The 6th International Conference 2019 is a sequel to the first, second, third, fourth and the fifth International conferences held in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 respectively. As usual this year too, the National Workshop was combined with the Conference so that they were conducted in tandem. The participative Workshops were interspersed with the lectures to make the programme more interesting. The Workshops and the Conference were conducted by resource experts both from India and overseas. The Conference was inaugurated on the morning of the 7th November, at Hotel Savera. It was heartening to see that the number of registrations for the conference was over a hundred, and had a pan India representation. The dates of the Conference were Thursday 7th, Friday 8th and Saturday 9th November 2019.
The aim of the present conference was to take on the theme of the importance of Early Intervention for children with Intellectual Disability in training them towards inclusion. The theme of the conference was “Towards Inclusion : Evidence based Supportive practices in Early Intervention.”
Inclusive Education is being advocated for all children with disabilities not only in India but across the globe. Growing up with their peers in the caring schools is the right of every child. Further, each child in early years thrives when s/he is engaged in various creative and expressive activities with her peers in a caring environment. However, spelling out what works in inclusive education for early childhood and why it has not been as easy as advocating when it comes to inclusive education is the problem of the hour. MNC and BMKT are proud to host an international conference (6th in the series) specifically to address this emerging field of study. Resource persons with decades of working with children in inclusive settings come together to share their experiential wisdom. The research is documented and evidence based.
The Conference is guided by the dynamism of Prof Jeyachandran and Mrs. Jaya Krishnaswamy. There are scientific sessions from India : Dr. Sumantra Chatterji of National Centre for Biological Sciences will share new insights from recordings in human cells and Dr. Namita Jacob of Chetana Trust will present developmentally appropriate interventions for young children with Visual Processing Disorder. Prof Camille Cattlett, (Advanced Technical Assistant Specialist Emerita, University of North Carolina's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute) will lead the first day with her session on 12 evidence-based practices for inclusion and follow up with a workshop on use of visual strategies. Dr. Petra Kern and Mr. Anil Srinivasan, Founder of Rhapsody Music Education P Ltd, elucidate music therapy practices for young children.
Day 2 is dedicated to healthy relationships and life skills through use of organized outing, play, theatre arts and drama. Dr. Anne Stewart, Professor of Graduate Psychology at James Madison University and a licensed clinical psychologist, runs a session on the power of play in forming healthy relationships. MNC’s own team will present the benefits accrued by children during organized outings. Dr. Ambika Kameshwar of RASA and Mr. Dushyant Gunashekar of CreaShakti articulate how theatre arts and drama stimulate holistic development.
Prof V R P Sheilaja Rao, Dr. Kalpana Gowrishankar of Child Trust Hospital and Mrs. Sujatha Vijayaraghavan, Ms. Dipti Karnad of Clarke School, and Ms. Jyotsna Narayanan, Bharath Natyam exponent will bring their expertise to mediate the interactions between delegates and resource persons.
The Conference is aimed at practitioners of early intervention and inclusive education from across the country. With their participation and feedback, we hope to create informed conversations and enlightened practices that will nurture children through their unique developmental trajectories to become productive and self-confident citizens of our society.
Every conference leads to more learning, with interaction between people, professionals and experts. Awareness of Inclusion and its importance is still inadequate among parents, care givers and even among professionals. Therefore an annual workshop is a platform to encourage knowledge sharing between people at grassroots level and experts from various related fields, to help update their skills and knowledge, networking etc. to set them thinking and maybe innovating. It also helps to change people’s outlook towards the importance of early intervention. Even experts have a chance to see for themselves how the theory gets implemented at the grassroots and the need for developing new services and research studies.
This time the focus was on “Inclusion”. There were three workshops on Inclusion. The participants had a feast on various presentations on the subject and had interactive sessions with the resource persons. They voiced their concerns and doubts and even asked solutions for their problems.
Apart from the proceedings at the Conference the other events in the orbit included :