12th National Workshop on mental retardation

The 12th National Workshop was held between 20th - 21st of November 2015.

MNC has been conducting National level workshops in the domain of Early Intervention in Mental Retardation since the year 2004. The objectives are to provide a platform for rehabilitation professionals from across the country to share their experiences and knowledge of new developments in this area.

The theme of this year’s workshop was “Preparing for Holistic Inclusion through Early Intervention in Mental Retardation and Associated Disabilities.” The 12th National workshop began with an invocation by the Special Educators of MNC and the traditional lighting of the kuthuvilaku. Mr. S Krishnan, Advisor - MNC, welcomed the gathering. After the welcome speech we had a lovely welcome dance presented by the children of MNC for the patriotic song ‘ Badthe Kadam”. This was choreographed by Mrs. Nivedita of RASA – Centre for Theater Arts and Special Needs, Chennai.

In order to assess its social impact and to check whether MNC’s activities were in line with its Vision of providing early intervention for young children with mental disabilities, MNC drafted its social accounts and has successfully completed two cycles of Social accounts for the period 2008-2009 and 2011-2012. The Social Accounts of the Center for the year 2013-15 was released next, by the Chief Guest Dr. K Manivasan, IAS, Commissioner for the Differently Abled, Government of Tamilnadu and the first copy was received by Mr. N Kumar, VP – Sanmar Group, Chennai.

Prof P Jeyachandran enlightened the audience with the overview of the two day workshop, and the benefits which accrue from it to all the stakeholders. He stressed the importance of Inclusion and the need to understand the modalities of Inclusion into the community in general and not into mainstream schools alone. The workshop was attended by 150 participants including delegates on both days, mainly Special Educators, Therapists and Rehabilitation professionals from different parts of the country, medical and paramedical practitioners, and special invitees. Each day saw two sessions. The topics of the presentations included “Ingredients for successful Inclusion in Preschools”, “Role of Government as a model in making inclusion happen”, “Inclusion in Early Years in Mainstream School – Making it Happen”. MNC Special Educators presented an insight into “Implementation of Early Intervention Programs towards Holistic Inclusion – An Experience.” Every presentation was an eye opener for the audience with in-depth analysis and suggestions for successful inclusion.

The event concluded the second day with a valedictory ceremony. The valedictory address was given by Shri S K Srivastava, Member Secretary, Rehabilitation Council of India. Mrs. Jaya Krishnaswamy, Director, MNC welcomed everyone to the valedictory ceremony and spelt out the outcomes of the Workshop in detail. Mrs. Andal Raghavan, Director - MNC proposed the vote of thanks and the curtains came down.

  • Anindita Mukherjee, M.Sc, has done a Certificate course in curriculum development from Perkins School for Blind, Perkins International, Boston USA. She is presently the Deputy Head of the Student Success Program at Oberoi International School, Mumbai. Her journey in the field of Early Intervention started in MNC in 2004. She has taken up different roles as a teacher and a trainer in course of time and presented papers on National and International platforms. She is a member of IB working group on developing Inclusive practices in IB schools worldwide.
  • Ms. Sheilaja Rao, M.A, M.Ed graduated in Social work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and Special Education fromk UK. Currently she is Head of Department of Special Education, National Institute for Mentally Handicapped Persons, Secunderabad. She has conttributed extensively to the development of an early intervention tool “Aarambh” and is an acitivist for the movement of inclusion and rights and empowerment of persons with disabilities.
  • Dr. Usha Grover, M.A, M.Ed, PhD was working as officer In charge and Lecturer Special Education at the National Institute for Mentally Handicapped, Regional Center New Delhi till July 2014. At present she is working as Director at Ananth Centre for Learning and Development, which is a special school and vocational training centre for individual having developmental disability. Besides training in Intellectual disability she is a certified guidance counselor and has also undertaken a certificate course in learning disability. She is a member of the expert committee of RCI in the area of Mental Retardation. She has contributed towards writing instruction material for teacher training courses such D.Ed(MR), B.Ed(MR) and Post Graduate courses. She has to her credit a book titled ‘Play Fun & Learn’.
  • Ms. K Usharani.,M.A. B.Ed is currently Deputy Director - Education & Training, Association of Persons with Disabilities, Bangalore. A passionate teacher and linguist Ms. Usharani can speak six Indian languages Kannada, Telegu, Tamil, Malyalam, Hindi and Oriya. From a teacher she has moved on and now heads all the Educational and livelihood programs of APD. She has been a part of many initiatives across the state of Karnataka for the education of the disabled. She was the resource person for SSA and has helped them in preparing resources for teaching the deaf and other disabled children. She has mentored and coached 2500 mainstream school teachers and 20 NGO partners in inclusive education mainly deaf education.
  • Dr. Jayanthi Narayan, M.A., M.S, Ph.D,- Graduated with M.S. in Special education (Learning disabilities and mental retardation) from State University of NewYork, M.A. in Distance Education and Ph.D. from India and Post Doc with Fulbright senior research Fellowship from Boston College, Massachusetts.  She has worked as head of the department of Special education at NIMH for 19 years and as Deputy Director of the Institute for 4 years. For close to three decades Dr. Jayanthi Narayan has been the embodiment of the country's efforts to reach out to the special children, those with learning, intellectual disabilities and mental retardation. As the founder head of the Department of Special Education at the National Institute of Mentally Handicapped (NIMH),Dr. Narayan in her near two-decade career was involved in setting up a lab school, developing curricula for diploma, degree, post-graduate and later research besides handling cases and holding counseling sessions for parents in addition to helping draft policy decisions. She is also doing special screening pilot programme for disabled under the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP).
  • Ms. Sabita Upreti , M.A in Sociology and Anthropology started her career as a teacher and has taught in mainstream schools for about 7 years. She entered the disability field in 2007. She worked in Social welfare Council National Disabled Fund as a Center Management Officer (CMO) the organization which was supported by Handicap International. Inspired by the good work being done here and seeing the happy faces of the disabled she realized the need for a special school in Nepal for children with Autism. She founded Special Education and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children (SERC)in Kathmandu-Baluwaatar with her friend in October 2009 with her own resources. She founded the Special school for Disabled and Rehabilitation Center (SSDRC) in Old Sinamangal Kathmandu, Nepal in 2010 October and is the full time Chief Executive Director /Principal.
  • Ms. Mythily Chari, M.Ed., Ed.S completed Masters in Education from University of Florida in 1988 and Education Specialist Degree from the same University in 1998. She has certification in TEACCH, (Univ. North Carolina) Learning Disabilities (Univ of Kansas) and Positive Behavioral Support (Univ of Florida). Mythily is the founder of Institute for Remedial Intervention Services (IRIS) Chennai, and is the Vice President(South Zone) of Autism Society of India. She has authored two books “Autism Diagnosis and After” and   "Educational Management of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders".  

Experts and eminent persons from India in the various areas covered, rehabilitation professionals, public opinion makers, advocacy groups, parents/parents associations, funding agencies and the public participated in the conference. They numbered about 150.

Held on - 20th - 21st November, 2015
At : Pastoral Centre, Mylapore, Chennai - 600004

  • In service training for Special Educators across disabilities in addition to their own area of speciality with periodic updating, Refresher Workshops, to coordinate with the mainstream teachers and understand the challenges faced by them in their work area - the inclusive settings.
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) - National exercise required to bring in a comprehensive curriculum of adapted lessons at the primary levels, unique to the requirements of each state, according to their respective socio cultural needs, that accommodates the child with the least ability into the classroom and in preparation for job skills.
  • School readiness programme - Field tested and proven packages to be used towards creating the environment for an Inclusive Early Childhood Education set up.
  • The expertise of the professionals in their respective specialities that of special educators and mainstream teachers to be used in Curriculum Planning and Implementation techniques, in mainstream education.
  • Focus on Social Inclusion in all aspects of Community living. Networking among Schools, NGOs, Government and the Community for sharing their experiences - Working Groups to be formed towards making social inclusion realistic.
  • Potential Employers to be sensitized in the acceptance of the skills of the persons beyond the disability.
  • Effective use of media for dissemination of information on the importance of Early Intervention, Inclusion, health & safety practices and Employment potential for person with disabilities who have had systematic and structural training in several job areas.
  • Orientation to civil and consumer facilities on inclusion and inclusive practices - Directory to be collected on school facilities, medical facilities, benefits available from government, inclusive practices in community living - leisure and recreation.
  • Above all, convergence of the various departments concerned with the health, education and disability services in avoiding duplication of services, to avail the expertise and resources of each other in the area of early childhood education in the provision of services - prevention, early detection, early intervention and vocational training of children with special needs.