As we look back at World Autism Awareness month it was full of major events. This year’s celebrations were marked by “Light it up Blue”. Many buildings around the world were illuminated with blue lights.
It was a special time for the Village too as we formally joined with Autistic Thai Foundation (ATF) to organize and run a three-day Autism Awareness conference. It was our first real collaboration and was very successful as it was attended by over 600 participants representing many provinces throughout the country.
We had local keynote speakers together with speakers from the UK who collectively presented a range of interesting and stimulating topics and recent developments on Autism. “Early Intervention” was outlined by Dr. Prithvi from Northampton University. Kevin Ansley explained the prerequisite for the “Positive Behaviour Approach” which helped us to appreciate the viewpoint of the child with Autism and how to safely handle some of those challenging behaviours.
Arjan Chusak, the President of the Autistic Thai Foundation spoke on the need for more cooperation between private and public organizations to help achieve the conferences goal “Toward Autonomy and Self-Determination” for all people with Autism. I addressed the Village to move away from the “medical model” and the shift towards a more inclusive approach for all people with disabilities, and should we think of it as a difficulty or should we call it a difference, where that difference is valued.
" Hundreds of children and young adults attending the conference were engaged in activities such as Arts & Crafts, OT Games, Communication Games and Cooking Class ran by our team of dedicated teachers and therapists. A big thank you to all the staff and parents who made it a very successful three days. "
– Harshi Sehmar.