The Centre for Disability Studies and Action, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; the Springdale School, Pusa Road, New Delhi and the Brotherhood, Delhi have been organising National / International Conferences on Inclusive Education.  The purpose is to promote Inclusive education based on researches, evidence based practices, innovations & inventions and use of ICT and Assistive Technologies being generated by practitioners working in inclusive settings.

Seven national conferences (one each at TISS Mumbai, Goa, Delhi, Patiala, Baroda, Shimla and Bangalore) and one international conference (TISS Mumbai) have already been organised in a span of 30 months.  Approximately 150 papers were presented by the practitioners from India and other countries.  Based on these papers four books with ISBN have been published.  Thus, this conference is not an event, but it is a process and a platform for learning and sharing.

The overall aims of such conferences are to

  • get an opportunity to share and disseminate ideas, research findings, academic approaches, field-level experiences, evidence based practices and innovation & inventions in inclusive education from different parts of India and other countries creating a sharing community to feel all children safe and secure in the classroom
  • reach out to all professionals globally and bring all to a common platform sharing the work with each other to learn from each other
  • share the work done by all professionals with each other by publishing the papers (with ISBN) presented by participants (Four books have already been published)
  • To develop Professional Development Programme for all educators on Learning Disability and Autism initially

The following conferences have been organized till date:

January 23- 25, 2017

First National Shift in Inclusive Schooling was organized in the Library Conference Hall of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Mumbai.  The conference was jointly organized by CDSA of TISS Mumbai, NABET of QCI, Delhi and Brotherhood, Delhi at TISS Mumbai from 23-25 January 2017 to share Quality Indicators on Inclusive Education. Prof, Parsuraman, Director TISS and Prof. N K Jangira, Team Leader, School Inclusive Education Development Initiative (SIEDI) inaugurated the Conference. Prof, Sandhya Limaye, Prof. Srilatha, Juvva, and Mr. Satish Kapoor jointly coordinated the conference. Ms. Simmy Sharma was the technical expert. It was attended by 90 participants from India and UK. 43 papers were presented on best inclusive education practices from rural and urban individuals and educational institutions.

Award winning films of We Care Film Festival were also screened.

26-29 June 2017,

Goa hosted a Second four-day National Conference on Paradigm Shift in Inclusive Education at Conference Hall, EDC Limited, 5th Floor, “EDC House”, Dr. A.B Road, Panaji, Goa in collaboration with Disability Rights Association, Goa. Approximately 50 participants participated and presented paper on various themes on Inclusive Education from 14 states of India in addition to participants from Muscat.

There were many important points that were raised at the conference. However, for inclusiveness in society, we should stop giving tags like differently abled or normal. For government support the differently abled or persons with disability is fine. But overall, society at large should stop naming people because from naming comes shaming.

For true inclusive education, there has to be confluence of minds and hearts. There has to be platforms where specially abled and other children interact and play with each other to become more sensitive towards the formers, needs. Parents of both categories of children must spend time with each other and learn from experiences. The society at large has a lot to learn from the parents/care givers of specially abled children. In the conference we did a report on a child who sat up for the first time in 11 years. This itself was a joyous moment for the parents after an agonising wait for a decade. Many other parents won’t even realise how much patience the parents of this girl had, the pain they absorbed.

Teachers also have to learn from special educators – their patience in dealing with these children and the care that they take. Today’s education system has become highly commercialised and classes are packed with students. Teachers are not interested in taking care of slow learners or hyperactive children. Today education system is prospectus driven and not passion driven. Today every third child is hyperactive, there are more autistic kids, kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. With deteriorating environment, children with such disorders are going to increase in future. How many children can schools afford to deny admission or not pay special attention to their development? There will be a time when every teacher will have to be a special educator. Last but not the least, the specially abled people need our empathy, not sympathy. They need our care and opportunities to grow.

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