the age of 13. We focus on pre-vocational activities that will help these children be self-dependent. We start with a short prayer, go into a session of physical exercises, after which we have mood exercises where the children assess their emotions. The rest of their time with us, about two to three hours, is filled with basic academics," says Harita, teacher-parent at Rainbow Centre. After a three-year teaching training course at SSK, Harita started off here as a special educator. "We involve them in making items like paper covers, candle wicks, diyas to coach their focussing abilities and build their motor skills," adds Joyshree Sarkar, another teacher at Rainbow Centre.

The rough road

Looking after special children is a challenge but what makes it an overly arduous task is red-tapism. The state government it seem has chosen a blinkered view to autism. Despite the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999 listing the disorder as a developmental disability, autism is still not recognised in the list of disabilities eligible for social security programmes like pension and job reservation in Karnataka.

"Disability stereotypes have led people looking  at only physical symptoms, making it difficult for people suffering from an intellectual disability like autism to even be acknowledged," says Menon. 

What will help

"Parents need to lobby to get the government's attention. Parents of autistic children understand the problems they face on a daily basis better than anybody else, and if they strongly appeal to the government, positive action can be effected," says Simmi Santha, a senior behavioural therapist from Canada, who is looking to open a centre for autistic children in India as a memorial to her late professor, Reeta Peshawaria, who was a clinical psychologist at National Institute for Mentally Handicapped. With over two decades of experience in developmental disabilities, she is deeply involved as a behavioural therapist, staging intensive behavioural interventions for children suffering from autism.

"The path to recovery for the child can only begin when there is a strong partnership with the parents. Most therapies are quite expensive. Without a regulatory system in place in India, there is no accountability placed on people or therapists involved in the field. Abroad, if you want to look up a therapist or doctor, details like ratings and examination scores are easily available. Therapists are made to take exhaustive examinations every few years. We have no such system here," says Krishnaswamy. "Systems exist on paper only, there is no execution," adds Menon.

Comprehensive teacher training programmes and training of  community workers is the need of the hour. The Sarva Siksha Abhiyan focuses on inclusive education and focusses on children upto age 14. Once they cross that age threshold, everyone washes their hands off them. This is where vocational training centres can help," says Vijaya Prema, head, education department, SSK.

Vocational Training Centre
SSK has also initiated a variant to home schooling wherein  autistic children are given basic life skills and vocational training. "The children are here from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. They learn to cook, make paper covers and paper pens. We recently installed a leaf plate-making machine which students will now learn to operate," informed K Anantha Chari, general manager, SSK. "I think awareness is key to everything we do here. The more people know about the various disabilities and our efforts, the more can be done to help these children."

Source : The New Indian Express  , 25th July 2013