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Disability Assessment: New System Flawed

The assessment of children with learning disability by the Normal Medical Board, which does not have a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, for securing concessions for children, is leading to much confusion and improper evaluation.

Published: 04th August 2014 08:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2014 08:25 AM   |  A+A-

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The assessment of children with learning disability by the Normal Medical Board, which does not have a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, for securing concessions for children, is leading to much confusion and improper evaluation.

Earlier, the assessment was done by  a team that had a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist. With the Normal Medical Boards having no clinical psychologists or psychiatrist in the panel, it is said that proper analysis could not be conducted. Stating that assessing learning disability and intelligence are very much complicated, Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists, Kerala region, president Dr S Satheesh Nair said that the new assessment method will only lead to ineligible candidates getting concessions.

“The normal medical board only consists of doctors in other specialities rather than who have qualified in psychiatry. How can a doctor specialised in neurology or nephrology or any other area assess  children for their disabilities?,” he asked.

Earlier, the certificate was given by the team that consisted of the school principal or a resource teacher, a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist.

However, the government has decided to entrust the evaluation to the  Normal medical Board stating that the old system was manipulated by vested interests resulting in some children who do not require the concessions being issued the certificates.  Stating that the earlier mechanism was working in a smooth manner, Nair said that the government had earlier decided to constitute a separate board for assessing the disability issues after it was found that the normal boards could not properly evaluate the children. Moreover, there was also chances of manipulation if the analysis was not done by a proper practitioner, he added.

With the medical Boards being made the authority to issue the certificates, he said that most of the doctors in many government hospitals are confused when the parents approach them for disability learning certificates.

He also said that some of the government hospitals are even seeking the assistance of clinical psychologists who practice privately for giving the certificates even when there are qualified hands in the government sector.

“In Ernakulam General Hospital, the service of a private practitioner is utilised for assessing the children. The Hospital Development Committee is also charging the parents for the assessment, which was free when done by the earlier team,” he said.

Though ‘Express’ tried to contact Health Minister V S Sivakumar, he was not available for comments.

Nair said that the government should either entrust the assessment to the earlier body or include psychologist and psychiatrist in the Medical Boards to avoid any confusion. With the evaluation for the academic year to start now, the doctors are of the opinion that the government come up with a practical solution.

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