MUMBAI: At a time when education policies are being implemented to ensure inclusion in schools, children are still being neglected for being different. On the eve of World Autism Awareness Day, Forum For Autism (FFA), a parents' support group, launched a charter for discussion among parents, experts and lawmakers to put in place a code of ethics as to how children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) should be treated.
"There are close to 2.3 million people with ASD in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, but the facilities given to them are so few. It is becoming difficult to handle the humiliation and mental abuse that our kids face just because they can't express themselves well," said Anand Kumtha, an FFA member.
Parents, who gathered at the conference on Tuesday, also highlighted the better quality of education provided to children with ASD in other countries. "My son was always humiliated in school and called names for being slow. Only after I lived in another country did I realise that my child can be treated with respect," said Babita Raja, parent. "Behavioural problems in kids are treated by other children as funny and often they end up being ridiculed and bullied," said Dr Samir Dalwai, developmental paediatrician.