Autism under the archlights

The event in question is a musical titled, Gandhi, a 40-minute musical about the life of the Father of Nation, in commemoration of his 150th birth anniversary.

Published: 29th June 2019 06:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th June 2019 10:29 AM   |  A+A-

(Top&above) The autistic kids who are part of the musical Gandhi to be showcased at IIC on June 30

Express News Service

If you are working with special needs children or are the parents to one, drop in at the India International Centre (IIC) this Sunday. You will not only get to witness what these kids can do but also get useful information on the importance of teaching them skills so they can lead a productive life.

The event in question is a musical titled, Gandhi, a 40-minute musical about the life of the Father of Nation, in commemoration of his 150th birth anniversary. It is presented by The Coloured Zebra (TCZ), a social impact enterprise located at Old Rajinder Nagar. About 20 autistic children between 12 and 20 years old, with learning and intellectual disabilities and four underprivileged children from NGO Gali Pathshala will act in the musical. A highlight will be two autistic children performing on the tabla and drums.

“The idea behind taking a mix of children is to sensitise them to the needs of each other as well as give them an opportunity to make new friends,” says Prerna Gupta, who along with her mother Vandana Sehgal runs the TCZ. Sehgal, a special educator, set up TCZ in 2006.

Therapy Through Theatre (TTT), informs Gupta, is one of TCZ’s main programmes for imparting requisite skill sets and training to special needs kids. She says, “It helps children gain self-confidence, shed their stage fright and express themselves freely. At the rehearsals, we work on their body posture – like standing and sitting erect.”

While there’s no cure for autism, autistic children can lead normal lives if given proper guidance and training. “A play involves lots of physical and mental activity. When given different roles to play, children learn to concentrate (mental activity) and move their body as per the demand of the role (physical activity), which stands them in good stead in life,” Gupta says, pointing that parents should look at turning their special needs children into entrepreneurs rather than job-seekers. “We have to really rise above teaching envelope and candle-making to these kids,” says Gupta listing baking, flower arrangement and photography as three courses that special children can learn.

Autism expert Indu Chaiswal will also give a talk titled,Way to a Happy & Productive Life: Skill Development.

At: June 30, 2:00pm

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