Make the invisible disability, visible - My Take by Dr Harish Shetty
March 20, 2017
A young boy I know who was to take his exams from March 10 for the CBSE board was deeply stressed. He has been certified as a child with dyslexia and dysgraphia, which refers to an inability to write clearly, and needs a writer.
The school was not of much help and the parents were desperate. It is the school's obligation to find a writer but few principals understand this.
This is not an uncommon scene. The child is watching this with a lot of fear. An insensitive school has shattered his confidence and he is afraid of the exams.
Teachers view such a request with suspicion. They just do not believe that a few children write slowly or cannot write a clear sentence. Asking them to practice writing does not help.
Schools also do not make an effort to expose their teachers to understanding Learning Disability. Principals themselves are ignorant and some refuse to become aware which is arrogance.
As this disability is never identified early, the child goes through humiliation by the family and the school. Many kids lose their confidence and may get depressed. Many others drop out.
Overall, many lives get destroyed. The invisible disability needs to be made visible. Children cannot wait for long to be understood. In 2016, 14,89,201 children appeared for the CBSE Std 10 examinations in India and only 1306 students were identified with L.D, which is less than 1%. Over 100,000 kids were never identified by the schools and the board.
About the Writer
Dr Harish Shetty is a psychiatrist working with children since the last 30 years. His legal interventions have brought policy changes in the area of mental health.
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