I had a course with Mr. Koshy in the starting of second year in which we had to build an Autism Village. That was the first time I interacted with Autistics and I got interested in it.
Autism is a developmental brain disorder which leads to impaired social interaction and communications skills. Most children with autism have a limited range of activities and interests and they have repetitive behaviour. There is no one definite method for all children because each child is different. It is not a disease or mental illness; it’s a developmental disability and typically appears in the first 3 years of life. It affects boys more than girls, though the exact cause is unknown. There are various therapies such as Behaviour, speech language, Applied behaviour analysis, occupational, physical, physio therapy that might help the child.
IMPAIRED SOCIAL INTERACTION/COMMUNICATION-RESTRICTED INTERESTS- REPITITIVE BEAHVIOUR.
I have created a manual that can be used both by parents and the child directly to learn Design softwares. I am focussing on Illustrator for now, and will move onto Flash and Photoshop.
WE NEED TO ACCOMODATE THIER TRAITS, NOT OVERCOME THEM.
The areas I’m trying to counter are:
Unusual distress when routine changes
Repeated words and body movements
In most of the softwares we use, there is a stepwise pattern that we follow to create anything. Thus it focuses on the fact that they will be following the same steps again and again to create something hence will be comfortable.
Slow development of language or not at all (non verbal children)
Prefer to spend time alone
Since they aren’t able to communicate easily, they can use this as a medium to translate how they are feeling. They can draw out the pictures themselves in accordance to how they feel an object should look like and use that to communicate. So a personalised glossary can be made for each child which the parent can look up when they need to understand what the child is saying. Each child is different and hence has different needs.
This can help them communicate with other children as well; a different child might have a different drawing for the same word.
Shows little pretend or imaginative play
It can challenge this; some children might be able to enhance their creativity using these softwares as a tool. It could enhance their interest towards simplistic things such as colour as well.
Obsessive interest in a single topic or activity
If this becomes their area of interest, they can do wonders!
Head by Mrs. Prathibha Karath
(2-2.5 yrs age group)
ITS AN EARLY INTERVENTION CENTRE, not a special need school.
They have manuals for families of children with ASD. They deal with intervention across several domains such as motor, communication, cognitive and social skills are provided within a specific time frame.
AIMS AT INTERGRATION OF THESE CHILDREN IN REGULAR SCHOOLS SUBSEQUENT TO INTENSIVE PRESCHOOL INTERVENTION. Those who aren’t able to develop appropriate skills are then enrolled in special school after 3 years of intervention.
12 children per unit 1:3 ratio of staff to children.
Her response: She felt that it wouldn’t be needed in her institute since the children are too small to comprehend the software. Yet she felt technology was the right the right path.
Her suggestion: Creating a set of computer based books so that the child is comfortable answering questions and the teacher then knows that the child has understood the subject and can be promoted up to the next grade.
Creating a voice modulation software, which responds differently to different sounds created by the child. This is for those children who either whisper or scream and thus get used to their voice and know that screaming is wrong.
Prayas, Spastic Society of Karnataka:
Head by Mrs. Kavita Sharma
(5-18 yrs age group)
ENHANCING LEARNING, COMMUNICATION AND MEANINGFUL OCCUPATION, using indigenous technology based solution.
The project aims at EMPOWERING THE PARENT’S of enrolled individuals along with monthly workshops on awareness related to the existing useful technology based solutions.
2:5 ratio of staff is to children.
Her response: She loves the idea of it and think it’s a manual that can be published ad is willing to do so.
Her suggestion: Each chapter in the end should have a product that can provide them some kind of occupation if possible. The pages shouldn’t be too cluttered, less text more visuals.
Create an I-pad application that is indianised and hence is easily relatable for the Indian children.
Head by Mrs. Jayashree Ramesh
(3- 16 yrs age group)
PROVIDE EDUCATION AND TRAINING TO CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS and hence integrate them successfully into the mainstream by training them to hold regular jobs.
Endeavour to render exceptional love, care, hope and educational assistance to children with special needs to help them develop and utilise their potential. To develop well informed and trained parents and families and create awareness in the community about the disability.
Her response: She thought it was a good idea since she tool feels that technology is what will be used in the future. She’s ready to try it out on her children once the manual is ready. Manual can be used for non verbal children to communicate easily.
Her suggestion: She got me in touch with Akshayee Shetty, a graphic designer by profession who has worked in this field for 8 yrs and is dealing in vocational training and is currently working at Bubbles.
Dr. Koshy, Mrs. Prathibha Karath, Mrs. Kavita Sharma, Mrs. Jayashree Ramesh, Akshayee Shetty, Mrs. Jaishri Iyer, Mrs. Suchitra Narayan, Alannah Dsouza, Mr. Narendra Raghunathan