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International Conference on Mental Retardation emphasizes rights of the child
At the Third International Conference on Early Intervention in Mental Retardation in Chennai, over 100 delegates in the fields of special education, research and medicine discussed issues such as policy on the rights of the child with disabilities.
The inaugural ceremony began with a quick presentation by children of the Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children in Chennai – the organizers of the conference. Four-year-old Ajay (name changed) was part of the dance “Vanavillin Varnajaalangal”
Two out of 100 children suffer various degrees of mental disabilities – ignorance, rejection or helplessness from family does not help. For these children, early intervention, can help them receive skills to communicate better to the world around them and perhaps even mainstream like Ajay.
Prof George Baroff from North Carolina, USA who has dedicated a lifetime’s research on management of mental disabilities spoke about how systematic research and early intervention are crucial to helping children cope with their life ahead.
Mrs Jaya Krishnaswamy, Director, Madhuram Narayanan Centre stressed on how technology has helped them assist children. “The Upanayan tool that we have created and used for the past 20 years has shown great results as a result of which over 4000 children have entered the mainstream.”
Thiru S S Jawahar recalled the great strides that have been made in recent years in children and development. “It is no more a concession to provide special facilities and support systems; it is now becoming a right. There is also greater political will to implement policy and expand the outreach services.”
“When we first researched the subject over two decades ago, it was a new area”, said Mr N Kumar, Vice-Chairman, Sanmar Group. “Now, what everyone should talk about is inclusion. We want to see more and more parents recognizing the needs of their children and getting the special focus for skills they so badly need. We hope this dream of inclusion would become a reality very soon”.
Sixteen children and their parents performed to a music specially composed and choreographed for the children showcasing the months of hard work that had been put in for this effort. A video CD on the Madhuram Naryanan Centre was also released on the occasion.
For further information, contact Mr Krishnan, Advisor, Madhuram Narayanan Centre – 9940659148; www.mncindia.org