International Conference Set To Break Special Needs Education Boundaries

Quest International University (QIU) is set to gather some of the foremost special needs education experts from across the globe at the Special Education: Moving Beyond Boundaries (SEMB) 2021 virtual conference in December. 

Organised by QIU’s Faculty of Social Sciences, SEMB 2021 is poised to break down boundaries surrounding special education, helping parents, educators, specialists and the community to better support students with special needs. 

It will be held on December 4 and 5, with the theme of “Embracing Uniqueness, Empowering Lives.” 

The two-day virtual conference will provide participants with the best teaching practices, skills to identify and assess individuals with special needs, and knowledge on opportunities to support those with disabilities beyond the classroom. 

QIU Chief Operating Officer Nicholas Goh said, “About 15% of the world’s population live with disabilities. In Malaysia alone, the number of students with special needs rose by 23% from 2016 to 2020. It is true that we are doing more than we have ever done to help these students, but there is so much more that we can do.”

“We can achieve much more just by reaching more people.Our tagline for the SEMB21 Conference — “Embracing Uniqueness: Empowering Lives,” raises awareness and acceptance towards special needs and inclusive education. SEMB 2021 will give parents, educators and community members the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to provide a brighter future for their children and students respectively,” he said. 

Faculty of Social Sciences Dean Professor Dr Chan Nee Nee added: “Inclusivity is a defining concept of special needs education, but it shouldn’t just be applied to students. We want to break boundaries between the game changers in the field and the frontliners like educators, specialists and parents. The virtual nature of our conference also allows us to break geographical boundaries, connecting experts and stakeholders from across the globe.”

To provide such a unique mixture of expertise, SEMB 2021 will bring together leaders, game-changers, and expert academics in Malaysian and international special education. They include: 

  • Datin Sri Umayal Eswaran: Chairperson of RYTHM Foundation. Founder of Taarana, a Special Needs Education School
  • Richard Rieser: CEO, World of Inclusion (UK). Consultant, Inclusive Education and Disability Equality
  • YB Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Mohd Radzi: Chairman of BERNAMA, President of The Central Disability Association, President of The Paralympic Shooting Association.
  • Dr Toh Teck Hock: Paediatrician & Head of Clinical Research Centre (Sibu Hospital), Vice President of National Early Childhood Intervention Council (NECIC)
  • Professor David Evans: Professor of Special and Inclusive Education
    (The University of Sydney) FASS Disability Liaison Officer.
  • Dr Vaughn Lauer: IEP Specialist/Advocate and Assessment Specialist.

The conference will consist of four main themes, each carefully designed to help a specific audience. The themes are:

1.Educating the Unique
Target audience: Teachers

2. Embracing Uniqueness
Target audience: Parents

3. Empowering Communities
Target audience: Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)

4. Breaking Boundaries
Target audience: Specialists

The event also aims to progress academic discovery in special education with various strands of workshops and oral paper presentations that are targeted towards specific target audiences.

SEMB 2021 will be fully conducted online using the Whova Application. For more information on how to join the event, head to



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