The government of Kerala has issued guidelines to establish a minimum standard for the registration of therapy centres meant for children with autism. This is to bring all therapy centres for persons with disabilities under a regulatory mechanism, ensuring infrastructure and the service of a qualified therapist.
These guidelines are based on a High Court order, directing the state government to take the steps necessary to have therapy centres for children with autism spectrum disorder and other neurological disabilities, reports Live Law.
Therapy centres offer children with disabilities physiotherapy, occupational, speech or language therapy, and are to meet the standards given by the government, according to Section 51 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
The guidelines mentioned by the government include ensuring a service protocol is maintained in every therapy centre and the parents/caregivers of the child are oriented on the outcome of the therapy. There should be a regular monitoring system, including a follow-up at home, and the services should be available at an affordable cost. There should be transparency while providing therapy and all the activities at a centre should be recorded. Importantly, unfair practices and incidences of abuse of any kind faced by caregivers at therapy centres should be eliminated.
Apart from the guidelines, the High Court order also says that the 'government of Kerala has submitted that a sum of Rs 3,55,16,600 has been allocated for setting up therapy centres and also to maintain the same.'
The order also adds: “Considering the decision already taken in this regard for the establishment of therapy centres, for which a specific sum has been allocated, we only direct the respondents to take steps to establish therapy centres, at the earliest and at any rate within three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment.”