India has around 26.8 million people living with disabilities, constituting 2.21% of India’s total population (Census 2011). Recognizing the condition at an early stage will help initiate corrective measures immediately and improve quality of life. Mumbai Smiles Foundation’s Community Health Project was instituted with the vision to promote early diagnosis and sensitize civil society towards identifying children with disabilities.
Towards this end, an awareness session was organised for the education team at Mumbai Smiles Foundation. Trainees were informed of common disabilities affecting children, common signs and symptoms to help identify cases, and corrective measures to adopt when cases are identified with information on hospitals and institutes that treat disabilities. The session also highlighted the rights of disabled individuals and government schemes that support these rights.
The session specifically focused on identifying learning disabilities in children, as early detection will help lessen psychological and behavioral effects and improve their academic performance. Additionally, the education team was also trained on conducting similar training sessions for parents and teachers of preschools across Mumbai.