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Bangalore: Aamir Khan’s directorial debut in Taare Zameen Par increased awareness on dyslexia, and this led parents and teachers to understand the learning disorder with renewed interest.
Waking up to parents’ demand for concessions to dyslexic students, the State Government has permitted the use of simple calculators for students with specific learning disabilities, appearing for the examinations in March 2009. The students will have to be certified as dyslexic by the district surgeon. In an order of February 21, the Government has said all such students can use the services of a scribe to read the question paper. That apart, spelling mistakes (except proper nouns) will be condoned.
The pattern of examination has also been changed. Students of 1st and 2nd standards will have only oral examinations. While those studying in 3rd and 4th standards will have 75 per cent oral assessment, students of 5th, 6th and 7th standards will have 50 per cent oral and 50 per cent written assessment. Those in 8th and 9th standards will have 30 per cent oral and 70 per cent written assessment. Only 10th standard students will be required to appear for an entire written examination.
These concessions are apart from the existing one of allowing a student to answer in only one language from standard 1 to 10 and giving 30 per cent extra time to answer the papers. Dyslexia is a neurological disorder that results in the decline of a child’s ability to read, write, speak and compute. The sufferers are not slow learners or mentally challenged but possess average or above average intelligence. It is estimated that 8 to 14 per cent of the three crore schoolchildren in India are dyslexic. According to K.S. Gopalan, a retired professor of St. Joseph’s College, who strived to get the Government announce the concessions, parents of dyslexic children undergo a lot of trauma.
“My granddaughter was denied admission to one of the schools which receives grants from the Government. In another school, children were given promotion and asked to leave the institution,” he told The Hindu.
Pointing out that this inspired him to start the Malleshwaram Dyslexia Association, Prof. Gopalan said the aim was to create awareness among parents and help bring the children into the mainstream.
The examination concessions are a result of continuous interactions between the association and Government authorities. “Though the concessions of answering in one language and extra time already existed, neither the parents nor the teachers knew about this. Our struggle has forced the Government to issue modified concessions,” he said. The fresh concessions are on the lines of those available in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The Malleshwaram Dyslexia Association can be contacted on 23446058, 9341919101, 9880650809 and email@example.com
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