Madhuram Narayanan Centre for Exceptional Children will organise a four-day international conference on early intervention for children with mental retardation from Wednesday.

Addressing presspersons here on Monday, the centre’s founder director, Jaya Krishnaswamy, said this was the fourth international conference being organised by the centre with an objective to spread awareness and also share knowledge on recent trends in prevention and early detection of mental retardation and associated disabilities.

Nearly 200 persons are expected to participate in the conference to be held at Hotel Savera between November 20 and 23. Some of the subjects to be discussed include early identification, effective classroom management and genetic causes of intellectual disability.

Six experts from abroad and 30 from across the country will present their papers on early intervention in autism, music and yoga as facilitators in early intervention services, and innovation in curriculum planning for special children, said Ms. Krishnaswamy.

P. Jayachandran, one of the directors of the centre, said there weren’t many qualified therapists or special educators in the city. The conference will also deliberate on measures to develop human resources.

If children with mental retardation and associated disabilities are identified and trained before the age of six, it will help improve their intellectual functions soon. But, this is sometimes neglected.

The centre, which was started in 1989 with three children, now deals with 100 children, up to the age of six, every day. It also offers a 10-month training course for special educators.

“Last year, we trained 11 candidates, mostly parents of special children. This year, so far, seven have enrolled for the course offered under the aegis of Rehabilitation Council of India, said Vimala Kannan, one of the directors of the centre.

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