Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth celebrated World Autism Day with a focus on raising awareness of the disorder .
Autism is a life-long disabling condition often accompanied by communication deficits, language and speech impairments, reduced social interaction with stereo typed patterns of behaviours. These clinical manifestations produce either hypo functional or hyper functional conditions due to the genetic, environmental and developmental factors influencing this condition.
The three-day initiative was hosted by the Centre for Music Therapy Education and Research (CMTER), a unit of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth functioning at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute and the Department of Psychiatry. An autism awareness campaign was organised at the Rathna Special School involving parents of all the children with special needs. The faculty and students of CMTER demonstrated to the parents how the children responded positively to music in the areas of attention, social interactions, making purposeful movements and verbal and non-verbal communication.
Dr. Rajkumar, clinical psychologist, Department of Psychiatry, MGMCRI, explained the symptoms which the parents have to notice in their children to go for medical and psychological screening and seek psychological/music therapy services.
The awareness program also focused on how music could be useful to help children in the autistic spectrum.
In fact, CMTER has been regularly conducting outreach programmes at the Rathna Special School and the Life Help Centre for Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Mettupalayam, Cuddalore. The school houses around 70 children for day care facilities and the children are either in the autistic spectrum or having intellectual developmental disability or cerebral palsy. Music Therapy services are regularly offered as a rehabilitative intervention weekly once to these children in order to stimulate attention, engagement, interaction and interactive and reciprocal play and focus on communication and joint social interactions, expression of emotions, promoting pleasure, enjoyment and stimulating creativity and concentration.
There are also music therapy interventions to improve their motor skills. Musical experiences are ways to explore the intense world of their emotions and feelings, said Dr. Sumathy Sundar, Director, CMTER.