Empowerment programme for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Karnataka

Smile Foundation and Spastics Society of Karnataka has taken up the initiative to empower & meet the rapidly increasing needs of parents through their intervention programme for very young children with autism (less than 3 – 4 years). Autism is a neurological developmental disorder affecting children before 3 years of age.

About the Partner

Spastics Society of Karnataka, a Non-Government Organisation is dedicated to the welfare of persons with Neuro-Muscular Disorders and Developmental Disabilities, started off as a branch of the Spastics Society of India in the year 1982, and went on to become autonomous in the year 1994. SSK is located on a 5 acre campus, donated by the Government of Karnataka, in Indiranagar, in the garden city of Bangalore.

The organization is primarily working for the betterment of people/ children with disabilities from different socio-economic strata from last 25 years. Over the years the organization has set up Diagnostic & Research Centre with Multi – Medical, Educational & Rehabilitation Services to cater to the specific needs of the people.

The organization has received support from various national & international funding organization , Heart & Hand for the handicapped USA, HLL Research Centre , Hindustan Lever Educational & Welfare Trust to name a few.

About the Project

Home-based early intervention programme for toddlers diagnosed with /autism spectrum disorder is a project of Spastic Society. Under the programme, organization is providing individual & group programmes for the children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the DEC Unit (Development Centre for Exceptional children Unit).

Under the project, it covers 100 children with autism difficulties and they are trained in three main areas,

Social interaction
? All aspects of communication (verbal & non-verbal)
? Rigidity of thinking & lack of imagination

The curriculum is equipped, keeping in mind the needs & abilities of the child. A functional approach is evolved to problem behaviors. Provisions are made to enroll a young child in the school. Parents are supported to understand the implications of autism & become active advocates for autism. In DEC each teacher works with 3 children per day (for 4 days of week with one day earmarked for review and updating). The organization has covered about 24 children in one quarter and about 100 children in a year.

As and when the children develop adequate learning readiness skills like response to name, sustained eye contact, listening skills, following simple instructions, toilet training and simple motor imitation skills, they are placed in school programmes. This helps parents to evaluate and plan the schools' work with their children. This can be considered as the first stage of empowerment of the parents.

Special Focus

Placement in regular school or special school is done after reviewing the child’s progress. Some extra curricular activities must be practiced with these children.

Smile Foundation and Spastic society of Karnataka has made an attempt to spread smile on children suffering from Autism.

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