50 % kids with special needs in govt schools suffer from low vision: Survey

Of the total 4,025 children with special needs (CWSN) enrolled in city government schools for the academic session 2013-14, more than 50 per cent of them have been found to be suffering from low vision.

As many as 1.5 lakh students are studying in the city government schools, of which 2.6 per cent are CWSN. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) conducts an yearly survey to enroll these CWSN children in the government schools and to provide them special training alongside. Each of the students selected is examined by the teams of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and Government Multispeciality Hospital, Sector 16, under Directorate of Health, in order to ascertain the degree and type of disability.

Around 2,500 of 4,025 children were found with low vision while the rest suffered from speech problems, hearing impairment, multiple disorders, cerebral palsy, autism etc. Last year, supportive aids and appliances were distributed to more than 1,000 CWSN students with the help of NGOs, school health programmes by the Education department and a company named ALIMCO, which provides these appliances to all the government schools across the country.

The children with low vision are looked after by the Education department itself. They are provided spectacles for free after they are medically examined at the dispensary in Sector 19, where the school health report is prepared. These children have to visit the dispensary once in every six months for the check up. The department conducted this medical exam on December 21, where some of the students could not participate. The left out students will be examined after the schools would reopen on January 13 and a list will be prepared for those who would be referred to PGI.

One of the officials of the Education department said, "In every academic session, various steps are initiated to shift the CWSN students who opt for home-based education to government schools, but all of them cannot be mainstreamed due to the severity of degree of disability."

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