This article has been authored by Dr Smita Desai, Founder Director of Drishti (www.drishtionline.com). Drishti is a professional organization that has been serving mainstream schools as well as the special education needs population since 1994. Their services include psycho-educational assessments, diagnostics, therapies, school counselling, remedial education and capacity building for parents and teachers.
As is popularly said, the first step towards change is awareness and the second is acceptance. With one in 68 children being diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in India, early diagnosis, social acceptance of children with autism and clearing misconceptions about the same is extremely important for social welfare.
Lack of understanding about autism can make it difficult for people on the autism spectrum to access the help and support they need. False and often negative beliefs about the condition as well as misconceptions can lead to some people with autism being isolated and in extreme cases, lead to abuse and bullying.
For parents of children with autism the following is therefore of critical importance to understand.
It's absolutely possible for your child to function, learn and be included in a mainstream school. However, in order for that to happen successfully there has to be an enhanced level of awareness which would lead to an overall enhanced level of acceptance. Its critically important that the process starts with you first - only then can you be true advocates for ALL children.
A parent of a child along the spectrum who has interacted with us as a Drishti course participant agrees that psycho-educational assessments and diagnostics allows you to start support and intervention at the earliest for your child and releases the pressure of trying to fit into the pre-structured norms of society.
Additionally, you must get yourself better informed about ASD which will not only allow you to help your child but also become an advocate for ALL SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN. The parent mentioned this “ As a happy special mother I decided to do my bit in creating awareness and helping special needs kids. My journey for equipping myself with a good knowledge of special needs, is now on a great path with the Drishti course that I recently joined. I am eagerly looking forward to learn more from this course as it is turning to be an almost enlightening path for me. What attracted me to the course was that it was online and the learning community created gave me access to people with different personal and work experiences”.
Autism did not stop Mozzart or Temple Grandin from reaching the stars and it won’t stop your child either, but you have to remember that life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.
YOUR CHILD DOES NOT DESERVE THE SYMPATHY BUT THE EMPATHY OF PEOPLE
AROUND. LEARN MORE ! SO THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO MORE!
Dr. Smita Desai would like to acknowledge the contributions of Ms Madhura Pathare (Head Operations) and Ms Vasundhara Kaul ( Program Director, Training) from Drishti in writing this article.
Also read: Busting Myths Around Autism
Explore the entire collection of articles: Special Needs