No awareness for autism

Government Health National

Teachers and parents who attended the online autism awareness program organized by The National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities, complained that they got nothing out of the program.

Bhrat Kumar Rathore, Principal of Kutch Special School said the sessions scheduled today could have been of much help to the teachers and parents of autistic children, but nothing concrete came out of the sessions. He said that the government should look into giving better technical assistance for such sessions, instead of just organizing them as a formality.

Doctors and teachers complained that they were compelled by the government to organize the program but no technical assistance was provided to them.

Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) and chairperson of National Trust , , which comes under the Ministry of Social justice and Empowerment ,had to apologize to the  audience for the bad technical service.

Harpreet Kaur Bedi, founder – Autism India Today, Patiala, left the meeting as she was unable to convey her dialogue due to bad services and assistance. She rejoined the meeting after a request by Rajesh Aggarwal.

While Merry Barua, member of Action for Autism was able to convey her message in her given slot, the presenters after her struggled to put out their message. Most of the session was marred with technical glitches.  Two of the presenters had issue with   loading their presentation.

Merry started the session  by explaining what autism is, what its general symptoms are, and the misconceptions associated with it. She went on to discuss the rights of individuals with autism and their families. 

She was followed by Dr. Sheffali Gulati, Head, Child Neurology Department, AIIMS, Delhi, to talk about the recent trends in autism, however, there was a technical glitch during her speech. She pointed out that AIIMS has released a Patient Information Booklet for Autism and the patients and their family can make use of it extensively.

The presenters who followed her faced serious technical issues during their speech. Their screen went blank and their voices  cracked.  Half of the scheduled two hours 45 minutes session, went on with handling technical issues. During the speech by Usha Pattabhiraman, Senior Manager, Enable India, Bangalore, on Employment Opportunities for Persons with Autism in India, her screen froze and even after efforts by Aggarwal,  the issue was not resolved.

Mr. Aggarwal apologized to the participants and said that they  did not get technical assistance from the government and they have no knowledge about online platforms.

The session was supposed to go on till 1:45 p.m. but had to be wrapped up at 1:10 p.m due to technical snag.