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Autism Awareness Workshop at CIS

Autism Awareness Workshop in CIS

“Empowering Differently Abled Club”, an IB student-led club at Canadian International School (CIS), a top school in Bangalore, is aimed to raise awareness and help us understand the needs of those who have different disabilities. Ms. Sha Nigar, from the Association of People with Disabilities (APD) visited our club to aid our learning and understanding of people with disabilities. We saw various videos created by APD, which featured the children with different forms of disabilities being challenged and emerging victorious with support from their environment, and discussed the importance of inclusivity, and how through rehabilitation and support, a person with a physical or mental challenge can overcome their adversity.

The session helped to remind us of the importance of equality and an inclusive approach to learning. People with autism, hearing impairment, thalassemia, haemophilia, and other disabilities, have a right to learn and achieve just like the rest of us. We, as students of a school who value, and want to integrate inclusivity and acceptance, must realise our own role in this, and be able to support those who have challenges. This was exemplified by one of the videos where two children communicated with each other in sign language because one of them was hearing impaired. The other child was motivated to learn sign language to empower her, and through her personal accord and understanding, was able to make sure the challenged peer was included in society. Even though they were very young, the students still have the ability to understand each other and overcome problems themselves. It was heartwarming to see children help each other to such an extent – and dedicate school time to each other to learn together.

Moreover, the session also introduced some of the more difficult aspects for those with disabilities. People often look at those with disabilities as a burden. Families may tend to ignore them and not support them. Children with disabilities are often stigmatized by society lose confidence in their own abilities which can prevent them from going forward in life and achieving what they really want to do – to grow to become independent individuals and functioning members of society.

The session made me and my peers realise the importance of empathising with them – as they still have the ability to grow; they just need to be supported. Some of the problems they experience can also be out of their hands – accidents, problems with the process of birth or birth defects – and this unfairness of life situations made me realise that we live in a world where some of us are privileged with everything. This makes it even more important to contribute to society in our own ways. Thus, this awareness workshop opened our minds and hopefully will help us become more caring and sensitive as we will be soon working with children from a special needs school during CAS, an important component of the IB program.

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