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An extraordinary Conference on Special Education; organized by the University of the West Indies School of Education, in partnership with the Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES) will be held Wednesday June 26 to Friday June 28 at Rose Hall Hilton Hotel in St James. Through the work of the Office of Special Student Services, the UWI is aware of the considerations to be given to those with exceptionalities who may matriculate to higher educational studies, but require services and support to allow them to maximize their potential, so this collaboration is timely.

The conference will be held under the theme: “Inclusion for all in a changing world”. Local, regional and international professionals and practitioners will come together to discuss successes and challenges in the field of special education. Presentations and discussions will centre around these questions:

** How well are we responding to the needs of children with exceptionalities?

** Do your policies provide equitable, accessible and relevant considerations for our

exceptional learner?

** How can we create and cultivate active and sustained advocacy for our special needs


This international conference is directly linked to the Regional Roundtable on Special Education mounted in January 2017, by the Special Education Project of the Education System Transformation Programme (ESTP), Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI). In that forum, approximately 250 policy-makers, advocates, stakeholders and practitioners from regional and international agencies participated in meaningful dialogue regarding common developmental and functional needs of the sub-sector. The conference is an opportunity for the region to engage in critical examination of the quality and extent of provision of educational, services and support for children and youth with special needs on the continuum of intellectual disabilities to giftedness. The absence of focused and sustained effort and attention to disability issues has its implications for life beyond school, and the ability of this population to access education or employment as viable contributors to social and economic development.

The ground-breaking and revolutionary conference is presented under the distinguished patronage of Her Excellency, the Most Hon. Lady Allen. It is also endorsed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.

[Contributed by His Excellency Professor Colin O Jarrett]

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