BHOPAL: When ‘Taare Zameen Par’ was released, people started acknowledging that a child can have special needs when it comes to learning but that still remained limited to feel sympathetic about their conditions. A child with special needs is a child who has any kind of disability. It includes hearing and speech impairment, epilepsy, Down’s syndrome, dyslexia, autism, ADHD, cleft lips, missing limbs, port wine stains or any medical, mental, psychological and physical disability.
In Bhopal, there are 73, 219 persons with special needs, both adult and children, but out of them only 23 per cent have been profiled i.e. 17,454 children are known and 77 per cent are still struggling for how to deal with their special needs. Developing a profile of a special child basically includes identifying the problem of the child and what treatment, therapy, schooling the child needs. Dr Jagneet Chawla, paediatrician, has been working on providing free aid to children with special needs and she says that it is very unfortunate to find that people here are insensitive towards special children. “We are living in the 21st century but we are hardly aware that children are our future and every child is special. A child, who has disability, has some problem which can be dealt with. We often overlook the talent they have see only their disability.” While talking about the huge number of Bhopal, she said that the problem is not with these children but the problem is with the educated mind which excessively calculates everything. “Most of the people nowadays have diabetes but we don’t consider them to be special people but when a child acquires diabetes at an early age due to any reason and needs constant dialysis, we immediately term the child as
There are many things that we can’t do but we never call ourselves disabled of doing something. I have seen people asking their children to not play with a special child and call the ‘ganda baccha’. How can someone call a child ganda?”
Sapna Gupta, from Aarushi, says that today one positive thing that we have noticed is the sensitivity among youngsters. “If you see Aarushi, you will find mostly youngsters working towards sensitizing the society. They have understood that these children with special needs and not different from them.
They just need to be taught and cared for a little differently. Every year we get so many youngsters enrolled for internships to learn about how to handle a child with special need and they not only learn well but also work for sensitising their friends, family and society”, she said.