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Boy silences doubters
Dyslexic scores 80% in boards

Subhang Rathi (right) and his mentor Raajeev Bhatt

New Delhi, May 30: Subhang Rathi, 17, was waiting for the day when no one in his school or neighbourhood would be able to look down on him any more for being dyslexic.

That day arrived yesterday, when the Central Board of Secondary Education published its Class XII results. Subhang has scored over 80 per cent.

The 2007 Bollywood film Taare Zameen Par has made it known widely that dyslexic children find it difficult to read fluently and understand the written word accurately even if they have normal or even above-average intelligence.

Subhang, who studies at Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj, said some of his classmates and a few neighbourhood children would often taunt him. His scores in school tended to be average — between 60 and 70 per cent.

“I had gone to my school just two weeks ago. A teacher told me that I would not be able to pass the exam. I felt bad,” he said.

After the results were announced, the first thing his mother Shobha did was call up the teacher and tell her Subhang’s score.

“When I told her my son had secured more than 80 per cent, she did not believe me at first,” Shobha said.

Subhang’s subjects were English, geography, fine arts, fashion designing and physical education. He secured 80.4 per cent overall and 88 per cent in geography.

He now wants to do a course in hotel management and later open a restaurant in Delhi. “I love cooking. I can cook many Chinese and Continental dishes,” he said.

Subhang’s father is employed in the export business and his sister is a law graduate. It was Shobha, a homemaker, who detected the problem in 2006 when Subhang was a Class IV student.

“I realised that my son was unable to concentrate on any activity. After a check-up, we realised he had dyslexia,” she said.

Shobha approached the Action Dyslexia Beyond Education (ADBE), an NGO in south Delhi that has a team of experts to help dyslexic children improve their academic performance.

Raajeev Bhatt, the director of ADBE, said the NGO had prepared educational audio-visual aids for dyslexic children. As these children can concentrate on their studies only for short periods, the trainers teach them a few special memorising techniques.

Bhatt, who has become a mentor of sorts for Subhang, said no dyslexic child he had helped had ever before scored 80 per cent. The CBSE couldn’t confirm if this was a record for its dyslexic students.

Whether a dyslexic child goes to an ordinary school or to one meant for special children depends on the severity of their condition.

Bhatt said most Indian schools were not equipped to handle dyslexic children although the Right To Education Act says schools should have the facilities to help all special children.

For Shobha, though, all that now lies in the past. “Our eight years of struggle has paid off,” she said.