Autism is a developmental disorder of a child characterized by severe deficits in social interaction and communication and by abnormal behavior patterns, such as the repetition of specific movements or a tendency to focus on certain objects. Autism is prevalent world wide and a child may show indications of autism as early as in the first year of life. To create an awareness on how to deal with Autism Mr. Vincent Strully, Founder- New England Children’s Centre (NECC), Boston, USA delivered special lecture at Amity University Campus, Sector-125 Noida.
Mr. Aseem Chauhan, Chancellor – Amity University Rajasthan & Addl. President – Ritnand Balved Education Foundation and Dr. Alka Mudgal, Head – Amity Institute of Education welcomed Mr. Vincent Strully.
While delivering his talk, Mr. Vincent Strully said that autism is a neurological disorder appeared due to variety of reasons and people often mistake Autism as a mental disorder. People suffering from autism may be slow learners but as Albert Einstein has proven, they do have brilliant minds. Around 1 in 150 people in the world and 1 in 88 children in USA are Autistic. Mr. Strully said that there is no blood test to detect autism. The first signs of autism usually appear before a child is three years old and only with early detection of this disorder can help a child lead his full potential. Presenting the indicators of autism detection, Mr. Strully said that if there is no babbling, no gesturing like waving/ pointing by 12 months or can not speak single word like baba or boo by 16 months than proper diagnosis is must for the child. No single treatment is best and treatment is typically tailored to the child's needs. Families and the educational system are the main resources for treatment. While briefing the audience about New England Children’s Centre (NECC), Mr Strully said that NECC is a private, nonprofit autism research and education center dedicated to transform the lives of children with autism worldwide through education, research, and technology. NECC has developed Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia (ACE) alongwith Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to treat hundreds of autistic persons in the age group of 3-22 years. With the child and teacher ration of 1:3, the specialized program includes direct observation, evaluation and treatment.
While answering the query regarding the role of government to bring the autistic person in mainstream, Mr. Strully said that government role is to first develop specialized graduate programs of teachers who can treat the special children. It requires commitment from government and society to have trained persons and specialized schools. Mr. Strully invited Amity to establish centers of training for teachers. He also offered young faculty members to join their initiatives in USA.
Mr. Aseem Chauhan, Chancellor – Amity University Rajasthan & Addl President – Ritnand Balved Education Foundation said that India is very unique country with great potential and own set of problems. Addressing the problem of autism, Mr Chauhan said that due to lack of basic equipment and improper diagnosis of autism, the disorder is growing. In India symptoms of autism are usually ignored by parents and are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed by many medical professionals, which is the reason for the higher numbers in the country. Mr. Chauhan said that Amity has established Amity Foundation for Developmental Disabilities which will prove to be the first step towards the special education for disables.
Dr. Alka Mudgal, Head – Amity Institute of Education said that education sector is trying to find ways to deal with children suffering from autism. Dr Mudgal said that our country has many special schools for disabled but the facilities required by autistic children are still insufficient. Since they find it difficult to express themselves socially, often it is seen, that teachers are not confident enough of teaching them. There is an urgent need to have trained teachers who make them feel comfortable and teach them more of social skills rather than bookish knowledge.
Prof. J.P. Singh, Chairman - Amity Foundation for Developmental Disabilities, Ms. Catherine - New England Children’s Centre- Boston; faculty members, students of Amity Institute of Education, Senior officials of Amity University were present during the special lecture.