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Updated: November 21, 2013 00:22 IST

‘Films should focus on autism’

Harsh Vasani
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A. Madhavi, founder of the Ananya Centre for Special Children addressing the media at the 18th International Children's Film Festival of India in Hyderabad on Sunday. — Photo: K. Ramesh Babu
THE HINDU A. Madhavi, founder of the Ananya Centre for Special Children addressing the media at the 18th International Children's Film Festival of India in Hyderabad on Sunday. — Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

“It is disheartening to see that children with autism are not accepted by society. But here I find that the children have mixed well with their peers and feel included in the mainstream,” says A. Madhavi, founder of Ananya Centre for Special Children, at the 18th International Children’s Film Festival.

At a press conference at Prasad’s IMAX here on Monday, Ms. Madhavi said she was glad that children with autism were part of the film fest.

Pain of rejection

She, however, said that it was disappointing to note that autistic children found it difficult to get admission into schools and that her 14-year-old son too was refused admission by schools.

“They have a unique learning style and don’t need special schools. But since mainstream schools refuse admission, they are left with no option,” she said.

Communication is possible

Maintaining that autism was a spectrum disorder, Ms. Madhavi said she knew children with this disorder who were able to communicate in almost 50 languages.

‘SRK set the trend’

“Films can go a long way in spreading awareness about autism. Shah Rukh Khan’s My Name is Khan is an example. More films should highlight this subject,” she said.

Ananya Centre was started by the Pravara Educational Trust in 2008.

She said the centre helped in early intervention and diagnosis along with specialised education and structured support which helped in maximising skills and achieving full potential for autistic children in adulthood.

To start group home

On her future plans, Ms. Madhavi said she intends to start a group home where adults with special needs can stay and earn their livelihood and also start an old age home for parents of children with special needs.

For more information, volunteering opportunities or to extend donation one can contact the Autism Society of Andhra Pradesh (ASAP)at www.asap.org.in or call 040-64502596.

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