Amity University confers Honorary Professorship upon Mr. Simon Koh, President and Managing Director, Special Olympics Asia Pacific during an International Conference

New Delhi: Amity School of Physical Education & Sports Sciences (ASPESS) and Amity Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences (AIRS) in collaboration with Special Olympics Bharat & Special Olympics Asia Pacific organize an International Conference on “Early Childhood Development for Children with Intellectual Disabilities- 2019” at University Campus, Sector 125 Noida.

The two day International Conference aims to bring together all the stakeholders to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Early Childhood Development.

Dr. Kalpana Sharma, Dean Faculty of Education & Director ASPESS informed that this conference is an outcome of the international project on “Impact evaluation of Special Olympics’ Young Athletes and Child Development programme in India” and the objective is to provide an interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and deliberate upon the most recent innovations, trends and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of Early Childhood Education.

During the occasion, Dr. (Prof.) Balvinder Shukla, Vice Chancellor, Amity University Uttar Pradesh conferred the Honorary Professorship upon Mr. Simon Koh, President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific Region, Special Olympics Asia Pacific.

Mr. Simon Koh expressed his gratitude for bestowing the honor upon him. He addressed the gathering apprising about the importance of early identification and intervention for special children so that they can be treated and raised with systematic interventions. He emphasized upon the four P’s for intervention that are Policies, Practitioners, Parents and Participants to create an meaningful impact. He opined to have strategic partnerships with one another, especially with educational institutions so that young minds can volunteer and take the mission of Special Olympics forward, which is about helping disabled children through sports.

Mr. Koh mentioned that parents recognize that there is still a gap in creating an inclusive environment, he suggested that the solution is to educate and train the parents or create roles so that they can have substantial engagement within the initiative. He called for the support of Government officials to comprehend the challenges and develop programmes that will aid in creating awareness about identifying intellectual disability in children.

Ms. Foroogh Foyouzat, Deputy Representative, UNICEF talked about early childhood development and said that 90 percent of the child’s brain is developed by the age of 5. The first thousand days of a child, right from the time of conceiving till first two years, are the most significant for development and it is the right of a child to develop to his or her full potential. Underlining the role of parents, she mentioned that parents need to be educated and counselled to detect the early warning signs of developmental delay in children and furthermore, are able to interact with them for a proper simulation and care. “It is critical for parents to realize that the children not only learn through formal education but mainly through playful activities. Even basic actions such as hug, cuddle, lullaby, story-telling, playing games etc help in cognitive and emotional development of children.” she remarked.

Ms. Foyouzat stressed that the intervention needs to be focused on creating age and developmentally appropriate curriculum for age 0 to 6 years. Parents also need to be made aware about developmental appropriate learning.

The conference witnessed the participation of more than 300 delegates from International Organizations and various domains including special education, physical education, education, rehabilitation, clinical psychologists etc from across the globe.

The keynote speakers will deliberate upon various topics related to conference’s theme including Impact of Social-Emotional Learning, Adapted Physical Education, Sports & Motor Activity, Role of Family /school/community – Partner, Global Research Findings on ECD, School Readiness: Opening doors for Inclusive Education and Healthy Childhood Development – Best Practices amongst others.