Week-long shows to mark World Autism Awareness Day

April 2nd, 2009 - 7:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) Ajay Devgan in “Main Aisa Hi Hoon”, Anil Kapoor in “Yuvraaj” and now Shahrukh Khan in “My Name Is Khan” - autism is no stranger to Hindi films yet the awareness level among the masses about this developmental disability is very low, say NGOs working with autism affected people.
Thus in order to sensitise people on autism a week-long campaign started Thursday, which is also the World Autism Awareness day.

The initiative, which is being similarly observed the world over, is being coordinated by Action for Autism (AFA), an NGO working on the issue, along with the Special Child Trust.

Reeta Sabharwal of AFA said: “The main aim of these celebrations is to spread awareness about autism among leaders and lawmakers, teachers and schools, medical professionals, corporates and the general community.”

“Although awareness about autism in India has dramatically grown in the past decade, our focus is to help more and more affected families from an educational, medical and legal standpoint,” she added.

On the itinerary for the week ahead is an art carnival and competition at the India Habitat Centre, free consultation with paediatrician, dentist, psychologist, occupational therapist and special educator in one sitting and submission of a charter of rights for people suffering from autism to President Pratibha Patil.

There will also be sensitisation drives in schools and a cultural show by children suffering from autism at the National Centre for Autism in Jasola Vihar in the capital April 4.

Across the globe, more than 67 million people are affected by autism. Some symptoms for the disabilty are when a child doesn’t respond to his or her name by 10 months of age and does not babble any words by the time he or she is 12 months.

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