As part of the world disability day, on 3rd December, the Bangalore chapter of the autism society of India (ASI) had organized, a visit to Sarla Birla Academy- SBA , which is a residential school for boys . A group of 27 children set off chaperoned by dads, moms, teachers and of course Ruby, the new secretary of ASI. Five special schools participated in this program. The objectives being, one to spread awareness of this Autism spectrum disorder amongst the youth, secondly give the children an opportunity to interact with their peers.
We set out in two buses, and reached the school around 11.30. We were warmly welcomed by both the students and staff alike. The students who welcomed us were from the higher classes the eleventh and the twelfth grades. On arrival we were served refreshments outdoors. I shall be doing injustice if I were not to talk a little about the campus. Fabulous courts, sprawling acres of greenery, a stone garden… the works. The students were extremely courteous, doing everything possible to make us feel welcome.
Ramam kicked off his day by shooting some balls in the basketball court. The refreshments were followed by a welcome address, screening of a Tom and Jerry movie, an impromptu performance by two of our children on stage. This was followed by some fun activities, bursting balloons, colouring, drumming. Each kid was to be assigned a buddy, who was to interact with each child, but as things progressed, they moved in groups.
A lavish lunch followed, a formal vote of thanks was proposed by Saleem, the treasurer of ASI and Ruby. The whole idea appealed to all of us. It would be a sad thing if it would be a one –off event. Probably out of 20-30 students who interacted with our children at least a handful of them would be keener on carrying forward these interactions. I hope it doesn’t remain a one day event on their social calendar. Forget the frills, just shooting some balls into the basket, kicking the ball around, singing, doing all the fun things as chasing a balloon…… (It is more about our kids, because the students have probably outgrown all of this). A bonding is only possible, for our kids only when the frequency of such interactions is higher. Having said all that, it was a fun filled day.
A special word of thanks to Ruby, for having organised it. This is the second such event organized by her that I was attending. The first one being organized by her foundation ALFAA (Assisted living for autistic adults). In both these events she had catered for the children where there were events that they could participate and win prizes. I wouldn’t want to attend a talk knowing Ramam is sitting in some corner, and is lining up.