Identifying children with intellectual disability a major challenge in Nagaland, says Dr. Ravi Prakash
Dimapur, June 15 (EMN): Most children in Nagaland with intellectual disabilities do not have valid certificate to avail government benefits, said Dr. Ravi Prakash Singh, officer-in-charge of National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (NIEPID), Regional Centre, Navi Mumbai, on Wednesday.
Singh told Eastern Mirror that identifying children with intellectual disability thus becomes a major challenge in the state, coupled with the lack of awareness on the benefits available for children with disability.
Singh was at the District Disability Rehabilitation Centre (DDRC) District Hospital in Dimapur during a Teaching Learning Material (TLM) distribution camp organised by NIEPID, Prodigal’s Home and DDRC Dimapur, where 57 beneficiaries were given TLM kits worth INR 10,000 each.
Most of the beneficiaries are within Kohima and Dimapur districts alone. With regard to other districts, Singh said NIEPID’s next focus is interior districts of Nagaland.
“But before the distribution of the kit, we will have to do a psychological assessment camp for the children so that they can get their disability certificate. If they have the certificate, they will be eligible for all the benefits and concessions by the government,” he informed.
Replying to a query about the challenges in identification of beneficiaries, he said that there are children with intellectual disabilities but the guardians are not aware of their condition, while public awareness is “very less” in the state.
He also pointed out that even if a person is aware, they are not well informed and don’t know where to avail the disability certificate, which is essential to get any kind of benefits from the government.
To resolve this, he said that NIEPID is conducting awareness programmes for teachers and college students as well as conducting psychological assessment camps through which they can provide the IQ report. ‘On the basis of this report, they will be able to get disability certificates from the medical board from the respective district hospitals,’ he said.
Singh also informed that a Composite Regional Centre for the Persons with Disabilities for Nagaland under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is under consideration and the approval will depend on the Union Ministry.
Director for Census Operations/Citizen Registration Nagaland, Ministry of Home Affairs, Anoop Khinchi, who was the chief guest of the event, asserted that sensitisation of the community was important for an inclusive environment and acceptance of the differently abled in the society.
“Every child has the right to be admitted in a normal school with an inclusive environment and equal participation opportunity for the children. Everyone should be aware of the Act available against discrimination and remove the barrier from the society with total acceptance,” Khinchi said.
Meanwhile, Medical Superintendent of District Hospital Dimapur, Dr. Khrielasanuo, acknowledged that many parents are not aware of the benefits available for the children with intellectual disability while discrimination against the differently abled continues to take place because of the ignorance of their capabilities.
Pointing out that Dimapur and Kohima were not the only places that have persons with intellectual disabilities, she expressed hope that such benefits will be extended to other districts.