Tamil Nadu parents petition for occupational therapists in government schools
B Dhanya Vardhini, parent to a son with autism, has started an online petition to attract Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E.K Palaniswami’s attention. The petition has highlighted the need for occupational therapists in government schools across the state. Over 25,000 parents have signed the petition.
For children with developmental disabilities, occupational therapy is very important. But for parents in Tamil Nadu, finding an occupational therapist for their children at government schools is a tough task. Recently, B Dhanya Vardhini who has a son with autism, started an online petition to attract Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s attention. The main objective of the petition is to appoint more occupational therapists in Tamil Nadu government schools for children with disabilities. Over 25,000 parents have already signed the petition which is garnering a lot of attention.
Struggles of parents with disabled kids
Megha* (name has been changed) lived in Coimbatore until she moved to Chennai earlier last year. Megha, who has a ten year old son with autism, found it extremely hard to find therapists close to her home. In fact, she had to travel at least 20 kms every week with her son for an appointment with an occupational therapist. Megha, just like many other parents, hoped that Chennai would have better facilities. That is the reason she moved to the state capital. Megha’s is not an isolated incident. Many parents tell that the struggle they face is real.
CK Mano Ranjini from Chennai has a son with autism studying at a government school. She was one of the parents who signed the petition.
If occupational, speech therapists and special educators are available at schools, financial burden and stress can be minimized for parents. A special educator is needed to address issued faced by the child while learning. Occupational and speech therapists makes up an important role in lives of children with special needs. Places lack regulations. A proper monitoring system is needed. – CK Mano Ranjni. Parent
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY helps DISABLED KIDS
Occupational therapy (OT) has numerous benefits due to which is it important for the welfare of a child with developmental disability like autism, Down syndrome or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Most of the mainstream schools do not have therapists. That is because such schools refuse to accept a child with a disability. Hence, parents have to admit their children at government schools where it is mandatory to have therapists and special educators.
Grace Santosh, a Chennai based psychologist who has a son with autism talks about the benefits. “OT therapy focuses on helping people with a physical, sensory or cognitive disability to become independent in many areas of their lives. It can help children with various needs to improve their cognitive, physical, sensory and motor skills. It also enhances their self-esteem. Occupational therapists can evaluate kid’s skills for playing and other daily activities”, she says.