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#Fighting Against Corona: Empowering differently abled through technology

Written by The Optimist

Digital technologies break traditional barriers to communication, interaction, and access to information for persons with disabilities. However, in case of Amrita Roy Chowdhury, founder of Transcendent Knowledge Society she choose this platform to  monitor and supervise people with cognitive disability and educate parents and family about their greater role to handle such differently abled people specially during this lock out period in view of COVID19 outbreak.

Amrita Roy Chowdhury speaks

“They are all intellectual disable those who are children need lot of supervision  that need to be provided by the parents. We are constantly in touch with the parents through video conferencing; through video call guiding them social connection has to be there.”

 For most people, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible

We train them lot in the self help skill. Now we have started training through video conferencing, restructuring the day, home programme, it is hard for the families. “

A challenge to individuals with cognitive impairments in wayfinding is how to remain oriented, recall routines. Amid the lockdown, it hasn’t been particularly easy for them as most of these differently abled people depend of caregiver. A caregiver doesn’t live in their house. So, every day they have to commute to get to their house. A lot of the problem lies in India’s treatment of the differently-abled, and there’s not enough data.

“Initially, they showed a lot of anxiety  and the family and parents had to face a lot to make them understand. There is a huge break in their daily routine, although they love to follow the rituals and routine. That was a challenge. Now listening to the news, media everywhere, now they are made to understand that they have to be home. If prolong lockdown happens Mental development will be stagnant and go down, lot of these people will be trend to forget things because they are not practicing . We have to start from the beginning again to train them.”

Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 in two installments over the next three months for persons with disabilities. But for the disabled, it is not just a question of money. As Indians follow social distancing by maintaining at least a metre’s distance from each other, it adds to the discrimination and isolation that the 21 million disabled Indians experience daily. People with cognitive disability need assistance for even accessing the government grant from their bank accounts. In the absence of accessible public facilities and assistive technologies, the disabled need human assistance. But social distancing makes it difficult.

As per Census 2011, in India, out of the 121 Cr population, about 2.68 Cr persons are‘disabled’ which is 2.21% of the total population

“In the beginning all were trained, they were trained about handwash, it is mandatory and children love to play with soap and water, it is interesting for them to go and handwash frequently,  the part that is worrying us thatits long indefinite time how they are going to cope up without daily programme. Managing them is hard for parents, caregiving is a long term and deep thing with social distancing you cannot provide care giving, it is very big challenge and difficult situation for other family members to handle them and there is also comfort zone there is connection built up between caregiver and these people.”

Amrita Roy Chowdhury  brought in transformation in the lives of people with disability,  working spiritedly with the differently-abled children showing how neglect, injustice and discrimination they receive are not merely unjust but are based on a flawed interpretation of the term “ability”.

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The Optimist

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