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Times of India
09 April 2010
By Anahita Mukherji
Mumbai, India

Booster shot: KEM will be the third civic hospital in city to have a learning disability testing centre Booster shot: KEM will be the third civic hospital in city to have a learning disability testing centre
Here’s a shot in the arm for kids with Learning Disability (LD), who have for long had to run from pillar to post in search of an LD certificate. KEM Hospital, one of Mumbai’s premier institutions, is working towards creating a testing centre for learning disability.

At present, there are only two hospitals with LD testing centres that are recognised by the SSC board—Sion and Nair. Once the KEM centre is in place, the hospital will approach the SSC board for permission to certify LD kids, making it the third such testing centre in Mumbai. KEM, Sion and Nair hospital are all run by the BMC.

“The BMC has taken a policy decision to start an LD centre at KEM, as well as a school for autistic children like the one at Nair Hospital,” said Dr Sanjay Oak, dean of KEM hospital.

While welcoming the move, Dr Harish Shetty, president of the Counsellor’s Association of India, who has been at the forefront of the country’s LD movement, said that over a decade after activism on learning disability began, the number of testing centres for children with LD is abysmally low. “Why only three, there should be 20 LD centres by now in a city like Mumbai. I know of countless cases where students have lost out on a year of studies because of a delay in getting their LD certificates. This has also greatly affected their self esteem. The government needs to take up the matter on a war footing, as proper diagnosis of LD students will greatly improve their mental health,” said Shetty.

“An LD testing centre in KEM Hospital is an excellent idea, but we need many more such centres,” said advocate Rajeev Kumar, one of the lawyers whose legal battle resulted in Bombay high court’s landmark judgment on learning disability. “I feel that certain clinical psychologists should be authorised to test and certify students with LD. This would be better than taking a child to the hospital for LD testing. Entering a hospital convinces LD kids that there is something wrong with them. The scars are difficult to heal,” said Kumar.

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