Metro Ride to Raise Autism Awareness
Metro Ride to Raise Autism Awareness
2nd April is celebrated as World Autism Awareness Day throughout the world. The whole idea of celebrating the World Autism Awareness Day lies in creating awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and helping and accepting them in all possible ways. Celebration wave through the world covers itself in blue, the color which symbolises a feeling of calmness and acceptance in a world that can be loud and challenging sometimes. This time the team of “Nirantar Prayas” planned a joy ride in NOIDA metro (India) with their Specially Abled children to celebrate WAAD. Nirantar Prayas is a Non Profitable Vocational Center, run by parents of children with autism and it aims to provide a life of diginity and respect. We could interview Ms. Ripla Kumar about the great step the whole team had taken and were amazed to find the impact this rally had made during the World Autism Awareness Day.
Q-How did the whole idea come up?
A-We at Nirantar Prayas work with Specially Abled young adults and our constant effort is to make them happy by including them in as many activities as possible for mainstreaming. Our motto is to make these children and young adults Visible to the society. People should understand that it is not about differentially abled but it is all about acceptance like everybody. So we came up with the unique idea of ride on a metro. It was like “ lets go where everybody goes and enjoy”.
A- Around 30 students (from age 13 to 25 years) and 20 to 25 school helpers and volunteers from Amity college were there with us. Police help (both males and females) was also taken so that no one is harmed in any way. We got one whole coach of metro filled with our children and volunteers.
Q- Were the children given training before the actual event and how many classes did it take to accustom the children?
A- Yes. The teachers at niratar prayas took a week to make the children comfortable with the idea of ride on a metro by showing pictures and videos. Though everybody knew about MCDonalds and burgers, fries , which made them very happy. Teachers and volunteers made Pluck cards which had quotes and facts about Autism and also about being proud of having a sibling with Autism.
Q-About the journey- places, time?
A- The journey started at around 11:30AM from Metro Station Sector 51, Noida- till Pari Chowk. From Pari Chowk metro station they crossed the road to Ansal Plaza Mall. In mall lobby the children enjoyed a lot they danced, played drums, met with people for small chat. From there they went to Mc Donalds for the meals and then back on to metro till sector 51. After which the children were dispersed to their home. The whole event ended at around 6- 6:30PM.
Q- How was everything managed at the metro station?
A- We had made metro authorities aware of this plan before and the whole metro authority team were very supportive. They were kind and made sure security check was done easily and no stoppage was done to avoid children becoming restless.
Q-What was other parents reaction before were they excited about the whole idea?
A- All the parents were very happy especially when it was all about making people aware about autism and accepting it. Many of them volunteered to accompany and they also sent the children’s siblings to make the program even more successful.4
Q- What was the outlook of CO-passengers? Did they want to talk to the children or the care takers accompanying them?
A- The people first were stunned about what was happening. But later on gave attention to children, they were ready to listen to them and look at them. They were more inquisitive about Autism, about Nirantar Prayas and what exactly do children do at the organisation. Many of them and their children joined in the dance. It really turned out into a great platform for Autism Awareness. People at metro station were also showing positive response and were helping.
Q- Reaction of children?
A– At Niratar Prayas we do take children for outdoor activities like gym, swimming pool and play areas. But this long activity for awareness was first of its own. All the children enjoyed immensely. They happily plunged into snacks and dancing.
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Q- Your outlook towards increasing these interactive activities ?
A- These sorts of activities should be planned more often to make the children be more interactive and it also prepares the society, makes them more sensitive towards Autism and its nature. We need to help society and make less stimulating environment for these children were they can be calm and enjoy all activities at all places too.
The interview ended with a future goals of having more of these awareness programs which will help in mainstreaming children and young adults with Autism.
As the name of Nirantar Prayas embodies a never dying spirit, we at 1SpecialPlace wish the entire team a very good luck for all their future endeavours. May you continue with enthusiasm to make a more inclusive and respectable society for the differently abled!
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