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The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has directed Jamnabai Narsee School, Juhu, to continue schooling a sevenyear-old autistic boy, albeit with the help of a shadow teacher (an educational assistant for a single special needs child).

The commission, whose chairperson is Ujjwal Uke, heard an application filed by the boy’s parents in April pursuant to an order of the Bombay high court. A doctor’s team had the boy under observation and had concluded that he was fit to attend school. The commission upheld the report, which said the child should have a shadow teacher assigned to him.

Autistic child is fit to attend school with shadow teacher: Rights panel

The school, run by the Narsee Monjee Education Trust, attacked the report on the grounds that the observation period was not enough. It also took recourse to its minority status (Gujarati) and cited a string of research findings and studies to state that the boy’s integration was not advisable. The commission rejected these. The child’s parents’ advocate Pradeep Havnur said, “It is important for the child’s normal growth that he be allowed to attend the school.”

Psychiatrists have hailed the decision. Harish Shetty, senior psychiatrist at LH Hiranandani Hospital, said, “This will have an impact on other schools too. All schools should take note of the order.”

Times of India
24 October 2013,
Mumbai, India
By - Swati Deshpande & Yogita Rao

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