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World Autism Awareness Day

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On the 2nd of April year, World Autism Awareness day is celebrated to create awareness and let people understand that being autistic doesn’t come in the way of being a part of mainstream society. Amidst a lockdown and coronavirus outbreak, World Autism Awareness Day has been observed.

World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) is observed every year on 2 April in order to raise public awareness of autism. First WAAD was celebrated in 2008. WAAD highlights the need to help and improve the quality of life of those with autism so that they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.

The theme for World Autism Awareness Day this year is “The Transition to Adulthood”. When we grow, the society expects us to become a participant in the social, economic and political life of our community.

A lot of people don’t know the term autism. They are not aware that it is a genetic disability that cannot be cured. They often are prone to treat the affected person as crazy. Autism has got stigmatized for ages, and people are insensitive to the needs of such persons. Hence a day has been dedicated to autistic people. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Since autism comes under a broad spectrum, it is known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is often characterized by complex neurodevelopmental disorders which can be severe to mild in some people. The dominant trait of them all would be that they have limitations in acknowledging social cues and may respond differently in situations. But all of the people do have emotions, feel sad, lonely, happy and others associated with regular persons.

Every citizen, therefore, must be empathic towards such persons and try to make them feel wanted or belonged like everyone else.

Autistic people have distinct traits that make them noticeable

  • Impairments in social interaction
  • Problems with verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Repetitive behavior
  • Restricted interests and activities

The person who is having autism will have for the rest of their life as only therapy can improve their condition to some extent. Specialists and doctors in this field have conducted several experiments and found that specific therapies have worked well on such patients, and it has helped their cognitive and social behavior to some extent if started at an early age. The child can display autistic symptoms from the age of three. Such therapies are

  • Language therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Educational support
  • Other interventions

The government and specialists have worked together and found that assertive technology can enable them to be able to 

  • Be part of mainstream society 
  • Utilize their basic rights
  • Learn about sustainable development goals
  • Increase their participation
  • Have equal opportunity

All this is possible if the technology is

  • Easily available
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  •  Facilitate access to them
  • Promote research and development of such technologies

Some of the counselors and teachers also educate the parent/ guardian or caretaker of such autistic persons.

Steps taken By Government:

The government has several schemes to help such people so that they do not get neglected and get treated rightly.

  • The Samarth scheme was set up to provide temporary as well as prolonged residential facilities along with learning for autistic children.
  • They provide special education with integrated schools
  • Open schools are there
  • Pre-vocational training
  • Vocational training
  • Employment oriented training
  • Recreation 
  • Sports
  • Group Home and Rehabilitation activities for Disabled Adults is a permanent shelter when the parents or guardians cannot look after autistic persons due financial problems,Ostracization of society,Old age and Illnesses
  • Niramaya is an insurance scheme which comprehensive cover for persons with Autism, Cerebral palsy, Mental retardation and Multiple disabilities

It is an insurance cover of one lakh with only one premium for all age groups. The services it covers are

  • Regular medical check-ups
  • Hospitalization
  • Therapy
  • Corrective surgery
  • Transportation
  • Repetitive medical intervention(as an in-patient)
  • Pre and post hospitalization expenses
  • Cashless hospitalization (in the prescribed hospitals)
  • Reimbursement of claims for OPD services (in the specified hospitals)

The VIKKAS daycare scheme allows vocational training as well as interpersonal skills to autistic persons. There are tax deductions available to autistic people under section 80U. They are also liable for travel concessions for up to 75%. Hotel discounts offer 50% lodging and boarding with an additional discount of 30% for food.

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