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Times of India
05 April 2010
By Anil Singh
Mumbai, India

With the western region NIOS shifting the centre to certify if a kid needs a writer from Sion Hospital in Mumbai to KEM in Pune, parents say that despite a film on dyslexia, the government remains callous on the issue

Dyslexic Kids Made to Run Before Exams
Fifteen dyslexic kids from Mumbai have been summoned by authorities to Pune, a day before their Std X exams, just in order to get a certificate which will enable them to get a writer.

Some of the children are from disadvantaged backgrounds and their mothers work as housemaids. Nonetheless, they are hiring a bus to Pune so that they can keep the appointment with Dr Anand Pandit of KEM Hospital there. Pandit heads the committee which deals with certificates relating to learning disability.

Till last year, the students got a writer after Sion Hospital, the designated centre, ascertained that the child was a slow learner and the kid’s school gave a certificate that the child could not write.

According to Sanjay Mathur, father of 16–year–old Arnav, who is appearing for his Std X exam under the National Integrated Open School (NIOS), this year the new head of the western region NIOS has shifted the designated centre to KEM Hospital in Pune.

“Initially, the NIOS told us that they would allow dyslexic students twice the amount of time to write the paper. But my son needs a writer because his handwriting is barely legible,” said Mathur.

Another parent, Rekha Parmar, says that her son cannot read or write on his own. This does not imply that the children are dimwitted. Arnav scored 65% in his last exam.

Mathur laments the fact that the authorities are so callous and ignorant even after the Aaamir Khan film, Taare Zameen Par, highlighted the plight of dyslexic children.

At a time when the rightto education bill has been passed, this sort of hurdles are least expected, he added.

According to psychiatrist Harish Shetty, who has worked extensively on dyslexia, this was outrageous. “I will file a case in the state human rights commission against the authorities,” he said.

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