Thursday, 8 October 2015

My visit to "The Autism Friendly Village."

There is a saying “if they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn.” This is a saying aptly suitable for autistic people.  What is autism? Autism is a neurological disorder. It has an effect on normal brain function affecting development of the person’s communication and social interaction skills.

We see people with autism and feel bad; show sympathy and a few heartless brutes bully them. It is horrible and wrong because even they are equally intelligent and clever but the difference between them and us so called normal people is, we can express but they simply can’t. All they need is love and affection and people handling them need lots of patience.

People who handle them are known as care givers and not care takers as is generally referred in similar contexts. There are many causes for autism such as over medication during pregnancy, late marriages, physical or mental stress etc. But autism cannot be detected during pregnancy. It can only be detected at the age of 6 months when the child is not able to crawl or maybe at the age of 9 months when they are not able to walk properly etc.

I also used to think that autism means being an introvert but today I know the difference and can speak about it confidently because I got an opportunity provided by our Principal – DAV Public School Safilguda Hyderabad, Dr. Sita Kiran Ma’am to visit “The Autism Friendly Village” located at Shamirpet.

On October 5, 2015, our school reopened after the SA 1 exams and all of us were excited to meet our friends and teachers but we didn’t know that there was a surprise awaiting us. Our Principle Ma’am had visited an autism center called “The Autism Friendly Village” located at Shamirpet and she wanted the student cabinet members to visit the center and see the place and people there and contribute our bit by raising funds for them. So we began our trip by 9 am accompanied by Kalpalatha Ma’am and Malati Ma’am. We reached the place by 10 am. We were warmly greeted by Mallikarjun Sir and Prashanti Ma’am who work there from the time of its inception. They took us to each and every room to show us how the kids over there study and perform other activities. Kids there who are above 17 years have to start earning by using their skills like making some craft items or paintings. In the normal education system there is 1:40 teacher and students ratio, but at the autism center it is 1:1 as every child needs special care and attention. They have separate rooms for every child who stays there with the caregiver. They have a canteen where only satvik food (no onion and garlic) is served, as onions and garlic tend to make the child hyper active. They even have a prayer hall and also every Saturday and Sunday movies (Hindi and Telugu respectively) are shown to the kids. Autistic kids can’t do everything on their own but all they need is signals or indications such as a nod in agreement etc which makes them do the activities.

It was indeed a heart touching visit and I now feel that I have a very blessed life. I am now motivated to contribute whatever I can, for these special children of God.

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