Centre, State doesn’t recognise Deafblindness
Both children and adults suffering from Deafblindness are still not recognized by the Centre or the state under their respective legislation, making it difficult for them to get special concessions and care. Both the centre’s Persons with Disability Act and the state’s policy or plan of action for differently-abled persons does not provide any recognition to these special category children and adults. Deafblindness is a condition wherein persons have a combination of little or no useful sight and hearing causing severe communication and other developmental and educational deprivation and they cannot be accommodated in special education programmes solely for children with deafness or blindness.
“84% of the information we gather from our surroundings is through eyesight and 11% is through hearing. In total 95% of our inputs from the surroundings come from these two senses. People with this dual sensory loss have an experience that is quite distinct from people who are only deaf or only blind simply because the only way they can receive information from their surroundings is through touch, taste or smell which are very limited,” Deepak Sharma of the Sense International, an NGO working exclusively with deafblind people throughout India, said. However due to a lack of sensitivity, these people are labelled as either blind or deaf so that they be classified as disabled to avail of benefits.
“People are given an identity card that says that they are either blind or deaf. However these cards cause problems because if they identify a person as ‘deaf’, people try to communicate with them through actions. If it says ‘blind’ they try talking to them,” Sharma said, adding that they were a class of disabled persons who had the most severe challenges, depriving them of a normal life. [H]