Education of disabled

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Introduction Even after 65 years of freedom India was not able to achieve total literacy. The concept “Education for all” is still a dream to achieve. As per the census data of 2011 the Literacy rate is 74.04%. The literacy rate of Males is 82.14% and Females is 62.46% only. The women are more deprived in view of Education. Not only women but many categories in the society are not getting equal educational facilities in our country. The discrimination of Poor-rich, Boy-girl, Urban-rural, SC-ST-OBC, Handicapped are still visible in our country. Among them the disable are more porn to be away from Education due to personal, social, economic and other problems.

Number of Disabled in India

As per the census data of 2001 the Literacy rate of disabled is 49% only which is far below the National average. Among them there are 34% employed and rest of them are purely dependents. Hence they are living in painful conditions throughout the life. The data is displayed below -
As per the CENSUS data 2001 the Number of Disabled persons and their Percentage to total Population in India is mentioned here.

Type of disability No. of disabled  %age to population
No. of Visual impaired 10634881 1.03
No of Speech impaired   1640868


 No. of Hearing impaired - 1261722 - 0.12 %
No. of Physical impaired - 6105477 - 0.59 %
No. of Mentally impaired - 22638 - 0.22 %
Total No of Disabled persons- 21906769 - 2.13 %

Concept of Impairment, Disability and Handicapped

The terminologies like impairment, disability and handicap are interchangeably used by professionals, though there is a change in the interpretations of these terms. It is important that the teacher must be aware of the definitions with respect to the area of disability.
1. Impairment means damage to the tissues. It can be measured and cured and it does not impose obstacles to a larger extent with any of the social and vocational pursuits of the individual. By knowing the limitations the impairment may impose, a person can take all measures to compensate or even to ignore it for his / her normal functioning.
2. Disability indicates the permanent loss of the functions of the particular organ to the extent that the individual cannot fully participate in the social and vocational pursuits. But this condition does not prevent the individual from overcoming his / her disability condition and from using his or her skills to the optimum level possible. When the ability aspect of the individual is focused, the disability disappears to a large extent.
3. Handicap is made and not acquired. Discrimination on the basis of disability leads to the handicapping condition. The disability surrounded by a distressing environment makes the person a handicap. Disabled individuals who live in the most restrictive environment experience handicapping conditions.

Types of Disabilities

As per the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act 1995, there are seven categories of disabilities. They are
(1) Blindness refers to a condition where a person suffers from any of the following conditions, namely:
(i) total absence of sight, or (ii) visual acuity not exceeding 6/60 or 20/200 (Snellen chart) in the better eye with correcting lenses, or (iii) limitation of the field of vision subtending an angle of 20 degrees or worse
(2) Person with Low Vision means a person with impairment of visual functioning even after treatment or standard refractive correction but who uses or is potentially capable of using vision for the planning or execution of a task with appropriate assistive devices.
(3) Hearing impairment means loss of sixty decibels or more in the better ear in the conversational range of frequencies.
(4) Mental retardation means a condition of arrested or incomplete development of mind of a person which is specially characterised by subnormality of intelligence. Mental retardation simply means that the person with mental retardation will have the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of less than 70. In addition to the low IQ, there will also be problems for these children in performing daily living skills.
(5) Locomotor disability means disability of the bones, joints or muscles leading to substantial restriction of the movement of the limbs or any form of cerebral palsy.
(6) Mental illness means any mental disorder other than mental retardation.
(7) Leprosy cured person means any person who has been cured of leprosy but is suffering from
(i) loss of sensation in hands or feet as well as loss of sensation and paresis in the eye and eye-lid but with no manifest deformity (ii) manifest deformity and paresis but having sufficient mobility in their hands and feet to enable them to engage in normal economic activity (iii) extreme physical deformity as well as advanced age which prevents him / her from undertaking any gainful occupation.

Approaches in Identifying Children with Disabilities

The Rehabilitation Council of India (1995) reports that not even five per cent of the disabled population are currently enjoying educational facilities. To provide education to this uncovered population, appropriate strategies need to be adopted for locating them for early intervention services. Early intervention would solve many of the problems of the child later in life. The common approaches in identifying persons with disabilities are as follows-
(1) Cognitive approach: This identification is purely based on the cognitive abilities of the child. By adopting the cognitive approach, identification of children may be made as those who are mentally retarded, slow learners, normal learners, academically advanced learners and gifted learners. For example

• The child who has an IQ between 50 and 75 will come under the category of educable mentally retarded child.

• The trainable mentally retarded children have an IQ of 25 to 50 and they may find it difficult even to perform manual kind of work.

• Those who have an IQ of less than 25 are called totally dependent category.

(2) Sensory approach: The sensory approach is based on the ability of the senses. By adopting it we can identify visually impaired, hearing impaired and deaf & dumb children. Out of them, visually impaired children are neither cognitive impaired nor communication impaired. They lack abilities in the orientation of environment. On the other hand, the deaf child's main problem is in the area of communication skills. The deaf blind children will have a serious disadvantage in both orientation and communication skills. As blind and deaf children are not impaired cognitively, they can follow the same curriculum meant for the sighted and hearing children. However, certain curricular adaptations have to be made to suit their learning styles.
(3) Ability-based approach: There are many children who experience difficulty in processing information. Though their intelligence is normal and senses too are normal, sometimes they perform poorly due to lack of ability in processing information. Information processing theorists feel that these children lack adequate skills in attention, perception, memory, encoding etc. These children are called as learning disabled children. Dysgraphia, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia are some of the defects associated with the learning problems in general.
(4) Society-based approach: Among disabled children, some of them are facing emotional problems too. The behaviour disorders in these children may also be a result of social problems such as the state of experience of neglect, over-protection, etc. There are many children who experience emotional problems. These children have to be provided the most appropriate environment for overcoming difficulties.

Concept of Special Education, Integrated Education and Inclusive Education

Special Education:
 Special Education is by segregating the children with exceptional needs in a totally different learning environment in special educational institutions like schools for the blind, for the deaf, for the mentally retarded etc. The curricula adopted and the teachers and the teaching methods followed in these special institutions are specific to the disability concerned and are different from those in the normal schools. - Rashmi Agrawal & BVLN Rao
Integrated Education:
 Whatever feasible, education of children with locomotor handicap and other mild handicaps will be common with the others; therefore those children whose needs cannot be met in regular schools are to be enrolled in special schools. As soon as thery avquire reasonable levels of living skills they will be integrated into regular schools. - National Policy of Education -1986.
Inclusive Education:
 Inclusive Education refers to “to all learners, young people - with or without disabilities being able to learn together in ordinary pre-school provisions, schools and community educational setting with appropriate network of support services”. In this, it is believed that if a child is not able to learn, it is not due to the disability of the child, but due to the system. It is the responsibility of the school to manage teaching in such a way that needs of the children are met. - Rashmi Agrawal & BVLN Rao
 Inclusive education aims to provide a favourable setting for achieving equal opportunity and full participation for all, thus bringing children with special needs well within the purview of mainstream education. It recognizes the diverse needs of the students and ensures equality education to all through appropriate curricula, teaching strategies, support services and partnership with the community and parents. - Advani and Chadha, 2003.
 Inclusive Education is a set of values, principles and practices that seeks more effective and meaningful education for all students, regardless of whether they have exceptionality label or not. - Michael F.G.

Models of Inclusive Education

The School administration / teacher should identify the disabled children and proper steps are taken to include them into mainstream education. Depend upon the disability & its severity and number of disabled children in the institute, the school has to any one model or more than one to cater the personal needs of disabled children. They are -
(1) Resource Model : This is an educational plan in which disabled children are enrolled in a regular class. Within the campus, a special teacher called resource teacher is available to the child as well as to the regular teacher to provide assistance in curricular areas. This model is more prominent in Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in India which get funds from the centrally sponsored scheme of Integrated Education for Disabled Children (IEDC).
(2) Itinerant Model : In this model, the disabled child is enrolled in a regular class in his home school where his needs are met through the combined efforts of the regular teacher and those of visiting itinerant teacher qualified to offer this special service. Though itinerant model is appropriate for greater coverage, this model is implemented only by a few organisations in India.
(3) Dual Teaching Model : It depends upon the Universalisation of Education. It is useful when the number of disabled is very less in a village which is very much distance from the city. The regular teacher of the School will take care of disabled children. He will be given training for two or three months. Due to additional responsibility he will be paid one increment. By adopting this the Students can be educated in the neighbouring schools.
(4) Distance Learning Model : Many of the disabled are not able to get formal education. There may be social, economical and personal problems. Hence they can be educated through distance education. NIOS is offering education at school level by distance mode. One can go for higher education through distance mode in IGNOU or MP Bhoj University. They have special cells to assist the disabled.
(5) Alternative School Model : As per the needs of the disabled, educational opportunities and Social services will be provided like Evening schools, Night schools, self-employment opportunities etc. There are many schemes by Government and NGO’s to serve them. The total rehabilitation is possible in this method.
(6) Home based Education Model : It is useful for the persons with multiple disabilities. Those who can’t move from house due to multiple disabilities, the education will be provided at their doorsteps. A teacher goes to his house to teach him or her regularly. This model is being adopted by some foreign countries.

Role of Educational Institutes and Teachers in Inclusive Education

How to make Educational Institutes Inclusive?
Specific measures proposed by various Committees and Acts for adopting inclusive measures are summarized below:
• Children with disabilities up to the age of 6 years will be identified and necessasary action may be taken to include in Schools.
• Make schools (building, toilets, playgrounds, laboratories and libraries etc.) barrier free and accessible for all types of disability.
• Method of teaching and medium of instruction should be adapted to the requirements of most disability conditions.
• Teaching learning tools and aids such as educational toys, Braille books, talking books, appropriate software etc. will be made available in the Resource room.
• Assistive devices such as wheel chair, support stick, spectacles etc. should be made available to all needed in the ground floor of the building.
• Schools should be located within easy travelling distance. Alternative travel arrangements will be made with the assistance of community, State and NGO’s.
• Special attention is required for the Disabled girl child at primary, secondary and higher education.
• Curriculum and evaluation system for the children with various disabilities shall be developed keeping in view of their abilities.
• Examination system should be modified to make it disabled friendly. Special exemption may be given in appearing examinations such as mathematics, third language etc.
• Programmes will be conducted for sensitization of teachers, principals and other staff members of the school.
• Three percent reservation for disable persons shall be enforced for admission into higher education institutions.
• In-service and Pre-service teacher training programmes should be modified to meet the needs of children with disabilities.
Role of Teachers in Inclusive Education
Teachers can play a key role in identification and assessment of a disabled child like below
• The teacher can observe the behavior of the child and find out the difficulties of the students. If a child is not able to see the blackboard, he can check his vision with snellen chart.
• Teacher can refer the child to the doctor, therapist or other services.
• He should pay individual attention of disabled students
• He should make the child familiar with resources available in the school.
• Teacher should change the Teaching methodology and use special Audio-visual aids for the benefit of the disabled.
• He can interact with parents about the problems of the child and his progress.
• He can discuss about the academic achievement and further education.

Policies and Programmes for Disabled

o National Policy on Education - 1968
o National Policy on Education - 1986
o Rehabilitation council of India - 1993
o Persons with Disabilities Act – 1995
o National Trust for welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral palsy, Mental retardation and Multiple disabilities - 1999
o National Curriculum Framework - 2005
o National Policy for Persons with Disabled - 2006
o National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education – 2009
o The National Action Plan for Inclusion in Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities (IECYD) - 2005
o Right to Education Act - 2009
o Scheme of Integrated Education of Disabled Children (IEDC) – 1974
o Project Integrated Education for the Disabled (PIED)
o District Primary Education Programme (DPEP)
o Inclusive Education of the Disabled at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) - 1992
o UGC - Higher Education for persons with Special Needs (HEPSN)
o UGC - Teacher Preparation in Special Education (TEPSE)
o Sarvasikshaa Abhiyan (SSA) - 2002