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Children with Disabilities
It is impossible to define 'disability' with a single, unarguable term. Disability definitions have changed across nations, within countries, and in various national polls. As a result, determining the precise estimate of 'disabled' children in India is a tough, if not impossible, undertaking. Furthermore, the situation is worsened by concerns such as a lack of knowledge, unskilled field investigators, and the societal stigma associated with persons with disabilities.
What is the Meaning of Children with Disabilities?
Children with disabilities have physical, cognitive, or developmental impairments that can impact their ability to function and participate in daily activities. These impairments may be present from birth, or they may be acquired later in life as a result of illness or injury. Disabilities can be of various forms. Some examples include:
Challenges and Barriers
Children with disabilities experience various difficulties and hindrances that may affect their general development, well-being, and general health. Every element of children's lives, including their education and social relationships, as well as their access to healthcare and other services, can be impacted by these difficulties, which can be physical, emotional, or social.
Access to education is one of the biggest issues children with disabilities must deal with. Many kids with disabilities encounter obstacles to getting an education, such as difficulty finding suitable schools and facilities, a lack of support and modifications, and stigma and discrimination from classmates and teachers. These obstacles may make it difficult for children with disabilities to receive the education and assistance they require to realize their full potential.
Access to healthcare is another issue that children with impairments must deal with. Access to specialist therapies, such as physical and occupational therapy, is difficult for many children with disabilities, and these services are not often covered by insurance. These obstacles may make it difficult for children with disabilities to get the care and assistance they require to maintain their health and well-being.
Children with disabilities may additionally struggle with social and emotional issues like exclusion, stigma, and discrimination. Children may experience loneliness and despair due to these difficulties, which can lower their sense of worth and low self-esteem.
Deeper Dive− Educational Access
The educational system frequently presents obstacles and challenges to children with impairments, limiting their access to education and preventing them from realizing their full potential. Lack of access to suitable schools and facilities is one of the major issues that children with disabilities confront in the educational system. As a result, many disabled children are enrolled in mainstream schools that are ill-equipped to offer them the support and accommodations they require. These schools and facilities include those for children with vision or hearing impairments, and this may hinder disabled children from getting the education and assistance they require to achieve.
Lack of assistance and accommodations for children with impairments is another issue they encounter in the educational system. Many kids with disabilities might not get the assistance and modifications required, including sign language interpreters or assistive technology, and they might not be allowed to participate in lessons or activities. This may keep disabled kids from participating completely in their schooling and realizing their full potential.
Deeper Dive− Healthcare Access
Lack of access to specialist treatments, such as physical and occupational therapy, is one of the biggest obstacles children with disabilities encounter when trying to get health care. Because these services are either not offered in their communities or are too expensive, many children with disabilities do not have access to them. This may make it difficult for kids with disabilities to get the assistance and care they require to maintain their health and well-being.
Lack of insurance coverage is another obstacle children with disabilities must overcome to access medical care. Lack of access to specialist treatments, such as physical and occupational therapy, is one of the biggest obstacles children with disabilities encounter when trying to get health care. Because these services are either not offered in their communities or are too expensive, many children with disabilities do not have access to them. This may make it difficult for kids with disabilities to get the assistance and care they require to maintain their health and well-being.
In addition to these challenges, children with disabilities may face discrimination and stigma when accessing health care. Many children with disabilities are subject to discrimination and prejudice from healthcare providers, and they may be denied access to care or treated unfairly. This can prevent children with disabilities from receiving the care and support they need.
How can be Children with Disabilities Supported?
There are several ways in which children with disabilities can be supported to overcome their challenges and barriers and reach their full potential. One way to support children with disabilities is to provide them with access to education and other services. This may include providing access to specialized schools and facilities, such as schools for children with visual or hearing impairments, and providing support and accommodations, such as sign language interpreters or assistive technology. Another way to support children with disabilities is to provide them with access to health care and other services. This may include providing access to specialized services, such as physical and occupational therapy, and ensuring that children have insurance coverage.
In addition to providing access to education and health care, it is also important to support children with disabilities socially and emotionally. This may include providing support and guidance to children and their families and promoting acceptance and inclusion of children with disabilities within families, schools, and communities. Additionally, children with disabilities should be able to participate in community activities and events like any other child.
This can include providing accommodations and support to help them access these activities. It is important for society as a whole to be educated about disability and inclusion. This can include training for teachers, healthcare providers, and other professionals and public education campaigns to raise awareness and promote understanding. Overall, there are many ways in which children with disabilities can be supported to overcome the challenges and barriers they face and reach their full potential. By providing access to education, health care, and social support, families, schools, and communities can help to ensure that children with disabilities can grow and develop in a healthy and supportive environment.
Children with Visual Impairment
Some children are visually impaired. They cannot read the standard text and may require learning aids such as braille in the event of blindness. Then some students are partially sighted. Some of the students' vision can be corrected. However, some pupils can only see large text, such as 14 points and higher; others use magnifying glasses to read. Some kids have a narrow field of vision.
Teachers should recognize such kids and give them extra assistance in their studies. The identification of vision impairment causes several learning issues. Such pupils can be identified by watching their behavior in the following ways:
Observable deformity in the eye(s)
Rubs eyes frequently
Frequent reddening of eyes
Covers one eye and tilts the head forward
Holds objects, including the book, close to his eyes
Asks other students for help when taking notes from the blackboard
Blinks frequently-squints eyelids together
Complains of headaches
Bumps into people or objects
Children with Hearing and Speech Impairment
Listening is important in academic communication and learning. Hearing loss impedes learning and performance, and speech issues can be caused by hearing impairments. As a result, it is preferable to identify such kids and take efforts to address their educational needs. Audiometers use decibels to measure the degree of hearing (db).
Mild loss is between 20 and 30 decibels, marginal loss is between 30 and 40 decibels, a moderate loss is between 40 and 60 decibels, severe loss is between 60 and 75 decibels, and profound loss is over 75 decibels. Some students have slight hearing loss. The disability may develop during the school years and go unnoticed. Students with severe and profound hearing loss from birth typically do not acquire speech unless they get speech therapy.
Has a visible ear deformity (s)
Ear discharge regularly (s)
Frequently complain of earache
Scratches his/her ear(s) regularly
Turns head to one side to improve hearing
The teacher is frequently asked to repeat directions and queries.
When taking dictation, he needs to correct several things.
While listening to the teacher, keep a close eye on his expression.
Shows signs of speech difficulties
Children with Low Mental Ability
The performance of kids with inferior mental capacity is lower than that of normal ones. They may not have physical issues, yet they are misaligned in the classroom. The following are some examples of observable behavior that can be used to identify such kids. The pupil with low mental ability: demonstrates poor academic accomplishment, forgets what s/he has learned in a short period, is inattentive and distracted, places too much dependence on the presentation of tangible items, wants immediate gratification, demonstrates fear of failing, has a poor self-image, lacks self-confidence, has limited communication, has poor muscle coordination, and has difficulty doing things for himself such as eating, dressing, bathing, and grooming. He also has difficulty following what he has been told and learns at a sluggish speed.
Children with disabilities face various difficulties and hindrances that may affect their general development, well-being, and general health. Supporting them is crucial, and society needs to become more inclusive and consider the needs of everyone that lives in it.
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