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Arunima Maharshi

IWB Blogger

Deepak Kalra Of Umang Comments On Uterus Removal In Teen Girls With Developmental Disorders

  • IWB Post
  •  October 11, 2017

Puberty is as normal a body function in the specially-abled children as it is for the typically developed children, and so is menstruation. Both need to be taught about ‘why it happens, how it happens, and the ways to manage’. But since their comprehensive abilities differ, so do corresponding difficulties, and the teaching methods.

As a part of ‘Mind Your Head’ Campaign, IWB seeks and wishes to promote free dialogue on the various mental health issues that are stigmatized by the society. Menstruation and Developmental Disorders being the two topics that often remain untouched.

To learn more about the menstrual-challenges faced by young women with learning and other developmental disabilities, IWB spoke to Ms. Deepak Kalra, Director of Umang, a School dedicated to providing a better quality of life to children with multiple disabilities, in Jaipur.

“Explaining Menstruation and teaching how to manage Periods, are the two basic levels of Menstrual Health Education,” says Deepak. An expert trained in India and overseas with more than 27 years of experience in the field of disability, she has headed numerous projects of national repute. Deepak’s motivation, commitment, and inspiration to work for the cause are drawn from her personal experiences as a mother of a child with cerebral palsy.

Umang currently has 262 students enrolled and based on the nature of their disability and comprehensive ability, they are educated and upskilled. “We conduct separate sex education classes for boys and girls, I take the sessions with girls, and boys are trained by male educators.” The special Menstrual Health classes are also conducted by Deepak herself, and she usually schedules them at the time when a particular group of girls reaches the age of 11-12. She talks to them about the uterus referring to it as Baby Bag.

“We all have a baby bag, and that bag has baby food in the form of blood in it, but if no baby is found, the unused food has to come out, no?” Deepak narrated to us in the way she interacts with the innocent young girls. She also shared the queries they come up with regarding the baby, “They’d ask where the baby comes from, to the little ones I explain using their parents’ example, but those who can understand better, I go ahead with the actual process.”

It is through conditioning that they train the girls about sanitary pads, the way to use and change them. But children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are often hypersensitive to touch, and hence face more difficulties. “There was a little girl, who was so sensitive to touch that she could not even bear the presence of a pad on her panty. And once it would get wet, her discomfort would reach to the level, that unaware she would just remove the panty and throw away.”

Such situations, and cases in which girls suffer from acute menstrual pain, extreme heavy flow, or develop fibroids, often make parents take severe measures, of removal of the uterus. “It is not permissible by the law, and I am not commenting on whether it is a desirable step or not. If any girl develops a complicated menstrual problem, it is the parents and concerned doctor that takes a decision, the school doesn’t have a say.”

She further said, “We wish the best for the children, and in regard to the same, I have studied that if the uterus-removal surgery is carried off carefully, such that the ovaries remain untouched, the eggs can still undergo fertilization naturally, and the child can live unaffected.”

But the fact that uninformed parents are found to be taking advantage of the uterus-removal possibility, in the plight to do away with the sanitation problems, or as a precaution to avoid the shame of getting impregnated if the girl is molested, poses a serious problem, and a big question!

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