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Lessons from conference on inclusive education held in Punjab's Patiala: A rapid review
A three-day multi-disciplinary conference was held last week at Thapar Engineering and Technology Institute in Patiala of Punjab. However, the participation from the other allied disciplines was meagre and most of the papers were either advocacy papers or topic enrichment write-ups. The implication is that research in the area of both disability education and general education is needed to be promoted.

In the “National Conference On Inclusive Education and Technologies: Rural and Urban Context through Collaborative Approach” co-partnered by Department of Computer Science and Engineering of Thapar Institute of Engineering, Patiala; Centre for Disability Studies and Action (CDSA); School of Social Work of TATA Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and BROTHERHOOD, Delhi;  two intervention researches on phonic method of language development and gestures as means of communication for children with special needs drew attention of the participants.

The two papers using ‘design and development’ method with trialling were authored by Rameeza Khan & Masarrat Khan and L Kishore & A Awasthi duos.

Khan, R. & Khan, M in their paper "Phonological awareness and phonics: instructional practices that benefit all learners " held that phonic letter- sound correspondence reduces language coding difficulty and leads to better reading. Owing to teachers not being trained in phonic method of teaching and language textbooks not written with reading in focus, it has been observed and found that around 75% children of grade four students are unable to read the lower grade textbooks.

Further, the use of rhyming words and phonemic spelling or phoneme-grapheme correspondence based phonetic instruction in lower grades and with children with dyslexia can be helpful in their language development. The way the teachers being trained for language instruction and the way the textbooks have been written and prescribed, the language acquisition of children crumbles after grade four for normal children and how much harm it must be doing to children with different disorders and disabilities.

L Kishore & A Awasthi in their paper, identified and standardised gestures for 150 odd words of different categories for children with special needs and talked about the protocol for their classroom use for enhancing their communications skills and cognitive development. They found that clinical testing of protocol showed positive results.

Here is an ABC verse to sum up learning from the proceedings of the  conference on inclusive education 

A: Assessment and alterative vouchsafe for exploring and trialling intervention for each child
B: Behaviour and life skills approach with school and caregiver psycho-social support 
C: Creating gesture, sign language, and phonological awareness for early communication 
D: Developmental disorder identification and supplementation through therapeutic and medical interventions
E: Education plan for individualization and classroom management along with action-cum-intervention research for continuous assessment and correction of the learner and practitioner's improvement

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