The resource persons at the seminar
October was an exciting month for us as we had the opportunity to conduct an International Seminar on Learning Disability on the 26thand 27thOctober 2018. The seminar was organized to bring a better understanding of learning disabilities in parents, special educators and mainstream school teachers with an objective to improve support for individuals with learning disabilities. We hosted three resource persons from Malta and one from Chennai.
The seminar was attended by 80 people comprising 20 parents from ASHA and the remaining were students studying to become special educators and mainstream school teachers as well as special educators.
Mr. Edward Fenech from Malta who has started a dyslexia awareness program in Tamil Nadu. He spoke about his experience as a dyslexic and how the right support could have made his childhood fun and learning in school less stressful. He spoke about what skills to focus on; and to rely on one’s strengths to lead a productive life. He briefly spoke about the types of supports that can be offered in school and at home by parents.
The second session was conducted by Dr. Maria F. Josephine, Founder of Maria Special Education Services, Chennai who spoke on the Indian scenario of learning disability. She spoke of her personal experience involving her daughter – an individual with special needs and the availability of services in India and comparing it with other countries.
Dr. Ruth Falzon, a professor from the University of Malta spoke about the challenges in the identification of learning disability and various tools. She highlighted some important techniques to go about identifying learning disabilities in children. She showed and explained tools used in Malta to identify learning disabilities.
Dr. Dione Mifsud, a professor from the University of Malta explained how to go about counselling for learning disability. He spoke about setting expectations, goals and working towards them and improving the quality of life of a child with learning disability.
A panel discussion took place with Dr. Dione, Dr. Ruth, Mr. Edward, Dr. Maria and Ms. Jayashree Ramesh, Director – Academy for Severe Handicaps and Autism. The topic was on ‘the road ahead for learning disability’. Ms. Jayashree highlighted what may be the steps ahead for creating support for learning disability in India. Dr. Maria and Mr. Edward spoke about how training teachers and awareness is the first important step.
We received good feedback from the participants. They felt the seminar to be well organised, resource persons were approachable and look forward to more such workshops. The first hand account of Mr. Edward was appreciated by many participants.
Lighting of the lamp
Mr. Edward Fenech sharing his experience
Dr. Ruth Falzon
Dr. Maria speaking on the Indian scenario
Participants at the seminar