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Road map to train parents of children with disabilities needed, say experts

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National Institute of Naturopathy and Birth Defects Childhood Disability Research Centre on Tuesday organised a workshop on ‘community-based interventions for children with disabilities’ to identify holistic approaches that can be practiced at home to train and educate children with disabilities.

Appreciating the term ‘Divyang’ coined for people with disabilities, NIN director K Satya Lakshmi said, “Apart from the measures taken by the government, there is more that can be done for children with disabilities. There has to be some kind of road map which can elaborate on the ways to train and educate parents as to how to deal with children with disabilities.”

According to Dr Anita Kar, founder of Birth Defects Childhood Disability Research Centre, children with disabilities have three types of needs: routine healthcare, medical and habilitation. “…Parents are not aware about various governmental aids provided to them. This creates an additional financial burden, apart from the emotional and mental burden.”

Referring to ‘DeeSHA’ — Disability Social Health Activists — Kar said: “Like the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) are the health educators and promoters in their communities, similarly we want to create a community called DeeSHA, where the parents of children with disability will be trained. They can further educate other such parents on ways to deal with the same issue.”

On the occasion, experts Charuta Gokhale spoke about the needs of caregivers, and Bhagyashree Radhakrishnan discussed about what caregivers do after referral by Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Laryakaram mobile teams. Others who were present on the occasion include Anita Ghatnekar, who talked about early intervention centre; Dr Pramod Khandekar, who elaborated on the beneficial effects of yoga on children with intellectual disabilities; Sister Celine from Medical Mission Sisters, who shared her experiences and benefits of touch therapy for special children; Dr Srinavasa Rao Nyapati, who spoke on parental stress; and Dr Sridhar Reddy, who elaborated on the application of anthroposophical (alternative) medicine for children with special needs with a focus on external therapies like movement, warm foot bath, massages and ointment application.

The workshop also focused on practical demonstration of tools used for training mothers and yoga as a medium for stress relief. Of the 27 million cases of people with disability, two per cent are reported among children below five years.


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