Diethono Nakhro pushes for autism acceptance
Dimapur, April 2 (EMN): State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) Diethono Nakhro on the occasion of World Autism Day said that stigma surrounding autism can be removed through proper awareness, created at the grassroots level and by making the education system more inclusive.
However, she maintained that awareness is not enough and ‘the goal is autism acceptance’.
World Autism Day, held on April 2 every year, was celebrated at Jo Foundation Inclusive School, Kohima.
Nakhra said there are still misconceptions and misunderstandings and negative perceptions about disability and lack of awareness in society has created a taboo on disability, an update form DIPR informed.
She said this year’s theme for World Autism Awareness Day- ‘inclusive quality education for all,’ was chosen to draw attention to the disruption of education especially for autistic children due to the pandemic. Despite the numerous constraints that exist, she appreciated the inclusive school for providing quality education to the children.
Nakhro said disability has been a neglected sector, not only by the government but by society. Fortunately, there are improvements taking place, and conversations on disability in various sectors are now visible, she added.
Daniel Thong Solo, Chairman of Jo Foundation Inclusive School, said autism is a disorder that hampers communication and social skills. Autistic people are not able to express their feelings and they have problems understanding other people’s feelings.
He also explained that there are different degrees of autism — mild, moderate, and severe — and early intervention is essential for providing support to autistic people which will give them a better quality of life. Support and therapy can help manage the challenges that ASD poses.
Solo said he and his wife started the inclusive school to help children who had Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) like their son.
Jo Foundation Inclusive School is looking after 34 special needs children with autism, down syndrome, ADHD, intellectual learning disability, speech and hearing impaired, locomotor disability, and dwarfism.
‘Kung-fu demo’ and ‘colourful rainbow’ were displayed by the Jo Foundation students, a special presentation was given by St. Joseph College, Jakhama, and a speech on ‘journey of an affected parent’ was given by Vincent Belho, it added.