Delhi: Changing educational landscape, increased awareness and use of better diagnostic tools is leading to rise in identification and diagnosis of learning disability issues in children, aver experts during a Faculty Development Programme (FDP) on “Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)” – Assessment, Management and Challenges at Amity University.
The two-day program was jointly organized by Amity Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences (AIRS) & Amity Academic Staff College (AASC) to commemorate the ‘International Week of Person’s with Disabilities’ from December 3, 2020 – December 10, 2020. The insightful programme saw participation of faculty members and speakers from India, Spain, Dubai and United Kingdom in 10 sessions spread across two days.
Prof. (Dr.) Balvinder Shukla, Vice Chancellor, AUUP averred how the pathbreaking work by Dr. J P Singh has been instrumental in shaping the growth and attention given to this segment. She called for the need to be educated, trained & developed to understand the needs of people with special abilities. She added that specific learning disabilities need to be understood early by parents & awareness needs to be created in the society to provide right kind of support for better development of these children.
Dr. JP Singh (Special Invitee) Former Member Secretary, Rehabilitation Council of India and Former Chairman, AFDD shared that the field of learning disabilities needs to grow. He added that efforts are needed to reach to the rural areas to educate parents about the difficulties faced by students with specific learning disabilities. He stated that the deliberation in the two-day program will look to identify more country specific challenges and solutions in this field to develop programs catering to the precise needs of students.
Sharing her views on Specific Learning Disabilities: ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’, also the theme of ‘International Week of Person’s with Disabilities’ this year, Dr. Geet Oberoi, Founder and President, Orkids Foundation, New Delhi stated that there is a need for similar sessions to be organized more frequently because disability may be invisible, but the child is not. She added that children with SLD are getting affected with the cracks in the system and getting invisible. She further shared that over the years and most recently with the NEP, SLD is getting more attention & being addressed in a better manner. Dr. Oberoi also shared about ‘first screen’, a screening app developed by Orkids for Specific Learning Disabilities and related concerns. She shared major challenges in SLD in Indian scenario includes no screening tool available in early years; lack of awareness about SLD among teachers and parents; lack of accountability especially viz schools and lack of trained professionals.
Ms. Suzanne Rodricks Vice Principal Clarion School Dubai, U.A.E gave her views on ‘Best Practices for Children with Specific Learning Disabilities: Strategies & Approaches’. She shared the vision of nurturing each student’s potential by considering the child as the centre of the learning process. She also added the importance of active role of the teachers and students in setting targets and achieving the goals.
The fourth plenary session was delivered by Dr. Maria Reraki, Programme Leader at Department of Disability Inclusion & Special Needs, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom on ‘Dyslexia- Friendly Environment’. She introduced a friendly inclusive environment for dyslexic learners by explaining the paradigm shift. She touched upon levels of designing dyslexic friendly environment by assimilating different approaches. She briefly elucidated the examples of differentiation to promote effective learning by facilitating a healthy classroom environment.
Dr. W. Selvamurthy, President ASTIF, Chair Professor for Life Sciences & Chancellor, Amity University, Chhattisgarh congratulated the organizers and participants for the enlightening FDP. He added that inclusive growth and sustainable development is being followed by AIRS that is an integral mission of Amity.
Prof. (Dr.) Jayanti Pujari Director, AIRS & Dean, Rehabilitation Sciences welcomed the guests and shared the aim of the institute was to create successful and knowledgeable individuals who will serve the society. She also shared her views on ‘Recent Developments and Changes in the field of Specific Learning Disability’ and added that not all disabilities are visible including specific learning disabilities. She shared that dyslexia is caused when the learning abilities go out of balance due to defective genes and brain function with over reliance on one area of brain to process words & information. She called for a need to develop more diagnostic tools for identifying children with learning disabilities.
Participants in the program included Educators (Special Educators, General Educators and Rehabilitation Professionals) that engaged in the educational settings across various levels including higher education. They provided an overview of various challenges faced by students with Learning Disability including assessment, management, and intervention techniques. Efforts were also made to highlight evidence-based practices and recent researches happening across the globe to promote effective intervention in every classroom in both schools and institutions of Higher Education.
The speakers during the two-day programme included Prof. (Dr.) Venkateshwarlu Director School of Education, IGNOU, New Delhi; Prof. (Dr.) Jayanthi Narayan Visiting Professor University of Northampton, U.K & Former Director- NIEPID; Ms. Yvonne Dalorto Literacy Consultant & Teacher Trainer British School, United Kingdom among others.
Sessions were organized on themes including ‘Best Practices for Children with Specific Learning Disabilities: Strategies & Approaches’; ‘Dyslexia- Friendly Environments?’; ‘Managing Children with Learning Difficulties’; ‘Specific Learning Disabilities: Meta-Cognitive Strategies’ among others.