Interview With Akila Vaidyanathan, Director Of Amaze Charitable Trust Part 2

@AMAZE we offer training programs in the areas of
1. About Autism - Basic training /awareness programs
2. Free parent counseling is offered and Seminars on the Importance of parental involvement
3. How to build communication and social skills through structured methods [PECS/ABA/TEACCH/RPM] and Art based therapies [Drama, Movement, Music, Art],
4. Technology based intervention, iPad training and vocational training,
5. How to prevent and manage Challenging behavior using positive behavioral support.
6. How to improve language and academic skills in persons on the spectrum.
7. Training for teachers in inclusive setups to include children with Autism in the classrooms.
8. Customized assessments and program planning and training [parent /teacher] based on individual child
9. Consultation for setting up programs /implementation support for Special schools and teachers /professionals.
10. Any innovative or new methods...Last year we hosted a workshop on Reattach therapy...Dr Paula Barthelomeow from Netherlands and the Velvi festival.



Q) You conduct a unique adventure camp for children with autism, tell us more about that.

Adventure camps for person with special needs especially Autism is a unique experience being offered .This concept was pioneered by The AMAZE Charitable Trust, Coimbatore in collaboration with NALS Outdoors Pvt. Ltd., Coimbatore.

Since 2011 AMAZE in collaboration with NALS have conducted 7 Adventure Camps for children persons with special needs and their Families. Six Camps have been conducted in the NALS Connor Campus and one in the NALS Manila Campus. More than 150 persons have benefited by the camps.

The campsites are set in the serene atmosphere of the Nilgiri hills or the Himalayas. Families find the camps a refreshing outing away from home, packed with activities for young and old, testing their limits of fear and endurance. High rope activities like Burma bridge Sloth walk ,Commando net , Flying fox ,Rock climbing and  Rappelling and Treks keep the children and families engaged and active through the camp duration .The camps are also lots of fun and families develop new friendships and bonds.
Q) Your advice to other autism parents ...
First and foremost I want to say to parents .. It is not your fault  or anyone else’s  that this child has a disorder or inability . Never blame yourself or anyone else for your child’s condition . We now have to “fix the problem …not fix the blame” . You need to quickly overcome the cycle of grieving for your child , blaming or feeling ashamed and move to acceptance and positive action .
Secondly ,while the label “Autism “  or “ADHD” etc., may give a name to his /her challenges , it does not fully define your child . So “Look beyond the Label”  and see them for who they are . Respect them for who they are in spite of their challenges .They  have many abilities, interests, needs and preferences and respect them for that , nurture them with the same care as you would if they did not have a label [ not more /not less].
Third , get involved with your child and his program. Research the disorder and learn about different interventions , train yourself if possible. This is key to the success of the child as while professionals can guide you or your child with techniques , you are going to spend more time with your child and be there consistently in his life even when therapists change or the child grows up. Hence it is important for you to be an empowered parent .
Fourth, never give up on hope ..Some methods may work well with many children but may not work well with your child .Do not compare your child with others ..each child is unique and has a different developmental pace and different set /level of challenges  . The  criteria to measure is if every day he has made progress from the previous day , is he improving even a little and moving towards engagement , learning and  independence .
Lastly , always network with other parents and professionals as they are going to be your “family” from now on , they will understand you and your child best . While the goal is always to integrate our children with mainstream society , it is the parent support groups and professionals who are going to be a “safety net”  for you and your child .
Thank you
Padma Jyothi
Posted in Interviews on May 21 at 07:05 AM

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