Rehabilitation institute, special schools should have a Rehab background: RCI Act

SRINAGAR (KIMS) — In Jammu and Kashmir, most parents of special needs children struggle for education, therapies, and vocational training.

Many private schools are reluctant to admit special needs kids, despite the applicability of center laws like the RPWD Act 2016 and RTE 2009 post the abrogation of Article 370.

Sadly, educational institutes, rehabilitation centers, and day care centers often fail to implement these laws, especially the RCI Act, leaving thousands of children at risk.

Moreover, most heads of rehabilitation centers and special schools lack a background in rehabilitation, in violation of RCI guidelines.

This situation raises concerns about the adequacy of treatment interventions and the dissemination of information to parents about therapies and government schemes.

Zaheer Jan, a senior pediatric therapist, notes that many parents struggle due to a lack of information, with over 300 parents in J&K seeking his guidance.

These parents report a lack of proper planning for treatment interventions, information on diagnoses and therapies, vocational training, and government schemes.

Misguidance from center heads and principals without rehabilitation backgrounds exacerbates the issue, impacting professionals working in these fields.

Often, coordinators and principals in rehabilitation institutes are unaware of the distinct roles and responsibilities of various therapists and therapies.

In response to these concerns, senior rehabilitation professionals in J&K submitted a representation to the Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Rehabilitation Council of India in June 2023.

Immediate positive responses from both departments prompted an investigation and the issuance of proper guidelines by Commissioner Secretary Social Welfare Ms. Sheetal Nanda (IAS) and State Disability Commissioner Mr. Iqbal Lone.

The prompt action taken by these authorities is highly appreciated by rehabilitation professionals in Jammu and Kashmir, including therapists, psychologists, special educators, and physiotherapists.

They stress the importance of following government guidelines to ensure the best care and support for persons with disabilities and children with special needs. — (KIMS)