• Recently, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched 14 cross-disability early intervention centres across the country to provide support to infants and young children at risk of or with disabilities.
  • Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.
  • An impairment is a problem in body function or structure;
  • An activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action;
  • A participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.
  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • India has ratified the Convention and has enacted ‘The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016’.

Important points:

  • The services provided at the centres will include screening of children and referral to appropriate rehabilitative care; speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy; parental counselling and training and peer counselling.
  • These centers will also focus on school readiness.
  • There are more than 20 lakh children with disabilities in the age group of 0-6 years, who belong to the categories of visually impaired, hearing impaired, locomotor disability etc.
  • This means that around 7% of children in this age group suffer from some form of disability.
  • The number of such children is expected to increase as the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, increases the number of disabilities to 21 from 7.
  • Early Childhood (0-6 years) is the most critical phase of brain development. Early intervention can provide specialised support and services for infants and young children at-risk or with disability or developmental delay and their families to help their development, well-being and participation in family and community life.
  • This can lead to lesser economic burden by creating a better future and independent/less dependent lives.
  • The project is being implemented with a view of creating a National Database for PwDs, and to issue a Unique Disability Identity Card to each PwD.
  • DeenDayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: Financial assistance is provided to NGOs for providing various services to PwDs, like special schools, vocational training centres, community based rehabilitation, pre-school and early intervention etc.
  • Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase / fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP): Aims at helping the disabled persons by bringing suitable, durable, scientifically-manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances within their reach.
  • National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities: To increase opportunities for students with disabilities to pursue higher education, 200 Fellowships per year are granted.
  • Schemes of the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.

Way Forward

  • Identification of at-risk cases, especially in rural areas, is an important aspect and it is also important to provide necessary assistance and counselling to their parents in time.
  • Research shows that the first 1000 days of a child’s life are crucial to ensure healthy development, so it is very important to identify the risk cases at an early age so that the severity of the disability can be reduced through appropriate measures.


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