Thursday, 9 February 2012



                    SATHI HATH BADHANA

Hello Friends

I respectfully submit before

All my Well wishers, friends, colleagues, Sathi etc. the hopes, feelings and aspirations of PWD that…

If U r

Business man, owner, proprietor, Partner, Industrialist, CEO, Manager, Head of Department. Than

It is a humble request of ‘SAMVEDNA”. That

Please support us in searching/identifying at least one or more vacancies in your Office, Showroom, Firm, Institution, Organization, company, Industry, manufacturing unit, Malls, Corporate, Multiplex, Clinic, Lab, School/Colleges, Call centers etc.

And join us AS A ‘SATHI” with your vacancy in our “MISSION EMPOWERMENT” – a JOB CUM SELF EMPLOYMENT MOTIVATION FAIR to be organized on 18th March, 2012 in Vadodara

A benevolent act for the Cause of awarding ABILITY through employABILITY. And

Thereby make them Self- supported, self-reliant, self-confident which will lead them to become self-esteemed.

This will enlighten their life path from least hope to a brighter ray and thereby convert their dreams into reality

So please come forward and assisting or supporting us in this event of humanity.

This is to highlight that:

There are approx. 3000 “Persons with disABILITY” having education SSC onwards in Vadodara.

On the other hand there are approx. 3500/4000 industries in Vadodara and its surrounding areas.

If one industry adopts one PWD then ‘SAMVEDNA” is sure that there will be no unemployed PWD in Vadodara



Wednesday, 4 January 2012



Books-To-Burn is a text- to-speech file for making books on CD on an Apple computer. "Books2burn translates text files into a series of audio files (Apple AIFF format) which can then be converted to mp3's or other formats using programs like LAME, iTunes, or other tools available around the net. The program is released under the GNU GPL. Feel free to copy and modify the program."

JAWS for Windows

JAWS–an acronym for "Jobs Access With Speech" is the most widely–used screen–reader. It uses a software speech synthesizer, "Eloquence for JAWS," that can pronounce American English, British English, Brazilian, Portuguese, Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Finnish, French, German, and Italian.

IBM Home Page Reader

IBM Home Page Reader is a talking Web browser that uses speech to aid users in exploring the Internet. Home Page Reader's visual user interface and easy to learn keyboard navigation also make it a popular accessibility test tool for Web developers.

WindowEyes Professional

Window Eyes, another widely–used screen–reader, has versions that work with Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, and XP. It supports multiple users, over 50 speech synthesizers, and over 40 Braille displays.

LookOUT Screenreader

LookOUT has versions that work with Windows 98, ME, 2000, and NT. There is also a DUAL version that both reads the screen and magnifies the screen up to 9 times.


LinkCLASSIC and LinkPLUS are both full–sized keyboards that speak as you type or scan. Medicare–approved Speech Generating Devices (SGD), they give a voice to individuals who have suffered from a stroke or traumatic brain injury, or who have acquired ALS or other speech disorders.

Hal Screen Reader

Hal works with Windows 95, 98, Me, NT4, 2000 and XP. It provides a choice of 2 speech synthesizers: Dolphin Orpheus Speech System and Microsoft's MSAPI Speech Synthesizer. It will pronounce words in English (UK and USA), Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish (Latin and Castilian) and Swedish. It will also provide Grade 1 or Grade 2 Braille.


WebbIE is a free program that allows web pages to be read as simple text.

Sensus Talking Internet Browser

This talking browser has an internal speech synthesizer (which is software based and uses the computer's sound card), navigation via the keyboard, and dynamic document translation. It requires either Windows 95 or 98.

BrailleSurf 4

Braillesurf 4, developed by Inserm Inova, is an internet browser that works with Windows 95, 98, NT, and 2000, and has English, French, and Spanish versions. It analyzes the web page's source code and represents the content in text form that can be displayed on a braille bar or spoken by a speech synthesizer.

Duxbury Braille Translator

This software provides print–to–braille and braille–to–print translations. There are versions for Windows, MS–DOS, and Apple MacIntosh.

EIA Web Browser

EAI (Enhancing Internet Access) is a "specialized Web Browser, suitable for touchscreen systems, with fully integrated Web awareness, assessment and training modules."


"Using WinBraille, you can create your document in Word. The text is automatically formatted according to the original page format, or the user can select a custom Braille translation, or format. This information is then translated into Braille. Braille pages can be viewed on the screen prior to printing, in both text and Braille, or the Braille can be transmitted automatically to the embosser without the user seeing the Braille translation process." WinBraille works in windows environments including 98/ME, Windows NT/2000, & XP Pro/XP Home.


"Lightwriters are small, portable, text–to–speech communication aids engineered for people with speech impairments. Its dual display, choice of keyboard layouts and languages, and long battery life make it a good choice for many individuals."

Visio PC

The Visio PC includes a 21 inch monitor, magnification software, and a reading camera.

LunarPlus Screen Magnifier with added speech

"LunarPlus Enhanced Screen Magnifier offers people with a visual impairment the same invaluable features as Lunar Screen Magnifier but with the added advantage of speech output. Any text on screen is read out so not only you can check for accuracy as you type in documents or emails but you can also hear information on menus and web pages."

The Magnifier

The Magnifier is software that provides an "Area Screen Magnifier for Windows 3.x, 95, 98, NT, and Windows 2000. The software supports 2 times through 10 times magnification, may be sized as needed or positioned anywhere on screen, and has several features such as Auto–Position. . ."

ZoomText 9

Level 1 provides 2x to 16x magnification. Level 2 provides synchronized magnification and screen reading. ZoomText works with Windows XP, ME, 2000, NT4, 98 and 95.There is also a version for DOS.

Kurzweil 1000

The Kurzweil 1000 is a system for scanning books and other printed material into a computer and then speaking it aloud through a synthesizer.

Cicero Text Reader

Cicero Text Reader is software that "effectively takes your computer and scanner and turns them into a reading machine for people with a visual impairment. Printed text documents are placed on the scanner and can then be translated into speech, Braille or simply held as a text document which can be adjusted, saved, edited and printed out."

OpenBook 6.0

This software set allows books and other material that has been scanned to be translated into text, even if the words in the printed material has been embedded in graphics. The text can be pronounced aloud by a voice synthesizer that is included. It can create both MP3 and WAV sound formats as well .brf and .brl Grade II Braille formats.

Telesensory Ovation

This machine scans and translates text from books and other printed matter into speech.


This document reader includes a DEC talk Voice, an OCR reader, a flat bed scanner, a computer, and a screen reader.

Poet Compact

This compact machine (19.3 x 12.8 x 3.5 inches) used a flat bed scanner, a text recognition program, and a speech synthesizer. Internal hard disk provides for considerable storage of text.

VERA System

VERA is a stand–alone reading machine that "takes a picture of your printed material with its scanner and then reads the text in crisp, clear speech through an internal synthesizer."

Click–N–Type Virtual Keyboard version 3

Click–N–Type is free software that works with windows and DOS applications. It shows a virtual keyboard on the screen for those people who cannot type on a computer's physical keyboard.

QPointer Keyboard

This software "enables convenient operation of GUI environment by means of keyboard only (mouseless operation). With QPointer running, the keyboard starts functioning as an absolute and relative pointing device. . . . It allows operation of the whole computer without taking hands off the keyboard."


"Flexiboard is an entirely new alternative keyboard with a built–in optical overlay–detection method — the keyboard always detects which overlay is placed on top of the keyboard. Because overlays can be changed without commands to the computer, the user can handle a large range of overlays independently."

KeyStrokes 3.6 for the Mac

"KeyStrokes is a fully–functional advanced virtual on–screen keyboard that allows you to type with a mouse, trackball, head pointer or other mouse emulator to type characters into any standard Macintosh application. KeyStrokes provides advanced multilingual word prediction. can do word completion, next word prediction and even multi–word prediction in any Roman language as well as many other languages....It can be used with a keyboard, mouse, trackball, head pointer, touch screen, or other mouse emulator. For those who can position the pointer, but not click the mouse buttons, the integrated Dwellix™ system–wide dwell–based utility allows mouse button clicks to be entered by simply holding the cursor motionless for a programmable period of time. You can even type without clicking."

Dwell Clicker

Dwell Clicker is a free utility for people who can move the mouse but have difficulty clicking the mouse buttons. "Dwelling is resting the mouse over one area of the screen for a specified time. The dwell click software allows you to perform left–click, right–click and double clicks, and even drag things around the screen."


"Dasher is a data entry interface incorporating language modelling and driven by continuous two–dimensional gestures, e.g. a mouse, a stylus, or eye–tracker. Tests have shown that, after an hour of practice, novice users reach a writing speed of about 20 words per minute while taking dictation. Experienced users achieve writing speeds of about 34 words per minute, compared with typical ten–finger keyboard typing of 40–60 words per minute. Although the interface is slower than a conventional keyboard, it is simple to use, and could be used on personal data assistants and by motion–impaired computer users. Dasher can readily be used to enter text from any alphabet."

Braille In Keyboard

"Most blind people use a standard QUERTY keyboard when working with a computer. In a number of cases when it comes to editing Braille writing mathematics or music Braille for example using a Braille keyboard makes more sense. An ergonomically designed Braille keyboard like Braille In will ease your work even when working with long documents."


BigKeys LX and BigKeys Plus have keys that are 4 times as large as the typical keyboard. They work with both PCs and Macs.

Magic Wand Keyboard

According to its web site, the Magic Wand Keyboard "Needs No Strength—No Reach—No Dexterity. The Magic Wand Keyboard is a miniature computer keyboard, with a built–in mouse, which allows anyone with a disability who has limited or no hand/arm movement to fully access any IBM or Apple Macintosh computer. It is the only computer keyboard, and mouse, that requires no strength. This mini computer keyboard works with the touch of a wand (hand–held or mouthstick). It requires absolutely no force. Using only the slightest hand or head motion, the keyboard allows people with disabilities easy access to the Internet, e–mail, and all computer programs."

VirtualKeyboard for the Mac

VirtualKeyboard is an on–screen keyboard that offers point–and–click typing using pointing devices such as a head pointer, mouse, trackball, etc. This program is designed primarily for disabled person but it can be used also to teach the children to write, to prepare kiosk environments, etc. To use VirtualKeyboard simply click on the keys on the on–screen keyboard, each keypress will be sent to the active or front–most application. As with a real keyboard, to get uppercase characters you click Shift first, or to type in all uppercase, click Lock. Similarly, the other qualifier keys work as expected, they even work outside of VirtualKeyboard.

Eyegaze Communication SystemThis assistive technology enables people to use their eyes to operate a computer, communicate, operate a telephone, etc. "Its users include people with ALS (MND), brain injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, spinal muscular atrophy, strokes and Werdnig–Hoffman syndrome."


"VisionKey combines a viewer mounted on a pair of standard frames with a small control unit. An eye tracker and a microcomputer measure the position of the eye and when a selection is made, it appears on the control unit LCD and on the computer. Users look at a specific word, letter or character on the chart in front of their eye and "type" by holding their gaze until a selection is confirmed by a green highlight and a beep."

Assistive Mouse Adapter

"The Assistive Mouse Adapte ... works by filtering out the unintentional movements of the hand caused by a tremor. The effect of the adapter is much smoother movement of the cursor on the screen and greatly improved accuracy of mouse operation. The adapter works with most PCs and operating systems. No additional software is required; the device is simply plugged in between the computer and the mouse and can be switched on or off, and adjusted depending on the tremor severity. It can also be set to filter out unintended multiple clicking on the mouse."

Boost Tracer

"Tracer gives mouse control to people with Quadriplegia, CP, MD, MS, ALS, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and any other disability where you lack the hand control to use a standard mouse but retain good head movement. Tracer uses a small gyroscope to sense the user's motion. The gyroscope communicates wirelessly with the computer via an FCC Certified RF (radio frequency) connection, which solves all of the problems of the IR (Infrared) connection..."

Quadjoy Mouse

"Mouse for Quadriplegics with all of the functions of a standard 5 button mouse wheel mouse."

Headmaster Plus

"HeadMaster Plus is a head pointing system which provides full mouse control of computers to persons who cannot use their hands but who have good head control. Moving one's head moves the cursor on the screen. Activating the puff switch or other external switch makes selections. On–screen keyboards such as WiViK allow for word processing and other text entry.... Compatible with Macintosh, IBM 2 or 3 button serial mouse, or IBM PS/2 mouse."

Smart–Nav AT Package

"This hands free cursor control system is an assistive technology breakthrough for people with ALS, spinal cord injuries, and other people with disabilities who require a hands free mouse alternative. . . . The Smart–Nav AT Hands Free Mouse is a hardware and software bundle that comes with all the features normally seen on devices that cost five times as much, including: Real time head tracking, Built in dwell clicking, Switch clicking capability, On–screen virtual keyboard, Compatibility with all recent windows platforms, [and] Fully customizable software."


HeadMouse, a wireless head–pointing device, comes in versions for both desktop and portable computers, and for both Macs and PCs. A Sip and Puff Switch is also available.

HeadMaster Plus

"HeadMaster Plus is a headpointing system that takes the place of a mouse. Just move your head and the mouse cursor moves on the screen. Puff on the tube to make selections."

NaturalPoint Head–Tracking Mouse Alternative

The Smart–Nav is a hands–free mouse alternative that connects to the computer through a USB port. "The ergonomic Smart–Nav™ provides precise cursor control through simple head movement allowing your hands to remain on your keyboard, or at your side."


Tracker 2000 "allows you to smoothly move the cursor on the computer simply by moving your head, regardless of your disability. Tracker 2000 sits on top of the computer and tracks a tiny reflective 'dot' worn on your forehead or glasses. When you move your head, Tracker 2000 elegantly converts that into computer mouse movement."

Sunday, 11 December 2011



A Disability is a lack of ability relative to a personal or group standard or norm. In reality there is often simply a spectrum of ability.
Disability may involve physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive or intellectual impairment, mental disorder (also known as psychiatric or psychosocial disability), or various types of chronic disease. A disability may occur during a person's lifetime or may be present from birth.

The World Health Organization estimates that there are as many as one billion persons with disabilities worldwide.

The medical model of disability:
A model by which illness or disability is the result of a physical condition, is intrinsic to the individual (it is part of that individual’s own body), may reduce the individual's quality of life, and causes clear disadvantages to the individual. As a result, curing or managing illness or disability revolves around identifying the illness or disability, understanding it and learning to control and alter its course.

The disability rights movement aims to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities.
For people with physical disabilities accessibility and safety are primary issues that this movement works to reform. Access to public areas such as city streets and public buildings and restrooms are some of the more visible changes brought about in recent decades.

The social model of disability:
Proposes that barriers and prejudice and exclusion by society (purposely or inadvertently) are the ultimate factors defining who is disabled and who is not in a particular society. It recognizes that while some people have physical, intellectual, or psychological differences from a statistical mean, which may sometimes be impairments, these do not have to lead to disability unless society fails to accommodate and include them in the way it would those who are 'normal.'

Current issues and debates surrounding "disability" include social and political rights, social inclusion and citizenship.

In developed countries the debate has moved beyond a concern about the perceived cost of maintaining dependent people with a disability to an effort to find effective ways of ensuring people with a disability can participate in and contribute to society in all spheres of life.


What is a Disability?
Disabled symbolA disability is a condition or function judged to be significantly impaired relative to the usual standard of an individual or group. The term is used to refer to individual functioning, including physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment mental illness, and various types of chronic disease.

Disability is conceptualized as being a multidimensional experience for the person involved. There may be effects on organs or body parts and there may be effects on a person's participation in areas of life. Correspondingly, three dimensions of disability are recognized in ICF: body structure and function (and impairment thereof), activity (and activity restrictions) and participation (and participation restrictions). The classification also recognizes the role of physical and social environmental factors in affecting disability outcomes.

Types of Disabilities
Types of disabilities include various physical and mental impairments that can hamper or reduce a person's ability to carry out his day to day activities. These impairments can be termed as disability of the person to do his or her day to day activities.

These impairments can be termed as disability of the person to do his day to day activities as previously. "Disability" can be broken down into a number of broad sub-categories, which include the following:

a) Mobility and Physical Impairments
This category of disability includes people with varying types of physical disabilities including:
Upper limb(s) disability.
Lower limb(s) disability
Manual dexterity.
Disability in co-ordination with different organs of the body.
Disability in mobility can be either an in-born or acquired with age problem. It could also be the effect of a disease. People who have a broken bone also fall into this category of disability.

b) Spinal Cord Disability:
Spinal cord injury (SCI) can sometimes lead to lifelong disabilities. This kind of injury mostly occurs due to severe accidents. The injury can be either complete or incomplete. In an incomplete injury, the messages conveyed by the spinal cord is not completely lost. Whereas a complete injury results in a total dis-functioning of the sensory organs. In some cases spinal cord disability can be a birth defect.

c) Head Injuries - Brain Disability
A disability in the brain occurs due to a brain injury. The magnitude of the brain injury can range from mild, moderate and severe. There are two types of brain injuries:
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
ABI is not a hereditary type defect but is the degeneration that occurs after birth.
The causes of such cases of injury are many and are mainly because of external forces applied to the body parts. TBI results in emotional dysfunctioning and behavioral disturbance.

d) Vision Disibility
There are hundreds of thousands of people that suffer from minor to various serious vision disability or impairments. These injuries can also result into some serious problems or diseases like blindness and ocular trauma, to name a few. Some of the common vision impairment includes scratched cornea, scratches on the sclera, diabetes related eye conditions, dry eyes and corneal graft.

e) Hearing Disability
Hearing disabilities includes people that are completely or partially deaf, (Deaf is the politically correct term for a person with hearing impairment).

People who are partially deaf can often use hearing aids to assist their hearing. Deafness can be evident at birth or occur later in life from several biologic causes, for example Meningitis can damage the auditory nerve or the cochlea.

Deaf people use sign language as a means of communication. Hundreds of sign languages are in use around the world. In linguistic terms, sign languages are as rich and complex as any oral language, despite the common misconception that they are not "real languages".

f) Cognitive or Learning Disabilites
Cognitive Disabilities are kind of impairment present in people who are suffering from dyslexia and various other learning difficulties and includes speech disorders.

f) Psychological Disorders
Affective Disorders: Disorders of mood or feeling states either short or long term. Mental Health Impairment is the term used to describe people who have experienced psychiatric problems or illness such as:

Personality Disorders - Defined as deeply inadequate patterns of behavior and thought of sufficient severity to cause significant impairment to day-to-day activities.

Schizophrenia: A mental disorder characterized by disturbances of thinking, mood, and behavior.

h) Invisible Disabilities
Invisible Disabilities are disabilities that are not immediately apparent to others. It is estimated that 10% of people in the U.S. have a medical condition considered a type of invisible disability.

The Evolution of a Movement
Historically, disabilities have often been cast in a negative light. An individual thus affected was seen as being a “patient” subject either to cure or to ongoing medical care. His condition is seen as disabling; the social reactions to it are justified, and the barriers unavoidable. This position is known as the medical model of disability. 

Over the past 20 years, a competing view known as the social model of disability has come to the fore. In this model, disability is seen more as a social construction than a medical reality. An individual may be impaired by a condition that requires daily living adaptations, but the bulk of his problem - his disability - can be found in the attitudinal and physical barriers erected by society.

Both the medical and social models agree, to a point, that facilities and opportunities should be made as accessible as possible to individuals who require adaptations. Dismantling physical barriers, or setting up adaptations such as wheelchair ramps, is known as "fostering accessibility".

The Language and Terminology of Disability
Within the disability sector generally language matters. For a group of people who have been so relentlessly described in disparaging, reductionist and exclusivist terms, language matters profoundly. This is not unique to people with a disability. In civil rights movements around race, gender, nationality and sexuality, language has been a cornerstone of achieving respect and inclusion.

The term disability has replaced the older designations spastic, handicapped, and crippled. While these two designations can be used interchangeably, proponents of the social model of disability have appropriated the latter term to describe those social and economic consequences of the former. An individual with a physical or intellectual disability, then, is said to be "handicapped" by the lowered expectations of society.

A person may also be "impaired" either by a correctable condition such as myopia, or by an uncorrectable one such as cerebral palsy. For those with mild conditions, related impairments disappear with the application of corrective devices. More serious impairments call for adaptive equipment.

In the United Kingdom, people within the disability rights movement commonly use the term "Disabled" to denote someone who is "disabled by society's inability to accommodate all of its inhabitants."
The Person First Movement has added another layer to this discourse by asking that people with disabilities be identified first as individuals. "Person First Language" -- referring, for example, to a “woman who is blind,” rather than to "a blind woman" - is a form of political correctness designed to further the aims of the social model by removing attitudinal barriers.

Some people with disabilities support the Person First Movement, while others do not. People who are Deaf in particular may see themselves as members of a specific community, properly called the Deaf culture, and so will reject efforts designed to distance them from the central fact of their identity.

A human rights based approach has been adopted by many organizations of and for disabled people. In 2000, for example, the United Nations Assembly decided to start working on a comprehensive convention for the rights of disabled people.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Panjab University radio station prepares audio books for blind students
CHANDIGARH, Sept 18: Panjab University's community radio station 91.2 Jyotirgamya has completed the recording of audio books for students, as part of their voluntary activity towards the community.

These are B A and M A course–oriented books, which were recorded in English and Hindi to facilitate visually impaired students for their exams. Audio cassettes and CDs were handed over to the students on Wednesday at the radio station, located inside the School of Communication Studies (SCS) campus.

"I needed audio books for compulsory and elective English subjects for my B A II course. At school, we were provided with books in Braille but it is difficult to get college books converted into Braille as one book is converted into several volumes, which is not user–friendly," said Rishi Kumar Sharma, one of blind students.

"I am very thankful to radio Jyotirgamya for providing me with audio books," said Sharma, who studies at Government College in Sector 11. Sakshi Dua of Economics department, one of the volunteers of book reading, said, "It gives me great sense of fulfillment to be capable of serving the community." "I am very happy that we have completed the first phase of preparing books for blind students and thankful to all the students who participated in book reading. I would want to inform the readers that we have a fresh set of books to be recorded and volunteers are welcome," said Archana R Singh, SCS chairperson.
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi
Back to Top

HP high court summons Public Service Commission Chief
Shimla, Sept 15: The Himachal Pradesh High Court has summoned the chairman of the state public service commission to appear before it with particulars of the selection committee that did not choose a blind candidate for the post of a lecturer.

Putting the selection process of the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (HPPSC) under the scanner, a division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Karol Tuesday directed Maj. Gen. (retd) C.M. Sharma to furnish the qualification, experience and service particulars of the members and the head of the selection committee.

The court order on the appeal of blind person Shyam Lal was received Wednesday. The next date of hearing is Sep 19.

The HPPSC chairman was also asked to file an affidavit on whether the selection committee had fixed any guidelines/parameters to assess the merit of the candidates –– if so, what were the parameters.

It directed him to state how many vacancies needed to be filled in various categories from amongst physically challenged candidates and what steps had been taken in this regard.

Shyam Lal had applied for the post of a college lecturer advertised by the HPPSC in 2008.

Of the five posts advertised, three were reserved for blind people. Two candidates –– Shyam Lal and a physically disabled candidate –– applied for the posts under the reserved category.

The candidature of physically disabled people was considered and he was interviewed though no post was reserved for his category.

When the HPPSC realised its mistake, the entire selection process was cancelled, according to the petition.

Shyam Lal moved the high court against the decision. The court ordered the HPPSC to finalise the selection as per the process already commenced and interviews already held.

However, the HPPSC declared that Shyam Lal had got less marks than prescribed.

In its earlier orders, the high court had said it was shocking to judicial conscience how the petitioner, who is a teacher in the subject for over 15 years, has been awarded such poor marks despite his being a postgraduate as well as an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in chemistry.

It also observed that there was something wrong either with the assessment of the selection committee or with the selection process.

Last month, the Punjab and Haryana High Court struck down the appointment of Harish Rai Dhanda as the Punjab Public Service Commission chairman. The court observed that the decision–making process in Dhanda's appointment was shrouded in secrecy.
Mental health and disability stigmas thrive in India
Sept 25: Psychiatrist Fabian Almeida was stunned when the co–operative society next to his clinic outside Mumbai wrote to him complaining about his patients, with mental disabilities.

He was told that those receiving treatment for conditions ranging from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder to hyperactivity and dyslexia were a nuisance to other residents and should be kept inside.

"They were talking about them spreading germs," he told AFP by telephone from the commuter town of Kalyan, in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Almeida's experience is not an isolated case in India, with long–standing concern about attitudes towards the country's estimated 40–90 million people with mental and physical disabilities.

"The whole system is not ready to help people with disabilites," said Aqeel Qureshi, a disability rights activist who manages the Disability News India website and campaigns for better access for disabled people. Qureshi, a wheelchair user, said he was stranded at New Delhi's new $2.7–billion international airport terminal for two hours earlier this year after the lifts broke down.

On other occasions he said he missed flights because of a lack of lifts to the aircraft. Disabled people have been stopped from flying altogether by some airlines.

In Indian towns and cities, high kerbs, poorly maintained or non–existent pavements, stairs and a lack of wheelchair ramps are common hazards, making daily life difficult or impossible for people with disabilities.

Packed buses with high access steps, overcrowded suburban trains that halt only for 30 seconds in stations or a lack of public disabled toilets add to the problems.

In Mumbai, new pedestrian crossings have recently been installed at busy junctions but the audible signals –– designed to tell blind people when to cross – have been silenced.

Residents complained they were too noisy, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported last week.

Lack of awareness and not consulting people with disabilities or the groups representing them is often to blame, Qureshi said. "The problem with authorities is that they think they're very smart and very intelligent and that they know our needs. It's an attitude problem," he said from his base in Tokyo.

"The whole thing is not helping people with disabilities. That's why most people with disabilities are not empowered.

"The basic needs for people with disabilities is to provide better infrastructure so that you can go outside and live like any other citizen."

The World Bank has said that people with disabilities are among the most marginalised in Indian society and that some 50 percent of people it surveyed saw disability as a "curse of God".

"A lot more needs to be done in implementation and 'getting basics right'," the organisation said, calling for greater integration of disabled people into Indian society.

Researchers have found that disability in India is often seen as a punishment for a person's misdeeds in a past life, particularly in rural areas.

It has also been seen as lowering the status of a family in India, where social standing – particularly through marriage – remains important.

For some, India's rapid economic growth, which has fuelled a construction boom in big cities, is a perfect opportunity to make new buildings and infrastructure more disabled–friendly.

A landmark disabilities act introduced in 1995 was praised as one of the most progressive among developing countries, even if its implementation is patchy.

The country's popular Hindi–language film industry, Bollywood, has also helped raise awareness of conditions from dyslexia to Asperger's Syndrome in recent years.

Psychiatrist Almeida says progress has been made, highlighting the messages of support he has received for his clinic after he received the letter from next door.

"Incidents like this become speed breakers in our path to progress. Some people have chosen to remain ignorant," said Almeida, whose clinic uses yoga, art therapy and sport to help patients.

But India needs to do more as it develops and so–called Western lifestyle diseases such as depression become more prevalent and physical infirmity increases as the population ages, he added.

"I think we need to be providing mental health services more and tackling the stigma and taboo associated with it... There's so much more to do," he said.
Be more disabled–friendly in education: HC tells state
Mumbai,Sept 22: Blind and Deaf candidates are ineligible for admission to the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (BOTh) and Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPTh) courses.

The draft guidelines submitted by the Maharashtra Council for Occupational and Physiotherapy shocked the Bombay high court on Tuesday. The draft guidelines will be placed before the state government for approval.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Khar resident Kritika Purohit, whohad moved court last year after the Directorate of Technical Education turned down her application to appear for the CET for professional medical courses as she is visually blind person.

Additional government pleader GW Mattos said the the guidelines were prepared based on the report of a three–member expert committee."

The committee held that these candidates are ineligible because students learn keen senses of observational skills in these two courses, and it is necessary to identify and grade impairment qualitatively to chalk out effective treatment programme.

Mattos said: "If they clear the courses and are recruited, during an emergency they will have to attend to patients."

The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi said: "If they are employed by a hospital then they will be accommodated accordingly and all hospitals have physiotherapists."

The court directed the state to take into consideration the directives of the chief commissioner for the persons with disability to treat all disability and the willingness of the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) to support visually impaired candidates.

MUHS, which conducts exams for the two courses, has expressed willingness to provide support to blind candidates