Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 8  |  Page : 51

“Rights of persons with disability” act: A boon for persons with aphasia

Department of Speech-Language Pathology, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Manasagnagaothri, Mysore, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission18-May-2020
Date of Acceptance01-Jun-2020
Date of Web Publication05-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. S P Goswami
Department of Speech-Language Pathology, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Manasagnagaothri, Mysore - 570 006, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aian.AIAN_472_20

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How to cite this article:
Goswami S P. “Rights of persons with disability” act: A boon for persons with aphasia. Ann Indian Acad Neurol 2020;23, Suppl S2:51

How to cite this URL:
Goswami S P. “Rights of persons with disability” act: A boon for persons with aphasia. Ann Indian Acad Neurol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Mar 7];23, Suppl S2:51. Available from:

Guest editor's notes: The 'Rights of Persons with Disabilities' Act (RPWD-2016) unambiguously affirms 'aphasia' as a 'disability' with all the benefits and protections it entails. The onus is on clinicians caring for PWA to be aware of provisions in RPWD-2016 and act accordingly in their interest and use the act as bedrock for advocacy action plans.

The “Rights of Persons with Disabilities” Act was unanimously passed by the Parliament of India on 27th December 2016 (RPWD-2016) and became operational from 19th April 2017 onwards. With its base on the United Nations Convention for Rights of Persons of the Disability, the RPWD-2016 supports a comprehensive approach to disability. The International Classification of Functions is the cynosure of RPWD-2016 and improving the social activity level and participation of an individual with disability regardless of any ethnocultural, environmental, cognitive-communicative, socioeconomic, geographical, or political barriers is considered the epitome of rehabilitation. It provides the state government, professionals, and society with the onus of minimizing barriers and maximizing community integration of persons with disability.

As defined in the act, “Speech and Language disabilities” result in permanent, significant deviations in the components of speech and/or language due to organic or neurological causes (Section 1D, RPWD-2016). Persons with Aphasia are legitimately placed under the protection of “Language Disability” of RPWD-2016 for the impact of this condition on “a person with long term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairment which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others.” The rights and entitlements to persons with Aphasia under this act include:

Equality and Nondiscrimination: Persons with Aphasia have the “right to equality, live with dignity and respect in the society.” They shall be provided with equal opportunity to participate in society and any discrimination based on disability is lawfully an offense. They are guaranteed with the right to vote, justice, and tax rebate like any other citizen of the country.

Protection from Abuse, Violence, and Exploitation: The act strongly protects persons with Aphasia against any form of physical, sexual, emotional, or materialistic abuse/violence/exploitation in home and/or work environment or while availing or rendering services including health care and research. Employer is obligated to accommodate the person with Aphasia who can access preferential job posting, disability pension, and admission in higher education under the RPWD-2016 act.

Protection and Safety: Appropriate policies and measures should be enforced by the administration for the protection and safety of persons with Aphasia such as in the event of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies, and natural disasters.

A certificate stating the disability score from a medical board constituted by the Medical Superintendent, Neurologist, and a certified Speech-Language Pathologist is mandatory. The disability criteria of 40% and above for availing the benefits of this act are derived from the Aphasia Quotient obtained by the individual during a performance on Western Aphasia Battery making this test a mandatory component in professional practice of a Speech-Language Pathologist. The guidelines and a ready reckoned table for calculation of language disability score are provided in the act itself.

It is time that we include the language disability score for a person with Aphasia in the routine reporting document based on our clinical observation and assessment. Like any other citizen, a person with Aphasia and their family should be aware of their lawful rights and concessions, though the decision of availing the certificate rests upon them. As per the legislature, any reason for denial of these rights should be explicitly stated, failing which punitive action can be initiated against the authorities, including the professionals. We can leave a mark in the lives of persons with Aphasia not just through betterment of impairments, but also through helping they reconnect with the society and letting them live with dignity and identity. As professionals, we can upgrade the quality of life and life satisfaction of persons with Aphasia through legal enforcement of the “Rights of Persons with Disability” Act (2016).


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