NIEPMD – a Beacon for Persons with Multiple Disabilities

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K N Srinivasan**

The very expansion of the abbreviation NIEPMD-National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities clearly spells out the role of the institute.

NIEPMD established in 2005 under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is located at Muttukadu about 30 kilometers from Chennai in Kancheepuram District and is doing a yeoman service to the society with the motto that the persons with multiple disabilities have equal rights to lead a better life. This goal can be achieved only with committed professionalism, accessible environment and available technological interventions. This is where the institute is playing a vital role.

The institute provides need based comprehensive rehabilitation through team approach and ensures empowerment of persons with Multiple disabilities by substantiating field based research and development of human resources. There are a number of departments such as Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Psychology, Vocational training, Speech, Hearing & Communication, Special education, Deaf Blind, Physio Therapy & Occupational Therapy, Early Intervention, Prosthetics & Orthotics, Sensory Integration and Community based Rehabilitation to provide service to different kinds of disabilities. NIEPMD is also paying attention to human resource development, research and development, documentation & dissemination of information, developing service delivery models and supporting NGOs.

Persons with multiple disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Hearing Impairment with Visual Impairment, Visual Impairment with Mental Retardation, Hearing Impairment with Mental Retardation and associated disabilities, are clinically examined for their nature, extent and causes of disability in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. Following the medical examination, medicines are prescribed if needed and the patients are referred to other specialists for further investigation and rehabilitation.

Physiotherapy unit provided services for persons with Cerebral Palsy, developmental disabilities and other with orthopaedic disabilities.

Occupational therapy unit caters to the needs of persons with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other developmental disabilities.

Prosthetic & Orthotic section provides training in various types of orthotic, prosthetic splint, adaptive devices and seating devices. Psychological services include intellectual and functional assessments and interventions programmes for persons with multiple disabilities.

Children with Multiple Disabilities are assessed with use of functional approach. Individualized educational programme with periodical evaluation is followed for the children attending the special education services. Early intervention services are provided for children at risk/developmental delay from birth to three years. Children who are deaf, blind and have dual sensory impairment are trained in three major areas such as communications, orientation & mobility and basic concepts. Children diagnosed with autism and additional disabilities are trained in the centre for Autism.

The extension programme of NIEPMD includes a comprehensive programme for rehabilitation of persons with multiple disabilities.

The Institute has been entrusted with implementation of ADIP scheme to provide rehabilitation aids and appliances to the persons with disabilities. Under its extension service programme the institute conducts rehabilitation camps in tribal and interior areas in different parts of the country. More than 45 thousand people have been benefited so for and about 12,500 disabled persons have been provided with various aids, appliances and materials under different schemes. The persons suffering from hearing impairment are given hearing aids with solar charges. Similarly, CD players, whitecan, brail watch, education kits etc., are being given to blind people. The mentally challenged persons are provided with teaching and learning materials. The physically handicapped people are given appliances such as Trycycles, Wheel chairs, walker, clutches and artificial limbs. (PIB Features)

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the INVC

**Former Director, Directorate of Field Publicity, Thiruvananthapuram

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