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World Autism Awareness Day 2024: Promoting Awareness and Inclusion Across India – News18


World Autism Awareness Day 2024: From schools to colleges to workspaces – each institution is expected to create a culture where people with autism can feel accepted and comfortable

Every year in April, more neuro-typical people should learn about and understand autism, and also encourage more people with autism to self-advocate

The month of April, every year, reminds us all of one of the most honest forms of this diversity – autism as a neurodevelopmental condition. It’s an equally complex condition because of it being a spectrum that affects people differently and to varying degrees.

According to a report by ETHealthWorld, about 18 million people in India are diagnosed with autism. About 1 to 1.5 percent of children aged two to nine years are diagnosed with ASD. While the families learn to understand and create a supportive environment around their wards, educational institutions play a critical role in promoting awareness and acceptance of autistic students on their campuses as well as in the overall society.

Reena Gupta, Director, Office of Learning Support, Ashoka University, says, “Once understood and supported well, these students can make people marvel at their strengths, especially related to logical thinking. They can dazzle others by talking about concepts of their interest at the deepest level possible but at the same time can baffle them by their way of communication. And because this communication has a different rhythm, speed, volume, and may also sound ‘scripted’, these students can easily be misunderstood and thought of ‘less capable’ than their neuro-typical peers. Whereas, there are studies available that make strong connections between autism and high IQ, and some even tipping towards genius.”

From schools to colleges to workspaces – each institution is expected to create a culture where people with autism can feel accepted and comfortable. “While a few have taken positive steps in their respective environments, this needs to be continuously advocated for as a wide-spread movement,” adds Gupta.

Hopefully, every year in April, more neuro-typical people will learn about and understand autism, and also encourage more people with autism to self-advocate. And, together as a community, we will be able to create more safe spaces where people with autism can thrive and enrich the environments with their ‘colours’ of unadulterated thinking, focused approach, and decisive language. The only requirement is total acceptance and respect for people who think and behave differently.



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