Four months after an autistic boy was put out of Jamnabai Narsee School, the State Commission for Child Rights has directed that the seven-year-old be allowed to attend school along with his mother, and that his behaviour be monitored for a fortnight before deciding whether he is fit to continue.
The commission said on Thursday that an expert panel of three doctors will monitor and evaluate the boy’s condition after 15 days. If it is found that he is not able to continue at the school, a suitable alternative institution must be found for him and the state will have to pay for this. The panel will be headed by Dr Samir Dalwai, a behavioural paediatrician.
Jamnabai Narsee, which is based in Juhu, had asked the parents to take the boy out of the school as he had shown behavioural changes that could be detrimental to him and his classmates.
Dalwai, who was asked by the commission to report on this case, recommended last month that the child be allowed to continue at the school with the help of a shadow teacher, for at least six months, and if there was no improvement, the boy’s parents should “seek an environment where he would get more personalised care”. However, the commission rejected the proposal for a shadow teacher.
Experts are unhappy with the order. “To expect a child who has been rejected by the school to adjust his behaviour in 15 days is unrealistic,” said Dr Harish Shetty, a psychiatrist. “The commission has ignored the inclusive education clause in the RTE and acted on the behest of the school management and not in the interests of the child.”
Dr Dalwai, on the other hand, was positive that the case would set a precedent for the rights of autistic children. “It will promote the concept of shadow teachers to support such children within the mainstream school system.”