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Building Bridges: A Bridge for Effective Inclusion

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The National Resource Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (NRCAAC) of the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, Kolkata, India, embarked on a project called ”Building Bridges”. The goal was, by way of training and demonstration, to bring to actual practice the Right to Education that universalizes free and compulsory elementary education for ALL.
The project persevered to assuring that children with physical challenges and complex communication needs (CCN) be included in a mainstream or inclusive classroom, following either a regular, modified or functional curriculum and using different forms of Augmentative and Alternative Communication methods and Assistive Technology (AT). It builds a service to establish to parent/s, teachers, the school and the child, most importantly, the foundation of self-determination.
The programme is for all students with CCN, seeking admission in or attending mainstream or inclusive schools, and offers qualitative and quantitative services, in a wide range of child-centric as well as teacher-directed classroom strategies, building on the strengths of the student and available access. The programme obliterates the barriers (informational, architectural, social and academic curricular) and paves the way for inclusion of the child through attitudinal change in the social diaspora. This is done by a consistent process of working together with the school and the family.
This paper narrates the experience of mentoring and training for students who use AAC, their families and teachers through case studies. It shows how AAC methods and AT can bring in significant changes in the quality of education, facilitate transition and build lasting relationships.


Madhumita Dasgupta    
Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy


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