As a five-year-old, Aditya Paradkar would often repeat words or phrases when being spoken to and found it difficult to express himself. Twelve years on, Paradkar, an autistic child, is set to take his Class 10 exam.
Devoting six hours to study every day, Paradkar will be among the six autistic students from state board’s Mumbai’s division to register for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination in March.
“Aditya will not have a writer. He will, however, use a calculator for math and geometry that is permitted by the board,” said Sandhya, his mother.
This is the second year that Maharashtra Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Pune, granted concessions (see box) to autistic children for both Class 10 and Class12 state board exams. A class 12 student will also avail of concession for his board exam next month.
Autistic children usually face difficulties during social communication, emotional expression and might display obsessive behaviour traits.
For autistic students, finding a school remains an issue. For instance, Paradkar’s mother Sandhya looked for a regular school for more than two years before enrolling him in Utkarsh School at Virar. “His schoolmates do not understand that he is differently-abled,” said Sandhya.
Autistic students also choose the National Institute of Open School board because it is simpler as compared to the SSC board. “My child travels almost four hours a day from Thane to Goregaon to attend a special school,” said Gayatri Shrivastava (name changed). Her son Rahul, 15, who studies at a special school run by the Goenka Education trust, Goregaon, will take the Class 10 exam from NIOS board.
“Autistic students should be allowed to take exam in their own schools as change of environment will affect their performance,” said Rajshree Anand, a special educator whose daughter Niharika, will also give her exam from the NIOS board.