BANGALORE: Asha foundation, which provides special education to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, has started several new therapies including horticulture therapy. Unfortunately, the founders say, not many people are aware of the educational advancements to treat children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorders. The foundation comprises three divisions - Asha Integrated School, Asha Rehabilitation Centre and Pregnancy care. They work with a motto to provide special education and therapy to children suffering from multiple disorders like autism, speech, motor functioning delay and others. The foundation is supported by Katharin and Ramesh Vangal who founded the organisation in 2001.
Speaking about the functioning of the foundation, Usha Ramanathan, Head of The Asha Foundation Trust, said, “Every individual has a duty and responsibility to help and accept the differently-abled. The awareness has to be created among the children at the early stages in mainstream schools.”
Expressing her view about speech-related disorders in children, she said, “As both parents go to work, children fail to interact with parents. This is one of the causes for speech related disorders. The speech therapy involves both children suffering from the disorder and their parents by teaching the latter the techniques to interact with their children.”
Monthly parent-teacher meetings are held by foundation where parents give feedback about the functioning and programmes of the foundation. Each therapy conducted in the foundation depends on the severity of the disorder. The foundation also aims to provide holistic programme by admitting those children with mild disabilities in the regular or mainstream schools.
Occupational therapy aims at providing flexible activities of daily living to those children suffering from delayed gross motor activities (walking, running) and fine motor activities (usage of hands for work). Occupational therapist Vyshnavee Mohan Ram, said, “Interacting with children is crucial at all stages. The sensory issues, motor delay and other issues will hinder these children to communicate with people outside which needs to be solved.” Children who are differently-abled are given an opportunity to blend with nature by planting trees and plants, and this therapy is known as horticulture therapy. “Materials are provided to these specialy-abled children. This helps them improve their hand-eye coordination, tolerance and time concept,” said Shaila Hegde, Special educator and Horticulture therapist.