Autistic Pride Day, celebrated every year on June 18, spreads the message that people with autism do not have a disease
Autistic Pride Day is celebrated every year on June 18. The day assumes significance for those who are autistic because it serves as a reminder that they are as much a part of society as other people.
Autistic Pride Day is dedicated to neurodiversity and celebrating rather than distinguishing individual differences, said Swarnalata Mishra, chairperson of Autism Therapy Centre, managed by the Manage Autism Now Trust, in Odisha capital Bhubaneswar.
Autism is a complex neurological disorder that impacts the regular development process of a child. Its manifestations are impairment in social interaction, communication, restricted interests and repetitive behaviour.
The cause for autism is not yet known. Studies, so far, suggest autism is likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is true children do not outgrow autism. It may not be possible to overcome all the impairments of the faculties of a human being caused by autism.
Studies showed early diagnosis and intervention lead to significant results, said Mishra whose son is autistic.
Early detection is extremely crucial for effective intervention in all cases in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a broad range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviour, speech and non-verbal communication.
“We are fully conscious of this and have emphasised creating public awareness apart from providing effective intervention to special kids with autism spectrum disorder,” said Mishra.
“Our intervention covers behavioural therapy, speech therapy, social skills training, yoga and meditation therapy, ayurvedic treatment, sensory integration therapy, learning through computers and alternative mode to develop communication skills,” added Mishra.
Proper sensitisation and orientation of therapists / instructors who work with those who have autism is very important.
Creating awareness among parents over the issues of autism and the method of dealing with these issues assumes a lot of significance.
Autistic Pride Day also spreads the message that people who have autism are not carrying a disease: They have a unique set of issues that set themselves apart from others.
About one in 68 children have autism across the world. It is a disorder and not a disease, said Mishra.
“Autism Pride Day is important because it helps people recognise the plus side of having the condition,” said Amarbar Biswal, a human rights activist. “Autism doesn't mean you won’t succeed in life. It means you have the potential to do something no one else can,” Biswal added.
Parents and society in general should understand hidden talents and strengths of those with autism as they are gifted, said Biswal.
More organisations and schools should help autistic children develop social, behavioural and language skills according to their specific needs, according to Biswal.
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