Autism Resource Centre is a joint effort of affected parents and friends. In absence of any Government Institution, it has been made exclusively for Children With Autism to provide them required facilities. Most of the activities had been moulded to suit our environment. Training material being used has been prepared at home, being not available. It requires creative thinking, dedication and ingenuity of mind to prepare such material. All the facilities for kids are available here. Counselling and guidance of parents is also carried out. Teachers’/ mothers’ training is also conducted.
During my two month stay in Islamabad this summer, I was gratified to receive an invitation from Qaisar Nadeem, an old friend, to visit the Autism Resource Centre, Rawalpindi. The center is a unique facility established exclusively for autistic children. Though the center was originally started by the parents of affected children, it has now broadened its scope to include, at the time of my visit, education facilities provided for 21 children. Of course, the administrators and organizers of the center hope to expand their facilities to more children as and when more funds become available.
To say that for me it was one of the most overwhelmingly positive experiences would be an understatement. I mean right there in the heart of Pakistan, I was able to see a world-class educational and research center where the teachers and administrators had gone and learned the most contemporary pedagogical techniques and then molded them to their local use. Just the sheer feeling of positive energy, efficient organization of space, and the meticulous individualized record-keeping for each child was simply impressive.
This is a rare personal initiative and needs all our support. The center curriculum relies heavily on parent involvement and in all pedagogical exercises the mothers of the children work with the teacher, which, in my opinion, makes teaching more effective. In this process not only are children benefiting from a highly developed method of teaching but the parents are also being educated in caring for their own children. Autism is not a very well-known disorder in Pakistan and as a result most parents either feel lost or, sometimes, feel ashamed for the behavior of their autistic children.
One mission of the center, therefore, is to create awareness about autism in order to remove the stigma and shame attached to the disorder. That the director and other affected parents have taken it upon themselves to get the required education and credentials to run the center and o teach their techniques to others speaks volumes about their commitment to their cause.
Like most such initiatives, the ARC relies heavily on support from all walks of life. It is, therefore, imperative on us to assist them in any way we can. I strongly urge you to visit their website, their Facebook page and to pass the word about the center to all those you know. Most importantly, I request all of you to help this impressive initiative as best as you can.