Special Care Centers for Mentally Challenged

Special Care Centers  for Mentally ChallengedSpecial Care Centers  for Mentally Challenged

The Rehabilitation Office of the State Welfare Organization is planning to set up 45 special care houses for the moderately and mildly-disabled people in 25 provinces by the end of the current fiscal in March 2018.

According to the director general of the office, specialty care will be provided to those with borderline intellectual functioning and mild intellectual disability.

“The houses will offer specialized services to the target group in accordance with their state of disability and severity,” Ramin Rezaei was quoted by IRNA as saying on Wednesday.

Borderline intellectual functioning, also called borderline mental disability, is a categorization of intelligence wherein a person has below average cognitive ability (generally an IQ of 70–85), but the deficit is not as severe as intellectual disability (below 70). It is sometimes called below average IQ (BAIQ).

Over 1,000 people in this category are currently supported by the SWO at 24/7 centers across the country apart from those with severe and extremely severe intellectual disabilities who number around 1.3 million (36% women and 64% men).

Earlier Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashmi had stressed that rehabilitation services today go beyond the traditional definition of specialized healthcare and extends to improving, maintaining or restoring physical strength, cognition and mobility.

“Rehabilitation entails a myriad of aspects including psychological, social, and vocational for people with disabilities,” he had said in a message on the occasion of the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) last December.

The 45 specialty care houses will have “warm and convivial environments” making the target group feel at home and inspiring them to attend to their education, take on skills training, and venture into social engagements.

Rezaei said by establishing such centers, the SWO intends to provide equal opportunities for the mentally challenged and people with intellectual disability in all social, educational, professional arenas, and encourage and empower them to build a life, settle down, and start a family.

Each of the 45 care centers will operate with a 10 staff at the start in cooperation with the private sector.

  Challenges to Overcome

People with disabilities are among the most marginalized groups in the world. They have poorer health outcomes, lower education achievements, less economic participation and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities.

The barriers can be overcome, if governments, nongovernmental organizations, professionals and people with disabilities and their families work together. Rehabilitation can help them maximize functioning and gain more independence.

The president of the Iranian Handicapped Neda Association (IHNA) in a talk with ILNA earlier had voiced concern over the lack of attention to the mentally disabled, saying that the work done by the SWO for people with mental and intellectual disabilities “is grossly inadequate,” and regretted “the least amount of care” for these people.

He also lamented academic deprivation of the mentally disabled and noted that “those with mild intellectual disabilities are deprived of education while many are capable of learning.”

Not getting a job is another challenge for persons with mental disabilities. The mentally disabled are capable of doing some types of work and education will improve their job prospects.

The Technical and Vocational Training Organization launched a program for the first time in 2015 to train the mentally disabled to prepare them for jobs.

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