Education at regular schools in Hyderabad continues to be a dream for children with autism
A majority of children with autism are forced to study in special schools, thanks to the high-handedness of private schools in the city that fear being labelled special school, should they admit them
HYDERABAD: A majority of children with autism are forced to study in special schools, thanks to the high-handedness of private schools in the city that fear being labelled special school, should they admit too many of these children.
Though the Right to Education Act states that all children irrespective of their impairment should pursue mainstream education, the practice of inclusivity in regular schools continues to be a distant dream.
Divya Sharma (name changed on request) for instance, has in the last one-and-a-half years approached nearly 17 schools to get her six-year-old autistic son admitted, only to be turned away.
One of the schools that admitted eventually her son, Eshaan, within months asked her to pull him out of the school.
“It was not like the school didn’t have infrastructure or special educators. They just didn’t want to put in the effort that an autistic child needs,” said Divya, who moved from Mumbai to Hyderabad. While in Mumbai Eshaan was studying in a regular school. Now he is a student at Sparsh Special School, Kukatpally where besides being trained in speech, behavioural and occupational therapy, Eshaan is also learning to write letters.
Though the prevalence of autism particular to AP and Telangana has not been done, a study conducted by International Clinical Epidemiology Network Trust (INCLEN), stated that 1-1.5 per ent of children in the age group two to nine are diagnosed with autism. This translates to 1 in 66 children in India being autistic.
Sheeba Chaudhari also has a seven year old autistic son. She says despite some awareness, most people are not sensitive to the needs of such children.
Renu K, Centre Head of Sparsh Special School and mother of a son with Down Syndrome said dealing with Autistic children requires giving individual attention to each child.
The school established in 2010, currently has 70 such children between 2-13 years of age.