‘School enrollment rate of special children up’

Chennai, Feb 11: The school enrolment rate of children with special needs improved from 69 per cent to 85 per cent when they received early intervention therapy, finds a study by Amar Seva Sangam, Ayikudi (ASSA), a premier non-profit organisation in the field of disability management.

According to a press release, the study was conducted in association with the University of Toronto and McGill University, Canada on the outcomes of ASSA’s Village-Based Early Intervention & Rehabilitation Programme that covered 1,152 children with special needs.

ASSA’s study found that the severity of disability and the lack of early intervention were the two primary reasons that prevent the children with special needs from attending schools. The lowest enrolment was seen with children with cerebral palsy (CP), particularly those with more motor severity and cognitive impairment. Children with higher early intervention programme attendance levels had higher rates of achieving school enrolment, the release said.

In order to share its experiences in early intervention, and to highlight other successful early intervention models and interventions from across the world, ASSA is organising an international conference on ‘Early intervention for children with special needs’ in Chennai. The two-day conference will be inaugurated by Governor Banwarilal Purohit 14 February.

There will also be two pre-conference workshops 13 February on the topics – 1) Designing, implementing, monitoring and scaling-up early intervention programs for children with disabilities, and 2) Home-based early intervention for children with developmental disabilities and cerebral palsy: A family-centred interdisciplinary approach.

The international conference will have presentations from more than 50 experts on a wide range of themes such as early identification, early stimulation, intervention through play, assistive and adaptive technology, inclusive education, and social security schemes, among others.

About 500 participants, including the executives of non-governmental organisations, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, special educators, paediatricians, doctors and senior government officials from different parts of the country and the world are expected to attend the workshops and the international conference, the release said.