Bhopal: A conference on co-morbid factors in Learning disability was organized by Alpha to Omega learning centre at the Taj Gateway Hotel, Chennai.
For those who are in this field, the annual conference organized by Alpha to Omega, Chennai, is a pioneering effort. Under the able guidance of smt. Lalitha L. Ramanujan and the trustees of this organization, a lot has been done to educate trainers and parents in handling children as diverse as those suffering from severe Autism and other forms of developmental delay, that hamper learning.
Educators from all over the country and abroad gathered here on the 19 th and 20 th of August to discuss "Co-morbid" factors this year. This was the 12 th annual conference and it was certainly worth the cause that it is expounding. The key-note speaker was Dr. M.S. Thambiraja, MBBS,FRCPPsych(UK). He is working with children in the UK as a child and adult psychiatrist.He visits India regularly and participates in various conferences and workshops.
This year Ms. Bridget Hughes, NILD practitioner and director of special schools in the US was a special visitor. Her talk was about the use of NILD methods. These methods are aimed at promoting sensory development. While the problems in learning always arise out of developmental delay, the challenge is to find out cognitive ways to repair damaged nerves.
The term Co-morbid also brings in issues of perception, depression and all the other factors that are triggered by failure or non performance. The methods advocated by the NILD, help in this regard. It was heartening to discuss education as an intervention to solve such problems.
While one cannot rule out the uses of medication, we hope to have as much cognitive healing as possible. It is indeed essential to help the affected child or individual to manage his problem and lad a fruitful life.
The stigma attached to such problems was also discussed, especially when Abhinav, student of Alpha to Omega learning centre stood up to ask the following questions:
1. Why is a learning disabled child rejected in normal schools? Why aren't schools more nclusive?
2. What will b the scene in college?
In Bihar, these discussions are still swept under the carpet and there are many such children like Abhinav who are asking a similar question.
By Anuradha Shanker
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