Petition: Requesting the Government of India an immediate repeal of classifying learning disabilities as mental impairment/retardation

| 11/04/2013

Petitioning the Honorable Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Minister of Health and Family Welfare – Government of India:

Requesting the Government of India an immediate repeal of classifying learning disabilities as mental impairment/retardation

Petition by Ajay Sathyan from Chennai, India

My name is Ajay, and I recently discovered that I’m dyslexic after a series of tests conducted by a clinical psychologist. I had a very traumatic childhood and adolescence throughout which I had to endure severe verbal and physical abuse. Everyone would call me derogatory names including: dumb, stupid, useless, and worthless. I have even been called retard and moron as a young child. In spite of all the tremendous hardships that I have faced over the years, I have still managed to channel my grief into productive work. I have also discovered, in my own way, to find happiness in my independence as it helps mask my pain and loneliness.

However, I have struggled to remain consistently employed because I am unable to learn quickly. I was either fired, or I had to quit my job on my own accord because I took longer to learn and adapt to new working environments than the average person. Employers were neither sympathetic nor patient with me, and I was overwhelmed by the mounting pressure, abuse, and harassment from employers and colleagues to perform well.

I was fired from my last job, and I have been unemployed for almost a year. I am still struggling to find work because employers are reluctant to hire me because my professional profile appears to be inconsistent. Another problem that has negatively affected my employability is that my disability certificate states that I am mentally impaired. This has clearly prompted potential employers to avoid hiring me even though I am qualified for a position that I apply for. On the rare occasion that I am granted a job interview, I have discovered that many employers harbor tremendous resentment towards individuals with learning disabilities! Unfortunately, the prevailing attitude in India remains that learning disabilities are considered as telltale signs of mental impairment and/or retardation.

This is a HUGE misconception which must be addressed and corrected because I am sure that there are millions of people in India with learning disabilities who have been unjustly discriminated against like I have been. In fact, it has been clearly established that only individuals with an IQ lower than 70 are considered to be mentally impaired, and these individuals do not figure in most definitions of learning disabilities. Instead, the learning disabilities found in individuals with mental impairment or retardation are directly related to their overall lower cognitive functioning. Therefore, people diagnosed only with a learning disability are not and should not be considered mentally impaired!

Please sign this petition to the Honorable Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Minister of Health and Family Welfare – Government of India, which requests for the immediate repeal of classifying learning disabilities as mental impairment/retardation based on the clinical definition given above. This must apply for learning disabilities such as: Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dysphasia, Aphasia, and Nonverbal learning disabilities (motor clumsiness, poor visual-spatial skills, poor organizational skills, and problematic social skills).

Furthermore, this this petition also requests the Government of India to immediately start developing nation-wide schemes to assist individuals with diagnosed learning disabilities and awareness programs to educate the general public. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Ajay Sathyan

Petion Link:
https://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/requesting-the-government-of-india-an-immediate-repeal-of-classifying-learning-disabilities-as-mental-impairment-retardation

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