A shocking ten years after the release of Amir Khan’s Tare Zameen Par, a movie raising awareness about children with special needs and the flaw of overlooking their symptoms as signs of laziness, society still hasn’t progressed enough to create a suitable and accepting environment for the community.
December 3rd was the International Day of Disabled Persons. What is society doing to honor the community and give them the rights each individual is entitled to?
Why It Is Important
Oppression faced by minorities in society is often ignored with the mindset that prioritization should be given to the larger, more prevalent communities. This is perhaps why the environment in India is nothing close to acceptable for the special needs community. There are an estimated 12 million children with special needs in India, very little of which are receiving the appropriate education they deserve.
One prominent school for the community, Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan, accommodates around 1000 children in need of specialized education. Established in 1999, it is a well-known school known for creating applications such as “Vaakya,” a mobile application, “for children speech impaired, affected by autism, cerebral palsy and various other mental and physical conditions.”
The software is,
“It is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tool, a no language barrier that creates a combination of custom images and phrases, which can be related to an individual user in order to effectively communicate. More than 70 percent of India’s disabled children who live in the villages can use it because it does not rely on internet connectivity and utilises the phone’s own memory only.”
In order to get the application spread among areas in India, MBCN needs the state’s support, which is empirically not likely considering the laws surrounding students with special needs are vague and not effective. The state needs to take the first steps in creating an education system that does not disproportionately leave out an entire community of children.
This time next year, society owes it to the community of children with special needs to give them something to celebrate. Let’s hope the state takes the initiative and reforms the education system to accommodate everyone.