An hour-long session was held at Shradhanjali Integrated School, operated by the Association of People with Disabilities (APD) at Lingarajapuram to to ascertain difficulties faced by children with disabilities during the pandemic.
“Pushing children like me, with special needs, to online learning during the pandemic turned out to be a big challenge,” Anupriya, a seventh-standard student who has developed cerebral palsy (CP), remarked. The 14-year-old was speaking at a discussion held in Bengaluru to ascertain difficulties faced by children with disabilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Dhruva, a fourth-standard student with cerebral palsy threw light on the hardships faced by families with more than one child during the same period. “My sister and I had to share screen time as we had only one mobile phone available to attend online classes,” he said. However, the nine-year-old opined that online education helped him get schooling to an extent.
“Our teachers had designed online classes to include all my classmates with multiple needs to engage us in continued education, by visiting our families to give books and also providing mobile phones to those who had no access to such devices,” he recalled.
At the same time, Padmini, a seventh-standard student with dwarfism, was hopeful of meeting all her classmates together sometime soon. “The classes have just started and I am looking forward to the arrival of all my classmates. I hope that we shall soon resume the fun of playing, singing, and learning together,” she said.
The teenager added that many of her counterparts being denied continued educational opportunities in the absence of smartphones, laptops, or network issues was an issue of concern that needs to be addressed.
The hour-long session was held at Shradhanjali Integrated School, operated by the Association of People with Disabilities (APD) at Lingarajapuram in the city. Responding to queries raised by the children, Prosun Sen, an advocacy and communication expert from UNICEF, Hyderabad, said that government, international agencies, and the society is now equipped enough with the learning they have from handling the pandemic and its consequences, expected to continue in near future as well.
At the same time, Vasudeva Sharma, state convenor of the Karnataka Child Rights Observatory (KCRO), echoed concerns expressed by the children calling for more awareness about sign language to be facilitated for communication with people diagnosed with speech and hearing impairment.
Nagasimha G Rao, Campaign Coordinator at KCRO, told The Indian Express that the ‘Children Take Over’ event was held to offer a platform for specially-abled children to discuss and express challenges they faced during the lockdown. “Their opinions have been noted by representatives from UNICEF and several NGOs in the city. These insights will help close learning gaps and equip stakeholders to take better measures to ensure continued learning to all,” he said.
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