Observance of Autism Awareness Day

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West Point School, Darjeeling, which takes leadership roles in raising awareness about pertinent issues that affect the society, has been involved in educating the students about autism for several years now.

On 2nd April, the UN-mandated day for Autism awareness, every year on this day, or at least on any other day of the first week of April, the entire school is involved in programmes to raise awareness about autism.

This year, class 10 students from the school spearheaded the initiative in spreading concerns and awareness about children with this serious neurobehavioral condition.

On 6 April, during the special assembly, the class 10 students gave a presentation on Autism through speeches and songs.

The entire school, students and faculty members, had turned up in a beautiful, bright blue dress, to showcase support for children struggling with autism.

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Autism is a severe condition that hinders social interaction, language and communication skills of the sufferers. The children suffering from this have severe disabilities such as rigid or awkward, repetitive behaviours. Autistic children have a very limited normal life as it usually hinders their communication skills. In severe cases, they may not be able to express themselves even through gestures or expressions and also fail to understand what other people feel or think. They may have awkward, repetitious movements like hand flapping or rocking, among others. Some children with autism may also experience seizures. Consequently, what we consider to be normal and easy may be greatly challenging for an autistic child.

Corresponding with TheDC, Ms Mendarawa Pakhrin of West Point school said, “The special assembly was one small step to generate love and understanding for autistic children because in absence of awareness, it is easy to slip into superstition and practices that may be discriminatory.”

“Lack of knowledge about this condition sometimes leads to social stigma and shaming. But autism may affect anyone, irrespective of ethnicity, race or social standing”, she added.

The risk of autism is genetic in certain families. In others, it could be because of the advanced age of the parents or metabolic conditions of the mother such as diabetes and obesity during pregnancy. It could also be linked to alcohol consumption or exposure to chemicals and medicine. Autism is also linked to improper growth or abnormalities in parts of the brain of a child.

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“In order to help create a safe and happy environment for autistic children, the first step is to disseminate awareness and understanding regarding this condition. If we can understand something, there will be no room for superstition and discrimination. We, at West Point School, hope to build a better tomorrow for everyone, especially differently abled and challenged children. We hope that our small step would contribute towards fostering love and understanding for autistic children,” said Ms Mendarawa Pakhrin.

Well done West Point school, keep up the good work


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