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Indian Express
03 April 2010

On World Autism Day on Friday, the Prasanna Autism Centre located in Deccan area, which was set up to understand the problems of these special children, came up with a unique way of creating awareness – to reach out to several groups of people.

Nearly 20 teachers met members of several laughter clubs early in the morning to talk about autism.

On the other hand, a parent of an autistic child and who also runs a school of children on the autistic spectrum, Dr Sameer Saxena has prepared a basic check list for families of such children. He points out that an amendment has been proposed for the basic disability certificate to primarily ensure that children on the autism spectrum disorder ( ASD ) with normal IQ need not be certified with ‘mental retardation’ and also to redefine the role of ‘Autism’ vis-a-vis “disability/multiple disabilities.” Saxena pointed out that there is a website of the national trust which answers queries like “What will happen to my child when I am no more?” “An autistic child looks normal and hence it is important to create awareness about their condition,” says Padmaja Godbole who is the chairperson of the Padmpurush Foundation’s Prasanna autism centre which was set up in 2000. “We have 40 children who are in the autism centre,” says Godbole pointing out that autism is a severe developmental disorder that begins at birth or within the first two and a half years of life. “Since it is a spectrum disorder the severity of the symptoms ranges from a mild learning and social disability to severe impairment,” says Reena Bhonagiri, special educator. “Autism is not a rare disorder being the third most common developmental disorder, more common than Down’s Syndrome. Typically about 20 in a population of 10,000 will have autistic symptoms,” says Godbole.

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