Anwesha in Austria
The 4th International Family-Centred Early Intervention (FCEI) Congress took place in Bad Ischl, Austria, June 13-16, 2018. The theme of the FCEI 2018 was "Principles into Practice".This conference was designed to bring professionals from all aspects of the field and parent leaders and deaf leaders together for information-sharing and networking. Ms. Snigdha Sarkar, President, Anwesha Kolkata was invited as one of the speakers in the conference. She delivered her speech on "Family-Provider partnership can transform recipients into providers". Ms. Susmita Das, Vice President and Ms. Anindita Chakraborty, Member also joined with her.
Snigdha Sarkar, President - Anwesha responds to questions on her team's visit to the FCEI International Conference in Austria.
1. What are your TOP THREE takeaways from the FCEI International Conference?
- Our belief that newborn hearing screening, early detection and early intervention is key to development of children who are deaf or hard of hearing was reinforced in the conference. Many countries are already practising it, though we still have a long way to go.
- It is more important to have a language to communicate than its mode. When we focus on how my deaf child is communicating; by speaking or using signs, we tend to overlook the language part of communication. The acute difficulty a deaf child faces is language deprivation; we remain oblivious to it and struggle with mode.
- Countries that are doing brilliant work with deaf children and their families did not achieve it in a day. Resilience and consistent effort will help us achieve it too.
2. How does Anwesha fit into this program?
We learnt about the FCEI conference through a friend working in an international organisation. An abstract was sent and we were accepted.
We have been active participants in every conference, since 2014. Our role goes beyond speakers or presenters, we also participate as parent leaders sharing our experiences, achievements as well as challenges. We have now become part of an extended advisory group of FCEI.
Through the conference we came in contact with GPODHH – Global Coalition of Parents of children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. This was an excellent connection helping Anwesha broaden its perspectives and getting to know parent groups across the world. Anwesha is a core member of GPODHH. Anwesha is listed in the website of GPODHH as well as FCEI. The homepage of GPODHH website pictures children and parents of Anwesha.
3. Share a powerful statement from the sessions that left you motivated, and why...
A powerful statement from the sessions that left me motivated was –
“Mode of communication should not be fixed for life time but should be flexible.”
We need to resolve the conflict between oral and manual communication. We need to embrace the truth that they are not in conflict with each other but are conducive to each other. Once we resolve this conflict we will be able to focus on language learning aspects of deaf children, foundation of all learning.