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January 24, 2006

Meet on education of hearing impaired

From: Hindu, India - Jan 24, 2006

Tamil Nadu - Chennai
Meet on education of hearing impaired
Staff Reporter

The role of special educators and technological advancements will be discussed

CHENNAI: Over 500 experts in the field of special education for the hearing impaired will discuss early intervention and higher education for children with hearing impairment at a three-day national conference, which began here on Monday.

Organised by the Tamil Nadu chapter of the National Convention of Educators of the Deaf (NCED), the conference is being held at Dr. MGR Janaki College for Women, R.A. Puram.

The idea behind the annual conference is providing a common platform for special educators from around the country to share methods, swap ideas, discuss the primary challenges in the field and come up with recommendations. The theme this year is `Different Models in Early Intervention and Higher Education of Persons with Hearing Impairment.'

J.P. Singh, member-secretary, Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), who was the chief guest, said the participants needed to work out plans on how to reach different parts of the country, make use of the human resources available in this field and come up with a strategy to involve society in the education of hearing impaired children. He also brought up issues that needed to be considered.

He said the field lacks medical personnel such as audiologists and speech pathologists. "Special schools only have special educators, so should they be medically trained or are there other alternatives available," asked Dr. Singh. He requested the gathering to pass on their recommendations through him to the RCI. Another problem area, according to him, is that special educators rarely get qualifications beyond a diploma. At the most, they go on to a B.Ed or an M.Ed but there are no Ph.Ds among the special educators for the deaf, he added.

Rita Mary, NCED-TN, said since the year of the disabled in 1981, there has been a vast improvement. Previously, deaf children began their education at six years but now early intervention begins at birth, Sr Rita Mary pointed out.

She said it was important for them to discuss strategies to involve parents and sibling of the hearing impaired child and build networks with hospitals and nursing homes where screening of all newborns should take place.

N. Rathna, former director, All India Institute of Speech and Hearing and AliYavar Jung of the National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped and ENT surgeon S. Kameswaran will participate in the conference.

The second session, `Quality Assurance in Education of Children with Hearing Impairment' begins on Tuesday at the same venue, 2 p.m.

Chief Commissioner Disabilities, Government of India,Manoj Kumar will participate.

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