Empowering Persons with Autism and Families
365telugu.com online news,Fibruary 2,Hyderabad: Conference to unravel and explain enabling meaningful inclusion of every autistic child. Third BMI International Autism Conferenceon February 1-2, 2020.“Will my son talk? Is it only a small delay in speech or does my child have autism? Which expert should I go to? Anxious parents of children with autism will have many of these questions answered at the 3rd BMI International Conference on Autism, a twodaycongress of experts and stakeholdersorganized by Behavior Momentum India Foundation at the Hitex International Convention Center,Hyderabadfrom February 1-2,2020
The conference titled Autism-Diagnosis to Treatment-No Child Left Behind, Enabling Meaningful Inclusion, aims to bring parents, eminent Indian and International behavioral experts, Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Medical experts toone platform to discuss sustainable solution towards inclusion.
The rise in autism is epidemic with a prevalence of 1 in 66 children in India being affected as per reports from INCLEN Institute of Global Health, 2012. The number of children affected is estimated around one crore, which warrants more awareness and better understanding of autism.
Behavior Momentum India Foundation (www.bmi-foundation.org) is a pioneer in educating and empowering children with autism using principles based on the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). With 10 centers, it caters to over 300 children and families affected by autism across India. Established in 2013, It has projects such as sponsoring Education and Early Intervention Services for children from low income families, building a self-sustaining village with residential facilities for adults with autism, creating a skilled pool of frontline therapists, and organizing autism knowledge conferences.
The chief guest was Smt. ShakuntalaGamlin, Secrertary, Ministry of Social Justice and empowerment and Shri. Arvind Kumar, Prinicpal Secretary, MA &UD, Government of Telangana delivered the key note address.Vision.ShreeJagadeeswar, Principal Secretary, Disability commissioner, Govt. of Telangana and Smt. AnuradhaDalmia, Director of NIEPID addressed the audience sharing theirvision.
Excerpts from inaugural addresses
- Ms. ShakuntalaGamlin, Secretary Ministry of Social Justice and empowerment, Govt. of India spoke about the need for moving from a medical model to a medical-rehabilitation model for treating children on the ASD spectrum and Intellectual disabilities. She articulated her vision for the National Health Mission under which “Rashtriya Bal SwasthyaKaryakran(RBSIC)” will use multi disciplinary teams at PHC level to screen all children for developmental disabilities and provide the early intervention series which are imperative. She elaborated on the importance of inclusion at all levels for these children to have a more empowered life with dignity.
- Shri Arvind Kumar, Principal secretary, Govt. of Telangana talked about his dream of having an International Autism Conference in Hyderabad, because of very poor awareness levels in the society and amongst policy makers. He talked about the Government of Telangana commitment to face the epidemic challenges of Autism & Developmental disabilities. Telangana Government, through its BastiDawaKhanas also known as Urban Primary Health Centers (UPHE) will include screening for Autism and Developmental disabilities. The immediate imperative in parallel will be to set up early centers to provide evidence base intervention to affected children and families.
- Shri. M Jagadeeswar, Principal Secretary, Disability Government of Telangana added that the Government will actively collaborate with organisations like NIEPID and Behavior Momentum India Foundation to bring scientific methods and expertise to bear on the problem of developmental disabilities and Autism in Telangana.
- Smt. AnuradhaDalmia, Director of NIEPID recounted how collaboration with the government can help in building institutions to reach services to persons with disabilities. A notable point is that NIEPID has developed a proven and user friendly tool called ISAA (Indian Scale for Assessment of Autism)
Other faculty at the conference included Dr. Jeeson C Unni, Astra Medcity, Kochi, Dr. KarolaDillenburger, Behavior Analyst, from Ireland, Dr. Lina Slim Topdjian, Speech and language Pathologist and Behavior Analyst from USA, Dr. Sheffali Gulati from AIIMS and Dr. PratibhaSinghi from Medanta Hospitals Gurgaon, Dr. Neil Martin, from London along with a few parent professionals such as Dr. AmirisDiPuglia from USA and Sakurako Tanaka from Japan.
The most eminent national and international faculty will conduct workshops, make presentations and participate in panel discussions on topics such as, “First therapies and why?”, “Role of Behavior analysis”, “ADHD myths and facts”, “Adults with Autism, Inclusion in the workplace and community” and “Epilepsy and Autism”.
Following the grand success of the last two conferences, BMI Foundation’s third conference at Hyderabad has nearly 1000 attendees making it the largest International Conference on Autism in Asia. Participants from Siliguri to Kochi in India and from Japan, China, Thailand, Malaysia, and UAE are participating.
Autism is an extremely complex neurological disorder. Very often families receive their initial guidance from a variety of sources. Behavior Momentum India Foundation (www.bmi-foundation.org) initiated the first interdisciplinary conference in India which identified the most renowned experts from both the diagnosis team (Pediatricians, Pediatric neurologists, Developmental pediatricians, & Psychiatrists) as well as the intervention teams (Behavior analysts, Speech & Language pathologists and Occupational therapists) and created a platform for the dissemination of reliable, evidence based information for all parents and professionals. The trustees of BMI Foundation take this opportunity to thank The Government of Telangana for associating with BMI Foundation to bring the 3rd BMI International Autism Conference and NIEPID (National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (Divyangjan) for their collaboration.
Meaningful Change for Autism
Through BMI International Autism Conference, we are aiming to build consensus, bring information for making the right choices and educate the most vulnerable. The conference aims to guide and empower parents, special educators, government officers and professionals working with persons with autism through presentations, workshops, interactive panel discussions, paper and poster presentations.The topics covered include powerful teaching procedures based on the science of Applied Behavior Analysis, enablers for better inclusion in schools and community, reducing challenging and inappropriate behaviors compassionately, scientifically and ethically, and knowing which interventions are safe.
No Child Left Behind: Enabling Meaningful Inclusion
Every parent wants their child to be included in every occasion and every event in the family, school and society without discrimination. However, inclusion can, at times, become an illusion despite the best intentions parents and professionals have for the child, in their heart. One of the factors which needs serious consideration in meaningful inclusion is planning for short term goals with long term terminal goals in mind. Continuous monitoring of progress or the lack of it, reviewing and shifting goal posts and prioritising are necessary. The role of the professional here becomes important. Parents need to become pivots between various professionals and keep everyone’s focus on the child to ensure the child receives therapies and interventions which are evidence based.