HC allows ‘shadow teacher’ for autistic child
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However, over the last two years, the child's condition had worsened on account of his frustration and inability to express his needs to teachers, the letter said. This resulted in the child "disturbing the remaining 44 students on account of his constant wandering about the classroom, shrill shrieks, escaping from the classroom and constantly demanding the teacher's attention".
The letter stated that the school was unable to provide personal attention to the child and suggested that the parents put him in a school that can give him personal attention for the duration of his learning hours. The boy, diagnosed with a few traits of autistic spectrum disorder, has been in the school since June 2007.
The Right to Education Act specifies that not only can a school not deny admission to special children, but once a student is admitted, it has to ensure the child sees through his entire school education. The parents approached the director of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.
An officer was sent to the school, who recommended that the child be re-admitted. They filed an application with MSCPCR, and the commission on November 8 appointed an expert committee of three doctors to monitor and evaluate the boy's condition.
The committee headed by Dr Dalwai recommended that the child be allowed to continue at the school with the help of a shadow teacher for at least six months, and if there was no improvement, the boy's parents should "seek an environment where he would get more personalised care".
The parents had offered to provide a shadow teacher and pay for his services, although other schools provide such teachers at their own cost.
The parents and the principal declined to comment.