World Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day 2019
Alokdhara is an Autism friendly school. It is also an inclusive school where children who are both special and ‘normal’ are learning and progressing together. And for us this means two things. Our special children are given a
precious opportunity to interact with other children society considers ‘normal’. At the same time our regular children get sensitised to how some of their peers can be different but not strange. Our hope is this will lay the foundation of an empathy, and an understanding of difference and not a distrust of difference, that they will carry with them life-long helping us create a kinder more caring society. And if there is one gift we can give our future generation – it is this nicer world.
Our dedicated team of teachers help our children blossom not only academically but also nurture other talent. Some of our autistic students are extraordinarily talented. They can be fantastic mimics or pick up notes on the synthesiser in a trice. And while not everyone can be Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rainman they still have special qualities. It is easier for us to identify the talents of normal students. With our dedicated and trained teachers who observe our special students minutely every day we are however able to nudge our special children into directions parents are not always able to identify. We also use pedagogical tools that are backed by the latest research in the field and are implemented according to each child’s specific needs.
It is true that recognition and empathy for these children from mainstream society is relatively higher now than it has ever been but given that our starting point is from a society that simply ignored these children as ‘mad’ we still have a long way to traverse to be a truly ‘inclusive’ society. The movement towards understanding the gravity of the situation and our responsibility towards such special children is gaining momentum even as pressure from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is helping teachers and activists in this field. Our endeavours will constantly be those that create the conditions that help special children to be accepted in our society even while recognising their difference as well as educate and include society in our activities so that we become more accepting of them.