Accessibility December 17, 2020
Guidelines amended allowing psychiatrists to diagnose specific learning disabilities (SLD)
In important news for parents, caregivers and medical professionals, the Government of India has amended the 2018 guidelines notified for the purpose of assessing specific learning disabilities In the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016. This means psychiatrists will once again be allowed to diagnose such disabilities along with paediatricians.
“In paragraph 22.5, for item (b), the following item shall be substituted , namely:- “ (b) Paediatrician or Paediatric Neurologist or Psychiatrist (where available)‟
This important notification issued on 9 December by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Government of India, finally amends the guidelines issued in January 2018 for the purpose of assessing the extent of specific disabilities in a person.
This means that along with a paediatrician or paediatric neurologist, a psychiatrist can also assess specified learning disabilities (SLD).
Disability certification made easier
“Before 2018, psychiatrists were allowed to diagnose children with SLDs”, says Dr Satendra Singh, Co-founder, Doctors with Disabilities, the pan India group of medical professionals with disabilities. “For some strange reason when the gazette notification of the guidelines for learning disabilities was released in January 2018, this was removed.”
The removal of psychiatrists came despite the presence of the Head of Department, Psychiatry, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi on the committee.
“As a result, many children in Delhi and other places were facing problems in getting certification. I am glad better sense prevailed as will help expedite disability certification among people with SLD”, adds Dr Singh.
Unnecessary confusion and turmoil were caused to parents as doctors were also unaware of the correct process.
Another welcome mention in the notification is that the National Institute for Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) Battery shall be applied for diagnostic test for SLD.
“Any person having tested positive on NIMHANS Battery shall be considered as a person with benchmark disability i.e., disability of more than 40%”, says the notification issued by the DEPwD earlier this month.
- Saiyanshi Pathania, teen with a learning disability, tells stories of positivity on her YouTube channel
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