In this interview, Devishobha Chandramouli, founder and editor of Kidskintha, talks about the 2020 Special Kids International Summit, a free virtual conference from April 7 – 11. She speaks not only about this upcoming event, but also the landscape of education right now and how it highlights the need for quality online professional learning.

Devishobha describes the origins of the conference starting in her mind almost a decade ago, when reflecting on how parents of children with special needs often felt isolated because they didn’t have as much information as they’d like. She talks about how this feeling is common and how, with everything that has transpired since, and especially with COVID-19 currently highlighting the importance of a global community that can connect online, now is an ideal time for this event.

“This is a universal feeling and emotion,” she says. “And I think this is a great time to get people together. This is a great time for that unification of voices on this opportunity of inclusion.”

We now have the opportunity to reach across both barriers and borders through technology, at a time when many conferences have had to cancel. This summit, designed for all stakeholders who work with children─from teachers and administrators, to counselors, mental health professionals, specialists, and parents─brings everyone into the “movement of inclusion.” Sessions cover essential topics from advocating for your child, to ADHD and dyslexia, to emotional regulation and much more.

The conference also is presented in partnership with UNESCO’s New Delhi field office, and is aligned to the UNESCO sustainable development goals of inclusion and difference learning. But, the summit is not just about special education, as professionals who work with all children will find something to meet their needs.

The summit integrates both healthcare and education, with content presented in nine tracks with 30+ total speakers (full details can be found here). The presenters aren’t just education experts, but also doctors, pediatricians, and sensory experts who discuss how to identify special needs symptoms, and how to integrate early intervention. Because of the diverse languages spoken in India, there are also some tracks specifically created for the country.

I think this summit cannot be timed better because I think families and educators and children ─ everyone ─ is trying to integrate something from outside their environment,” says Chandramouli. “The education industry is already fueled by the online education trend and these interesting formats where they have experts speaking to them from their desks, kitchens, and bedrooms…. It is a wonderful opportunity for them to be able to access all the knowledge from around the world.”

The Special Kids International Summit takes place April 7 – 11 online, and is free for all attendees. Educators can visit www.spins2020.live to learn more and register. Sessions will also be archived for those who wish to view later, but it’s best to register ahead of time to ensure access.

Devishobha is the founder of Kidskintha- a global parenting and education collective, and the host of the global virtual conferences hosted on the platform, one of them hosted in collaboration with UNESCO. You can also find her voice on the Huffington Post, Mother.ly, Entrepreneur, LifeHack, TinyBuddha, Thought Catalog and many other publications.

Sean Ryan

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