Asia-Pacific, News Apr 28, 2016
NEW DELHI: After a wait of 15 years, the government has finally paved the way for giving disability certificates to children with disabilities.
For the first time in India, a medical board constituted by the government would use scientifically developed tools to identify autism cases and give disability certificates. Though the government had notified autism as a disability in 2001, it had not been issuing certificates. Now, the department of persons with disabilities (DePwD) under social justice and empowerment ministry has notified guidelines to pave the way for constitution of boards and issuing of disability certificates. Confirming this to ET, DePwD joint secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi said, “We have notified new guidelines on Monday under which disability certificates would be given to autistic children. This is a major initiative which would help in education and jobs.”
After the notification, the ministry of health would send this guidelines to the state governments, which would in turn constitute Autism Certification Medical Board comprising a clinical psychologist or rehabilitation psychologist, a psychiatrist and a paediatrician or a general physician. A parent would then be able to approach the health department, which would refer the case to this board. A certificate would be issued by the state government after a meticulous analysis on the basis of the child and parent’s replies to specific questions.
The issuance of disability certificate had been a controversial issue. Autism has been recognized as one of the disabilities under Section 2 of the National Trust Act read with Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995. While the former legislation lays down constitution of a trust, the latter Act only covers the categories of disabilities. But no certification process has been laid down for autism. Due to this lacuna no state government was issuing certificates. With the development of Indian Scale for Assessment of Autism (notified in 2012) and the new guidelines by DePwD, disability certificates for autism will finally become a reality.
Awasthi said, “The state governments should be able to issue certificates after two months.”