A two-day national seminar on ‘Tele-assessment and intervention for persons with communication disorders’ began at the All-India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH) here on Thursday.

The seminar aims at enhancing the scope of the Centre for Rehabilitation and Education through Distance Mode (CREDM). CREDM was established five years ago by AIISH to reach out to persons with communication disorders who could not access the services of the institute due to geographical constraints.

V.V. Bhat, secretary to the Government of India and member (finance), Atomic Energy Commission, Bangalore, who was the chief guest, inaugurated the seminar.

New challenges

The former director of AIISH and Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped (AYJNIHH), Mumbai, N. Rathna, who was the guest of honour, delivered the keynote address. He spoke on ‘Technology-enabled service delivery such as videoconferencing, Skype, webinars and other Internet resources in speech language pathology and audiology’. He said tele-diagnosis and interventions need more professionals than the conventional interventions. Apart from the huge investments needed to establish and maintain the technological paraphernalia and personnel, there is a need to provide a team of dedicated professionals to meet the new challenges and the needs posed by an increased clientele, he explained.

Dr. Rathna said: “We have to be rather optimistic to think we can provide these services both at the telecasting end and at the receiving end.”

Diagnosis in communication disorders is not a one-time affair. It is in fact a continuing process. “When we embark upon a diagnostic adventure, we should be willing to keep multiple options open,” he suggested.

In the same manner, the intervention has to be customised to each individual. “We cannot prescribe one treatment for all or for most people. Professionals have to be involved all the time,” he advised.

On the occasion, two books Train Your Child – Level 2 (Hindi) and Train Your Child in Pre-academic Skills (English) brought out by AIISH were released.

AIISH Director S.R. Savitri and R. Manjula, HoD, CREDM, AIISH, Mysore, were present.

More than 150 delegates, including research scholars and students, are participating.

Dr. Savitri gave an overview on the need for tele-assessment and tele-intervention in people with communication disorders.