Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 439-443

Profile of students referred for the assessment of scholastic backwardness at a tertiary care center

Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Smitha Ramadas
Sayujyam, Kottekad Road, Viyyur P.O, Thrissur - 680 010, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_443_18

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Background: Scholastic backwardness (SB) is a challenging problem affecting school-going children. Students seeking evaluation and certification of SB, especially in class nine and ten are on a rising trend in Kerala, the most literate state in India. However, there is a paucity of research regarding this. Objectives: The objectives of this study are to determine the clinical, sociodemographic, and academic profile of students referred with “difficulty in academics” in the psychiatry department of a government teaching hospital in Kerala. Materials and Methods: A retrospective chart review of students aged 6–16 years, referred to clinical psychologist for the structured assessment of SB, after evaluation by psychiatrists, over 1 year was done. Results: Overall, 207 students were assessed. Children aged 13–16 years were the majority (61.4%). Most of them were males (61.4%) and from rural background (81.6%). Majority (60%) was from high school and 22% of students were in class 10. Previous assessments for SB were done only in 20% of high school students. About 97% belonged to state syllabus, 90% were in Malayalam medium, and 93.3% were referred by teachers. The principal diagnosis was “slow learners” (34.8%) followed by intellectual disability (28%). About 11.6% had specific learning disorder (SLD), 15.5% had other neurodevelopmental, behavioral, and emotional disorders/problems, and 10% had no diagnosis. Conclusion: Varying degrees of intellectual impairment was the main cause of SB; majority was in high school and was never evaluated for SB. There was over-representation of class 10 students for first-ever assessment. Students with SB were identified and referred late for professional services. Those with SLD and nil diagnosis were similar in number probably reflecting an attempt to pass board exams by availing the benefits of certification. Designing curriculum and assessment to suit the differing intellectual levels of students are, therefore, recommended.



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