Tata Power trust to support India’s first bridgital autism support network

April 4, 2022 0 By Team FM

Tata Power Community Development Trust (TPCDT), as part of its philosophy of holistic and inclusive development, has partnered with the Center for Autism and other Disabilities Rehabilitation Research and Education (CADRRE) to launch ‘PAY AUTENTION – A different mind is a gifted mind’, India’s first bridgital Autism support network, to increase overall awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and help people understand, accept and support individuals with Autism and their parents and caregivers.   

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a neuro-developmental disorder of variable severity, characterised by challenges in social interaction, communication, restrictive or repetitive patterns of behaviour, usually shows the signs during early childhood and lasts throughout an individual’s lifespan. It is the third most common developmental disorder in the world. 

The TPCDT-CADRRE initiative shall pave the way for small towns and rural India to access specialised care and support and help create an auxiliary network of champions for the differently-abled. This platform shall also enable mentoring, skilling and meaningful livelihoods for people with Autism. According to Tata Power Community Development Trust, this project, which is designed around Tata Power’s core CSR objective of ‘Empowering with Care’, is a major milestone in its journey of inclusive growth with focus on equity, equality, diversity, and inclusion. 

Under this initiative, TPCDT and CADRRE aspire to empower parents, caregivers, Anganwadi workers, public health center workers, schoolteachers, staff of social development organisations, and social workers to be the primary identification and support champions and who will augment early intervention for children and young adults with Autism.  

“As a responsible corporate group, we are committed to enabling equitable and balanced growth of the economy and society at large. The vision is to facilitate bridgital connectivity and social infrastructure with better access for all – including differently abled & rural communities. I encourage more and more corporates and influencers to help bridge the divides in our social fabric through such focused social innovation initiatives leveraging the potential of technology,” said N. Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons, while launching the event. 

According to G. Vijaya Raghavan, honorary director, CADRRE,  the PAY AUTENTION Autism support network will be the first step in creating a model that provides access to specialised experts and therapists to the remotest areas of our country. 

“This should become a platform that impacts the lives of countless families impacted by Autism in the next few years,” he added. 

In the first phase, the initiative will primarily focus on supporting children with autism, and subsequently, in the second stage, it will focus on young adults, empowering them with life skills and career readiness. In addition to reaching out to the larger public, the initiative aims to create a support network with community champions like corporates, influencers from disability and CSR space, schools and specialised educational institutions, govt. stakeholders, and NGOs/non-profit institutions. 

The partnership is aimed at creating innovative modules and engaging practices to empower parents to have children screened for autism in the early stages of their life and seek diagnosis if necessary. These appropriate theoretical frameworks on autism are important as they can assist children to live independently in the long run. The pre-recorded content and monthly live seminars on the subject will be initially offered to local partners, schools, social development institutions, and volunteers associated with the Tata Group and around Tata Power operational areas.  

The content is designed and delivered in collaboration with specialists from CADRRE who have expertise in training children with Autism. This project shall create a network of grassroot champions, enable early identification, first-level care, social skills, ways to ease activities of daily living, workshops for sensory & motor development – art and craft, dance, music therapy, physical and mental fitness, communication skills and support for academics. In addition to this, a Toll-free  Autism support helpline  is also launched to provide interactive support and much-needed professional aid for families in need. 

CADRRE offers a wide array of services and programs to meet the requirements of families navigating Autism – including awareness and orientation, diagnosis and assessments, interdisciplinary interventions, family support programs, group therapy, and structured learning programs for students. Recent reviews estimate globally 1 child in every 160 has ASD and correlated disabilities. In India, it is currently estimated that there are over 21.6 lakh people with autism.