Though free and compulsory primary education is available to most differently-abled children, the lack of opportunities in the area of higher education remains a critical concern in India, according to Dr. Pavan John Antony, Clinical Associate Professor, Adelphi University, New York.
Speaking to an audience, that included parents of differently-abled children, about the need to provide higher education to children with special needs, at the three-day International Conference on Comprehensive Education for Children with Special Needs, Dr. Pavan John Anthony spoke in detail about the opportunities for higher education available to differently-abled children in foreign countries, and the challenges the children face in India.
Children with disabilities often have their parents or other people to help them do even their basic tasks. But what we tend to forget is that these children are capable of doing things without any assistance, whatsoever. Parents need to understand that. Children with disabilities should be given the opportunity to do things on their own.
He added that, after school education, children who are interested in learning further, should be sent to college and through this, they should be given the opportunity to learn and do everything on their own. Higher education will enable them to move forward in their lives without the help of parents and others, Dr. Pavan Antony opined.
Once children reach the age of sixteen, parents should start thinking about higher education and provide an opportunity to find various educational institutions in India and abroad to enrol in subjects of their interests. India should follow the path paved by foreign countries in the training of children to travel alone and go to college, and to manage things, including time and money.
At the same time, he also mentioned about the difficulties faced by differently-abled children in the field of higher education. Children with disabilities face a slew of problems, including denial of admission. Dr. Pavan Antony concluded his workshop by saying that parents should stand strong with their children in any event of crisis and provide them with the opportunity of making them self-reliant.
Organized jointly by Thiruvananthapuram-based Different Art Centre and New York’s Adelphi University, the three-day international conference was attended by many people from India and abroad, and awareness classes were provided to parents of differently-abled children.