Need of the hour -9
LET’S NOT HARM – GIVE AN ARM
“Disability” and “Persons with Disabilities” or differently abled persons for this statement are as defined in the “Person with disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995” and any other statute enacted for the welfare of Persons with Disabilities.
The advancement in technology and computer aided work atmosphere has really turned to be a boon for the Differently-Abled persons. The work environs, internet based jobs and also the idea of SOHO (small office home office) works has a wonder to make everyone employable and productive in the economy.
A computer literate person has just lost the hand function after meeting with an accident. There seems to be no future for this person, temporarily at least. But hope comes in the form of Access to Communication and Technology (ACT) — a sub-branch of biomedical engineering that holds a promise to breathe new life into the physically disabled persons.
ACT deals with alternative methods of communication through the use of electronic equipment and can help the disabled people to do certain functions independently without assistance from another person. Through ACT, this computer literate but disabled person can be provided with alternative devices to allow him or her to access their computer.
For example, a biomedical engineer can design an electronic tool like a Head mouse system, which can be appropriate for someone with good head control. This usually involves placing an infrared reflective dot on the forehead. An IR detector detects movement of this dot (head movement)and moves the cursor on screen.
These are just a small examples and there are many other methods by which ACT can improve the quality of life of the disabled.
It has been realized that majority of Differently abled Persons can lead a normal life if they have effective access to rehabilitation services, which would include early identification, intervention, education, vocational training, employment opportunities and the availability of Aids and Appliances.
Personal mobility will be enhanced through aids and appliances which will be continuously upgraded.
Since disability in large number of cases, is preventable there will be strong emphasis on prevention of disabilities. Early detection of disability and early intervention helps in minimization of impact of Disability. Therefore, there will be emphasis on early detection and intervention. Necessary, facilities including dissemination of information shall be ensured to enable such detection and necessary intervention.
There is a need for mainstreaming of the persons with disabilities in the general education system through inclusive education. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) launched by the Government of India has the goal of eight years of elementary schooling for all the children including children with disabilities in the age group of 6-14 years by 2010. This has brought in tremendous improvement in the lives of these people today. The State has joined the SSA in the year 2005.
Under the scheme a shelf of education options learning aids and tools, mobility assistance, support services, etc. are available for children with disabilities. This include education through an open learning system and open Educational Institutions, online educational portals, alternatives schooling, distance education, home bases education, remedial teaching, part time classes, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) and vocational education and cooperative programmes. The programme also envisages augmentation of teaching skill and capabilities of teachers.
Differently abled Person shall be provided equal opportunities for production and gainful employment.
Employment in private sector shall be encouraged for Differently abled persons by development of appropriate skill for their employability opportunities for self-employment and by developing a package of incentives that would help in creating opportunities for them in this sector.
The use of media will be intensified to spread knowledge and awareness about the facilities available as well as about groups and individuals working in the area of disabilities so as to encourage inter personal exchange and formation of support groups.
Public building (functional or recreational) transport amenities including roads, subways, pavements, railway, platform, bus stops, modes of transport (bus, train, planes), playgrounds, open spaces, etc. should be made accessible through design changes, use of appropriate material in their construction and strict adherence to their maintenance standards. Architects construction engineers who are professionally involved in the design and construction of physical environment will be sensitized to the needs of persons with Disabilities through in-service training as well as suitable modification to the curriculum in technological institute as part of their professional studies. New devices, app developments should be user friendly so that it helps the differently abled persons to work smoothly
The Government, NGOs and other social service organisations should ensure by appropriate measures that Industrial establishment, offices, public utilities both in public and private sector shall be provided to differently abled friendly work place for their employees.
Pro-active steps should be taken to ensure differently abled friendly IT environment.
Since every human being with or without disabilities is a performer, it is very essential to improve their performing skills, to make them a better performer.
LET’S NOT HARM – GIVE AN ARM