Stop sidelining our children in schools, petition parents of kids with autism in Kerala

The theme of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities this year was 'Leave no one behind', and just how harsh a reality that is for thousands of disabled in India is brought home in the neglect faced by children with autism.

The parents of around 100 children with autism, who are being trained at an autism centre in Kottayam, have written to the Kerala government asking for a helping hand.

Kerala schools not inclusive towards kids with autism, says petition

While many schools in this state have a high literacy rate, they are reluctant to admit autistic children. This is despite a rule that orders all educational institutions to take in such kids. The schools are also expected to have special trainers for autistic children.

The Central Board of Secondary Education has has clearly laid out guidelines with regard to the concessions and exemptions for autistic students who appear for Class 10 and 12 exams. Most schools are slow to appoint staff trained in occupational therapy, speech therapy, individual education programme, behaviour therapy and psychology for such kids.

Kerala also does not have solid data on autistic children. According to disability experts, there has been an alarming rise in the number of children with autism so its time the state government took urgent note of the issue.

Kids with autism denied basic rights in India's most literate state

Autism is still not recognised as a separate form of disability in the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 which denies the kids many rights, education concessions and employment opportunities.

Many children are limited to their homes or special schools and many centres only teach them until they are six years old. The parents have asked the state education minister to provide therapy by trained professionals in ordinary schools and make it compulsory for the schools to provide such facilities.

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