Unless we talk to Sai Priya, a teenager, it is difficult to make out that she suffers from autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

However, unlike many others, she is quite ambitious and wishes to pursue music as a career, and is keen on learning car driving.

After a series of medical tests conducted over a period of three years, Sai Priya’s adoptive parents came to terms with the fact that the child suffers from ASD.

“She is fond of music and enjoys good food. We don’t mind going the extra mile to see her dreams fulfilled. Our only goal now is to provide her every support and help her be independent,” says Sanyasi Naidu, father of Sai Priya, with tears rolling down his cheeks.

With April being observed as the month of Autism Awareness, representatives of various NGOs, parents, and their children with varying degrees of autism attended the awareness programme titled ‘Speak 4 Autism’ being hosted by Global Aid, an association that works for differently-abled people.

While founder-president of Global Aid Sai Padma and its secretary B. Pragnanand spoke about music therapy and the need to create job opportunities for autistic persons, Usha Nagesh of Sreya Foundation gave a presentation on the challenges faced by autistic children and the impact of life-long focus to treat them as normal persons. Parental involvement in training autistic children plays a vital role.

“Since my son Brian suffers from both cerebral palsy and ASD, there are very limited things that he can do independently. However, I keep him occupied by talking to him constantly. Autistic children deserve respect, unconditional love, and care,” added Ruth, a parent.

Persons suffering from autism deserve respect, say speakers at Global Aid awareness drive