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A step towards making Amritsar autism-friendly

Experts stress on making public places conducive for people with autism & to train staff accordingly

A step towards making Amritsar autism-friendly

FICCI FLO City chapter in collaboration with SOCH Autism Society of Punjab, an NGO, organised an interactive session to raise awareness on autism in the city. - Photo: Vishal Kumar



Tribune News Service

Neha Saini

Amritsar, April 4

FICCI FLO City chapter in collaboration with SOCH Autism Society of Punjab, an NGO, organised an interactive session to raise awareness on autism in the city. The session title “The Awakening” witnessed participation of experts, including Betsy Neuville, senior leader for Keystone Institute International, US, who has dedicated worked with families having autistic children for 35 years; Dr Ashmeet Singh, mental health specialist; Anupama Mehra, principal, Spring Blossoms and Anita Mehra, a mother of an autistic child. The session was inaugurated by Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, MLA, Amritsar North, along with Dr Sukhchain Gill, CP, Amritsar and Sandeep Rishi, MC Commissioner.

The discussion mostly centred around how general public can be sensitised towards people with autism and creating more opportunities for them. Shikha Sareen, Chairperson, FICCI FLO, Amritsar, said, “The first step is to make Amritsar an autism inclusive city. FLO Amritsar is going to work together in tandem with various service industry providers like restaurants, salons, malls, schools and many others to sensitise and train the service staff on how to create conducive environment for people with autism.”

Anita Mehra, whose daughter Niyati (23) is autistic, shared that parents need to accept that their kid is different in order to get early intervention. “Denial is not going to help you or your child. Do not shut the child in your home. Instead, accept and seek early medical intervention and educate yourself to help your child reach their maximum potential despite their limitations,” she shared. Her daughter is in Class X and has been learning in a mainstream school as Anita shared her journey as a parent. Betsy Neuville shared some tips and planning tool for inclusive practice for developing support for autistic persons. She stressed that one has to not just look at how their social or personal life is effected but also need to nurture their learning, thoughts, creative instincts through building network of professionals who are well equipped in such practices.

The evening also saw music and dance performance was by special children of Ibadat, an NGO for differently abled children.

Anjali Dada, president of SOCH Autism Society of Punjab and Prerna Khanna, special educator, Spring Dale Senior School and Executive member of GIEN (Global inclusive education network) also addressed the session.

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