City to have major center for children with autism

Asia-Pacific, News, July 17 2017

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA: A Centre for Autism and other Disabilities Rehabilitation Research and Education (CADRRE) is being set up in Thiruvananthapuram with the vision to transform the lives of children with autism through best practice principles and family-centered holistic care.

The centre is being set up on the initiative of G. Vijayaraghavan, founder-director of National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH), an autonomous institution under the State government, as a not-for-profit entity with assistance from Chandaria Foundation, UST Global and K.Nandakumar and SunTec Business Solutions as donor patrons and the George M. Thomas Foundation, Trivandrum International School, as donor. It is expected that several other organisations will support this initiative. Mr. Vijayaraghavan will be the honorary director of CADRRE.

The center aims at comprehensive diagnosis and developmental assessment of autism spectrum disabilities, evidence-based personalised appropriate intervention program, development-specific, personalised and structured learning program, monitoring and management and continuous assessment of co-morbidities, sustained family education and support, empowerment of the family to become the primary therapist, fostering of life skills among persons with disabilities to become self-reliant, provision of assistance in mainstreaming to formal education or employment, research and advocacy.

When all the phases of CADRRE are implemented, it will probably be one of the first Institutions in India that will take care of children with autism from diagnosis to rehabilitation and mainstreaming holistically, developing over a period of time to be a centre for education, rehabilitation, research, and support for assisted living for adults with disabilities, Mr. Vijayaraghavan said.

It is planned that by the end of September 2017 CADRRE will start operations in rented premises in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram. The centre is being designed to cater to the needs of up to 50 children in the age group 1.5 years to 16 years and will have extensive indoor and outdoor facilities including play areas. Technology will be used to assist the learning and also for parents to observe their children. Discussions have already been initiated with leading centres in the U.S. to enable the training of the faculty.

Based on the success of the centre here, new centres will be established in two other cities — Kochi or Kozhikode — in phase 1 (4 years) and in other cities in India in Phase 2 (3-6 years). In five years, an independent campus will be built in 10-15 acres of land within 30 km of the capital city.

The campus will, in addition to education and rehabilitation, provide assisted living for adults with disabilities.

Land will be acquired in the 3rd year of operations of CADRRE and construction will be completed over the next 2 years so that the main campus will be ready by the end of the 5th year and will include residential area for 50 ASD persons, residential facilities for 25 technical and non-technical staff to take care of the needs of these 50 persons, occupational area for the 50 residents, and training facility of 10,000 sq. ft., Mr. Vijayaraghavan said.

Source: Hindu

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