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Times of India
02 December 2010
By Kalyani Sardesai
Pune, India

A three–day workshop has been organised from December 17 to create awareness among parents and teachers about autism.

The workshop will be conducted jointly by the KEM Hospital and Sunderji Institutions and the Pune Support Group for Autism. Apart from regular schools, the KEM Hospital and Sunderji Institutions runs an integrated training programme for remedial teachers for children with special needs.

The workshop titled, "What to teach, when to teach and how to teach", will be held between December 17 and 19 at the Deenanath Mangeshkar auditorium between 9.30 am and 5 pm.

Masarrat S Tavawalla, director of Sunderji Institutions, said, "A lot needs to be done to spread awareness and correct information about autism. It is a disorder of early childhood, characterised by severe distortions in multiple aspects of development, caused due to neurological disorder of the brain. It is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around them. It is not a mental illness, nor is it caused due to bad parenting or social deprivation."

Typically, autistic children have communication problems and difficulties with social interaction. "Symptoms such as perceptual problems, problems in establishing self image, lack of awareness of other people’s existence, problems faced in acquisition of language and noninteraction with other individuals, repetitive motor mannerisms are very commonly seen in autistic children. This, in turn results in isolation and extreme emotional expressions such as fear about loud sounds, heights, depth, crying etc," said Tavawalla.

The three–day workshop will cover causes and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Behaviour (ASD); early intervention strategies; behaviour and communication management of children with autism; techniques of sensory integration and exercises for children with autism; how we can engage children with autism; how they can be integrated in schools, curriculum planning, teaching strategies, what/when and how to teach, treatment, complimentary therapies and diet for autistic children.

Tavawalla cautions, "It has been frequently observed that parents coming across articles on autism tend to become anxious and hurriedly label their children even if they detect a single symptom. This should be avoided at all costs."

Some of the speakers at the workshop include director of Action for Autism Merry Barua, developmental pediatricians Vibha Krishnamurty and Archana Kadam, occupational therapist Anjali Joshi, special educator Sunita Lele, clinical psychologists Ujjwal Nene and Bindu Patni and Masarrat Tavawalla.

For registration contact: 020 – 26451425/020 – 26456611.

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