Special Education Faculty Present on Autism and Visual Impairment in India
The Memorandum of Understanding between Texas Tech and the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) signed last year by Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Nora Griffin-Shirley from the Special Education Program allowed for Program faculty to conduct seminars on autism and orientation and mobility. In March of this year, Dr. Griffin-Shirley and Dr. Devender Banda, Special Education Associate Professor, were invited by the RCI to present a seminar at Autism for Action in New Delhi concerning evidence-based research in the fields of autism and orientation and mobility.
A two day seminar was presented March 9 and 10, 2011. The participants included representatives from the RCI, the national institutes for people with disabilities, university professors, faculty from RCI approved training institutes, representatives from Indian national and government organizations, and other community representatives.
Drs. Griffin-Shirley and Banda presented and participated in a live telecast on March 11 at Indira Gandhi National Open University, designed to reach as many special educators as possible across India. Dr. Griffin-Shirley also presented an Orientation and Mobility seminar for the Visual Impairment Education department faculty and students of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on March 14. The funding was provided by RCI.
The trip to India was also an opportunity for Dr. Griffin-Shirley and Dr. Banda to meet with Dr. J. P. Singh, Member Secretary, RCI, regarding research and grant possibilities at New Delhi for a joint grant proposal between the College of Education and RCI.
Plans are being made for Dr. Singh to travel to Texas Tech to sign the research addendum added to the earlier Memorandum of Understanding. Dr. Singh will present a lecture on the mission of RCI and its program endeavors. This event will be followed by a reception for all. A report was sent to RCI about the needs and possible collaborative areas in India.
Dr. Griffin-Shirley also recently received The Phil Hatlen Award in recognition of providing innovative changes or outstanding leadership, which ultimately improved services to programming and quality of life for students who are blind or visually impaired in Texas. She received this award from the Texas Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired at the state conference in Dallas on March 25, 2011.
(Contributed by Dr. N. Griffin-Shirley and Dr. Devender Banda)