The people of Pakistan must recognise the alarming problem of learning difficulties, which afflict up to 10 per cent of the population, Justice (retired) Nasira Javed Iqbal has said.
The former Lahore High Court judge and noted women’s and child rights activist visited a Pakistan Association for Difficulties in Learning (PADIL) workshop and spent time with children with learning disabilities on Wednesday. Volunteers briefed her about the association’s work with children and its teaching and promotional activities.
“It is a pity that people do not recognise the problem of learning disabilities in their children,” she said. Children with learning disabilities were often unable to get jobs reserved for special persons as that required getting a certificate from a hospital, but their disabilities were not recognised, she added.
She said some 1.8 million Pakistanis had learning disabilities, of which 0.5 million lived in urban and 1.3 million in rural areas.
People in rural areas generally had superstitious beliefs about the causes of learning disabilities. “Also, there are no learning facilities in rural areas,” she said.
Justice (r) Iqbal said that psychology had advanced understanding of learning disabilities. Only a few institutions in Pakistan were concerned with the problem and more needed to be done, she added.
PADIL Chief Executive Officer Ashba Kamran thanked Justice (r) Nasira Iqbal for visiting the centre. She said the PADIL was designing a survey of people with learning disabilities in Pakistan to try and fill the void of data on the subject. She said that corporations were helping the organisation accommodating children educated and trained at the centre.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2013.