Three of us from the Association of People with Disability (APD) participated in the National Conference on Inclusive Education (NCIE) and technology (NCIE-2018) organized by Thapar Institute of Technology, Patiala, Punjab, in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Mumbai, and Brotherhood, Delhi from Aug 16-18, 2018.
We shared our best practices in the national conference and it was well received by the participants and chairpersons of the session – all from different organizations working in the disability sector across India, faculty and research students of Thapar University and other research scholars.
NCIE provided a great opportunity to meet professionals, make connections, and most importantly learn from their experiences. The presenters were from all over the country and Oman. We found each presentation had its own value.
Most importantly, we came to know that teaching and learning in an inclusive setup have wider perspectives of issues and challenges and how to tackle them and move forward in the path of success. We learnt about different innovations and investigations in the field of disability.
We also shared our best practices by presenting two papers.
Abstract Paper-1: Model School Program, a Successful Inclusive Education Model in Karnataka
Mr Kantharaju, Program Coordinator – Education Training, APD, Bangalore,
Mr Janardhana.A.L, Assistant Director – Education and Mental Health Program, APD – Bangalore
Abstract Paper-2: Effective Implementation of Technology at Shradhanjali Integrated School
Ms Athulya.S, Computer Teacher, Shradhanjali Integrated School, and
Mr Kantharaju, Program Coordinator – Education Training, APD, Bangalore
We also learned about technology development and its usage in the disability sector – sign language application, text to speech app, etc. In fact, there is a solution from through Thapar University called the Sanket India app.
We connected with organizations in North India and explored collaboration with Thapar University to develop a sign language application in the Kannada language. We learned about a wide range of issues focusing on diversified areas covering academics, alternative assessment, learning outcomes and teaching effectiveness, ICT in Education, critical thinking, rehabilitation, therapy and psychological intervention, teacher professional development, trends and research in the field of disability and inclusive education.
We met many reputed professionals including Dr Indrajith Kaur, Ms Sandhya Limaye, Mr Satish Kapoor, Dr Shobha, Dr Suparna Sanyal Mukherjee and many more.
For us, it was a great networking event where we met like-minded people from all over the country for the first time and exchanged our experiences with them.
In addition to the presentations and keynote speeches, we also visited organizations working in the disability sector in Amritsar and Chandigarh.
We visited “All India Pingalwara Society” Amritsar and met Padmabhushana awardee, Dr Indrajit Kaur, Director of Pingalwara Charitable Trust. They are offering wonderful services to children with severe disability as well as home care for orphans.
We visited Spring Dale Senior School located in Amritsar, met Mr Rajeev Kumar Sharma, Principal of the school. He was enthusiastic about implementing inclusive education in the school. There are 60 children with disabilities in the school currently.
We visited the well-developed Chandigarh Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Center and met Ms Nicky Kaur, its Founder and CEO.
We had a meeting with Mr Arun Khanna, Chairman of Global Institute of Childhood Disability (GICD) and Mrs Prerana Khanna, special educator. They have a big network of medical professionals that they use to conduct health-related programs. They also have strong parents federation to advocate and get facilities from the government.
In conclusion, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Mrs Christy Abraham, CEO of APD, and Mrs Subhashini, ex-Director – HR, APD Bangalore, senior leaders and management for the opportunity to participate in an event like this. We are looking forward to learning more and applying the learning.