Goa is no stranger to Sethu and the great work that they do. Founded in 2005, the center has worked with children that have developmental, behavioral, emotional and educational challenges. There are many children in Goa that have been diagnosed with autism. Sethu works tirelessly with them to help them function in their surroundings with as little resistance as possible. However, their center could not accommodate the number of children that they were trying to help and the need for a bigger and better-equipped one arose. And that is how AATISH was born.
AATISH – A blessing for kids with autism
November 3rd was a joyous day for those at Sethu. The AATISH center opened its doors with an inauguration ceremony that was full of cheer and happiness, humor and emotion.
The center, located in Socorro, close to Sethu’s premises, is specifically designed to help kids that have autism. It offers a range of facilities such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, behavior therapy, social skills intervention, counseling for parents and assessments for these special children.
The inaugural event was well attended with the Caritas team, the Sethu team, people with autism and their families, the media and other well-wishers showing their support for this awesome space. The chief guests for AATISH’s inauguration were Aditya Sundaram and Nigel de Souza who inspired the audience while sharing their experiences with autism.
Andre Velho, Autism Interventionist and Behaviour Therapist and one of Sethu’s most dedicated members spoke at the inaugural. He said, “One out of 68 children is diagnosed with autism and there are over 15 million children with autism. It is hard to get the exact figures but the number is increasing and therefore there is a need to help and intervene.”
And this is exactly what the center has been set up for. He added, “At this center, we will try and help as many as children we can. We charge a nominal fee if they are unable to pay. We will help them through our trust, we never deny anyone.”
What AATISH embodies
The name ‘AATISH’ was carefully chosen, to convey 7 important messages in 7 special letters.
Autism – AATISH has been created for children with autism, their families, teachers and anyone who cares for them. We are out of space at the current Sethu Centre and so we decided to start a satellite facility to support over 300 children with autism that visit us every year.
Advocacy – AATISH is here to help people with autism and their families express themselves in a safe, respectful space, where they can avail of our services, information, knowledge, and experience to make decisions about their own lives and their children’s lives.
Training – We cannot work in isolation. Parents are the experts on their children and through training, can be empowered to support their children at home with confidence. We also work tirelessly to impart in teachers our belief in inclusion so that ALL children can learn, play, eat and BE together
Intervention – Our interventions use internationally recognized methods of treatment to impact children’s lives and to assist and educate the community about autism.
Support – From the moment a child and family walk into our center, we wish that they feel accepted, valued and respected. We want AATISH to be a space where any person knows that they have access to any form of support we have to offer, no matter from where they may come.
Hope – Children with autism are capable of great change. AATISH is here to tell parents that they do not have to accept the limits that society places on their children.
A commendable job indeed
What Sethu has done for children with autism is highly appreciated and even the chief guests had high praise for the team. Said Aditya Sundaram, “The work done by Sethu is quite good and they have been extensively working towards helping children with autism which is commendable.”
And it’s no small feat to accomplish what they have done, either. AATISH was the result of hard work and lots of dedication from a team that ranged from architects, carpenters, painters, electricians, volunteers and so many wonderful people that wanted to do their bit in helping Sethu create a safe and happy space for children with autism.
The Navhind Times
Andre Velho – taken from Sethu’s page on Facebook