Parents of children suffering from autism and other various special schools, have come together to appeal to the National Institute of Opening Schooling (NIOS) to provide for an adult writer, reader or supervisor for the children during an examination.
The parents, along with educationists and paramedics dealing with students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), made their appeal at the Maharashtra State Commission of Protection of Child Rights on Tuesday. ASD is a neurological disorder that affects the communication, social skills and behaviour.
Currently, the board requires the scribe to be a class younger than the candidate appearing for the examination. However, the parents feel that an unexpected display of behaviour cannot be handled or tackled by younger writers. "An adult who is aware and oriented about ASD would be the most appropriate help to candidates appearing for the exam," said Beena Modak, president, Forum for Autism.
The various manifestations of the impaired social, academic and occupational function observed by a team of experts at the Goenka and Associates Educational Trust, include unusual response to sensory experience, resistance to change in environment and routine, fixation towards specific people or objects, difficulty in narration of experiences, self-stimulatory behaviour among others.
The parents have asked the commission to recommend to the board to make an exception in the case of students suffering from ASD like those permitted for students with speech impairment. "Learners having speech impairment are permitted to use the services of professional scribes, except for the subject teacher. Similar are the requirements of the students suffering from ASD," said Meera Kothari, clinical psychologist.
The commission in the hearing has assured the parents that it will request not just NOIS, but all the boards to look into the matter and make a decision in the interest of the students. "We will call representatives from all the education boards and discuss the matter. If there is technical evidence which supports the need of an adult writer for autistic students, the necessary measures can be taken," said Ujjwal Ukey, acting chairperson of the commission.