April 2 is observed as World Autism Day throughout the world. It is a day marked with unique awareness raising programmes

To mark the World Autism Awareness day and month, Madurai-based Trust “Velvi” has announced a poetry competition for children and adults. In the first category for children from five to 12 years, the themes are My school/ My parents/My brother or sister/My home.

In the second category, for all those above 13 years, the themes are Autism as I see / Autism and Love( your love for anything or any person) My life in the next five years/ My passion.

Length of the poem can be between 300-400 words and the last date for submission is 15 April 2012. There will be three prizes in each category with Rs.3000, Rs.1500 and Rs.1000, as award money. Each person can submit two entries certifying that the poems are original and the writer has autism. The certificate must be signed by a therapist or teacher. Parents are not allowed to sign the certificate. Entries need to be sent by email and only as MS word document to parasuram.ramamoorthi@gmail.com

Dr.Parasuram Ramamoorthi has set up Velvi in 1998 for spreading Awareness about Autism and helping children and adults with Autism through Drama Training and arts- based therapy. It has been the endeavour of Velvi all these years to highlight that Art for Autism is vital for the self-development of children and adults in the spectrum. As part of its objectives, Velvi is also offering a certificate course in Drama For Autism for parents of children with autism, teachers in special needs schools and students of Drama and Special Education. No minimum educational qualification required to apply for the course.

Written in simple English and easy to understand, the course material will be sent once every fortnight along with a short test and assignment. It contains interesting units which includes applied drama, theatre plays, role play, comedy and humour. These help the children build up conversation, make friends and learn about multiple issues.

The course material is based on self-learning mode. Doubts and questions are cleared through email and webinars. There would be a Contact programme at the end of five months and the programme would give an opportunity for learners to meet with tutors and have a practical experience of drama for autism. Attendance at the contact programme is optional. The course material has been designed and prepared by internationally well known experts in the field of Autism and theatre bringing in a rich practical experience of both.

The course starts on July 1, 2012. Admissions close on April 30, 2012. The course fee is Rs.4,000. For other details contact Velvi chairman, Parasuram Ramamoorthi.