In this interview, physiologist Dr. Sharon Ruth talks about Disability Certificates. Mental Disability is diagnosed in the developmental stages of a foetus, during the birth, and in the initial years of a baby’s growth.
Standardised tools are used to measure the level of mental disability. One the most widely-used tools is the Binet Kamat Intelligence Test, which consists of a set of pictures which the person has to recognise. Another popular test is the Seguin Form Board, which is the one with shapes that children need to recognise and place the correct block into. The Vineland Social Maturity Scale, on the other hand, questions parents about their children’s IQ level and everyday activities. These three tests are instrumental in the provision of the Disability Certificate.
IDEAS (Indian Disability Evaluation and Assessment Scale) is another tool which is used widely in India to test mental illness. This test includes four areas – Self Care, Communication and Understanding, Interpersonal Skills and Work – about which the patient is assessed and a percentage is calculated on the basis of it.
To assess severe mental disability, IQ tests must be conducted only by clinical psychologists who are registered under the RCI (Rehabilitation Council of India). IDEAS is relied upon by psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers alike. Only government hospitals have the authority to provide this certification, however. In Bangalore, Victoria Hospital, NIMHANS, K C General Hospital, and the Jayanagar General Hospital have the authority to provide the certificate.
All Disability Certificates have to be signed by a psychologist, the Medical Board Chairman and a District Disabled Welfare Officer. Once they have received the certificate, the holders will be eligible to receive 75% concession on train tickets not just for the disable person but also for their escort. The main advantage will, however be that they will receive a pension, the amount depending on the level of disability involved.
Other benefits include cheaper health insurance, income tax exemption, housing schemes and more affordable bank loans. Patients living with mild mental disability also have the right to enroll for jobs.
“Nowadays, sadly, many people cheat people by claiming to provide Disability Certificates. I request everyone to approach only government hospitals and not random individuals,” Dr Sharon mentions.