Express message service
KOCHI: Because of the limitations in studying in the classroom, children with disabilities face a lot of difficulties. Compared to their peers in normal schools, special children require consistent mental, physical and emotional care.
Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a nonprofit that works with government agencies to protect children, asked the Kerala State Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (KeSCPCR) for help.
In his petition, State Coordinator Prasreen Kunnamppalli stated that while the Kerala government has taken enough measures to ensure that children in various schools receive uninterrupted online education, children with learning difficulties do not receive these benefits.
1,30,798 special children under the age of 19
According to the 2015 Disability Census Report, there are 1,30,798 children with disabilities under the age of 19 in Kerala. Of them, 21,533 are mentally disabled, 8,697 suffer from speech and language disabilities and 6,833 have learning disabilities. Although Samagra Shiksha launched a special online class project for children with disabilities with ‘White Board’ from June last year, many still have to take full advantage of it, says Prasreen.
“There are some government and individual school initiatives, but nothing has had a major impact. What we need is a unified effort in which parents or guardians are also trained and equipped to look after these children. Families should be constantly motivated. If these parents suffer from Covid or job loss themselves, it could have a significant impact on these children, ”he said.
Door-to-door surveys and training are risky
Prasreen added that special children receive various therapies. If these sessions are interrupted abruptly, it will affect that child’s development. “Door-to-door surveys and training are risky during this pandemic. In speech therapy, a child learns through lip movements, which is difficult when we use masks. Novel methods are therefore needed to help these children, ”added the BBA state coordinator.
The Children’s Rights Commission had directed the public education secretary, director, executive director of Kite Victors, and the regional officer of the Central Board of Secondary Education to take immediate action to include special children in online education. Although the government has set up a committee to investigate the problems of special children who may not benefit from online education, it is in vain, an official said.