• The Bombay High Court Asks Schools to Screen Kids For Learning Disabilities

    The Bombay High Court on Wednesday made it compulsory for all schools and education boards have their students screened for learning disabilities, DNA India reported.

    A division bench, which was comprised with Justice VM Kanade and Justice AK Menon said, “We direct all the schools, boards and educational institutions to ensure that they carry out the task of detecting specific learning disabilities in children at the very earliest stage, preferably when they are in the primary school or after they complete the age of nine years.”

    “One other method is to examine the students who had fair performance earlier and who have not done well,” the court added.

    “This would certainly create a lesser burden on the school, and it would be an easier method to identify such children from this category,” the court said.

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    The court wants to provide full anonymity and hence emphasised that the schools and educational institutions keep the reports off the records. The confidentiality will help the special children to stay in private for a secure future ahead.

    The order also says that teachers and other selected persons from educational institutions will take charge of the job of detecting these specific learning disabilities.

    “Apart from that, essentially all the children should undergo the tests as prescribed under the said Act for the purpose of detecting specific learning disabilities,” the court said.

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    SheThePeople.TV reached out to Fatima Agarkar, Educationist and Co-founder, KA EduAssociates on the subject. She claimed it as, “A very progressive move by the High Court as which enables stakeholders to generate solutions for the child who is the most important!”

    Agarkar further added, “A psychometric evaluation that aims to understand the child through a number of scientific tests and defines their learning capabilities will help teachers in a classroom to customise their plans to cope with those needs when possible, and if not refer them to professionals especially for therapy that is essential. Our mindset as caretakers of children who are differently abled needs to change and we hope that with this direction of the honourable court, we can generate more solutions for children who need to have lesson plans and strategies that can cope with their specific needs. For years special educators and counsellors have hoped that parents don’t fear these “tests” and use them to make life easier for the children by addressing the challenges and this would be a step in that direction.” She concluded,

    “It is about time a policy of this nature work as a standardisation across schools.”

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    Facts to be noted:

    The state government has found out that a total of 37,358 students have specific learning disabilities, of which, 2,013 students were in Mumbai city and 2,468 students in the suburbs.

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