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Nagaland

World Autism Awareness Day 2014 observed in Kohima

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By EMN Updated: Apr 02, 2014 11:58 pm
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Correspondent
KOHIMA, APRIL 2

ALONG with the rest of the world, Jo Foundation Inclusive Play School, Kohima organized World Autism Awareness Day in the school premises on Wednesday.
Speaking on the occasion, director SCERT Nagaland, Vipralhou Kesiezie said that a concrete policy is needed to address problems faced by persons diagnosed with autism. He lamented that while many different rights are being recognized and guaranteed for the people and while the powerful people are fighting to gain more power for their own benefit, the society is forgetting “the voiceless” and people with disabilities, particularly the autistic children who are made to resign and suffer in silence. He said that many people tend to look upon autistic children as unfortunate beings, failing to realize that all are equal human beings and the creation of the same God. He called upon the people not to interpret the inabilities of persons with autism as weaknesses, but as the strength of their parents who altruistically give them care and support while others look away. “Let us show them that we do care for them…They have the right to be heard and to be loved,” the official said.
ENABLE chairperson, Neikule Doulo shared her experiences and the challenges that she face as the parent of a child with autism. She explained about the medical conditions of autistic children and how early diagnosis of autism is crucial. She also explained how, after experiencing the lack of awareness and training programs for parents and teachers, ENABLE was formed in 2007 to cater these to parents with autistic children. She feels that there is a great need for special educators and occupational therapists in the state. Although there are several services and information available on autism, she expressed concern that many parents in the rural areas are not accessible to these facilities. “We need to work more for them,” she said. She also informed that Jo Foundation is a unique centre in the state with a complete inclusive setup.
Students of Jo Foundation enthralled the gathering with a special song entitled ‘Take another Look’ and a choreography performed on ‘Change’.
Others who spoke included state Commissioner for Disabilities, Dr. Atha Vizol, retired director Economics & Statistics, N. Thong and Life Ministries director, Colo Mero while the programme was chaired by Jo Foundation chairman, Daniel Thong Seb.
The governor of Nagaland, Dr. Ashwani Kumar, who was the chief guest, also inaugurated the newly constructed Multipurpose Hall of Jo Foundation, on the occasion.
In his address Dr. Ashwani Kumar underscored that it is every person’s duty to guarantee physical, economic and social security to persons with disabilities. He also stressed on the need for steps to enforce the right for the differently abled to inherit property, to have financial security and to safeguard their future.The governor pointed out that religious institutions also have immense capacity to contribute towards this noble and social cause.
“I think our temples, mosques and churches need to do much more, not only help us change the mindset, thinking and attitude of people but also help us take care of the destitute and needy and those who cannot take care of themselves,” the governor said.
In India, he cited that after the country ratified the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007, and a new bill was drafted to replace the existing Persons with Disabilities Act 1995. The new bill proposes 5% reservation in public sector jobs for the differently abled and has comprehensive provisions to take care of many more concerns such as prevention of harassment and punishment for those violating the rights of the differently abled. “Let us hope the Parliament passes this law after the current elections are concluded,” he asserted.
He also lauded the “enabling measures” taken by parents of autistic children and civil society organizations like the Jo Foundation, ENABLE, Nagaland Association of Parents for Disabled etc. for their courageous efforts in serving the differently abled selflessly. Towards this, he welcomed them to the Raj Bhavan whenever they require any help.
Several government officials also attended the programme including Deputy Commissioner Kohima, W. Honje Konyak, director School Education, Zavei Nyekha, and ADC Chiephobozou, Bodeno among others.

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By EMN Updated: Apr 02, 2014 11:58:51 pm