Writers for kids with 40% or more disability- Times of India
March 30, 2015
PUNE: Can you measure in percentage how much disability does your child have? If your answer is no then your ward is ineligible to avail of the services of a writer for board examinations conducted by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) starting April 10.

The regional director of NIOS in Pune clarified on Monday that only candidates with 40% or more disability will get writers.

Representatives of NGOs and scores of parents whose children are to attempt the exam starting April 10 gathered at the NIOS office in Kothrud on Monday after they received a letter from the institute a few days ago about granting an extra hour to special candidates. Parents, however, argued that they never sought more time. Their application was for a writer.

Parents said their doctors were unable to quantify the disability and hence it was unfair to lay down such rules. NIOS officials, however, argued that the rules were not new.

Many students suffer from Autism - a spectrum disorder which is accompanied by severe learning disabilities and difficulty in writing. A parent said, "We have come all the way from Mumbai to request the director to allow our children to have a writer. However, the director has said that writers will be available only for candidates with certain percentage of disability. However, I am not too sure if our doctors would be able to quantify this disability."

Another parent said, "We cannot be running around to set things right at the eleventh hour. The letter was issued to us last week and now we have to train our child to write. It will be traumatic for parents as well as students."

U Rajareddy, regional director of NIOS, Pune, said, "The medical certificates parents bring along do not have clarity on the disability of the child. It mentions that the candidate is a slow learner and in such a case, as per the rules, they can only be given extra time. If the medical certificate says that the candidate has 40% or more disability, then a writer can be provided."

Rajareddy said the rules are in place for many years now. "Some parents are ignorant about it and come to the office if their wards are denied a writer."

Developmental paediatrician Suneel Godbole of said, "Development disorder like autism spectrum disorder can be graded into mild, moderate and severe categories but cannot be measured in percentage. In fact, no developmental disorder can be measured by a single number simply because it includes various factors including genetics, environment, parent's education, education system and associated co-morbid condition."

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