A campaign to enhance the Autism Support Network and raise awareness is called “Pay Attention”
Tata Power and CADRRE have created the first digital autism support network in India, called Pay Autention.
On April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, India’s first digital autism support network, “Pay Autention” – A different mind is a gifted mind, was successfully launched. The programme is continuing its series of workshops and awareness-building efforts within regular child care ecosystems, particularly in underserved areas of the nation. In order to teach basic identifying signs and behaviour patterns for early detection of the Autism Spectrum and related learning differences, the experts led an interactive workshop with Anganwadi workers, government employees, and parent groups from the Trombay district.
At this event, additional strategic synergies with Tata Power’s Adhikaar programme, which supports support for access to social welfare programmes for the disabled, were also announced.
Pay Autention, India’s first digital autism support network created by Tata Power in partnership with The Centre for Autism and other Disabilities Rehabilitation Research and Education, aims to strengthen the autism support network by raising public awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and assisting people in understanding, accepting, and supporting both people with autism and their parents. This is in line with Tata Power’s overall CSR vision of “Powering Transformation.” Nandita Nayer, Head of Research Program and Head of Psychology, CADRRE, led the workshop in Trombay.
A number of awareness programmes are being carried out as part of the Pay Autention initiative to empower residents of small towns and rural India by providing them with access to specialised care and support and assisting in the development of an auxiliary network of champions for the differently-abled. To improve autism acceptance and quality of life in our target communities, Tata Power has held similar awareness events in Maithon, Jharkhand, in April 2022, as well as numerous additional online workshops for play, dance, and music treatments.
Through knowledge sharing, forming of alliances, and outreach to grassroots groups, the programme seeks to enhance the Autism Support network.
The goal is to establish a network of advocates who can identify the earliest indications of autism in toddlers, sensitively and expertly explain to parents the need for a diagnosis, and assist them in realising the value of both early diagnosis and intervention as well as multidisciplinary intervention. The interactive workshop was attended by more than 75 Anganwadi workers and parents, who are now better equipped to build the Autism Support Network and advance the cause of community awareness. The Anganwadi workers are representatives of the M East Ward slum communities, who are now empowered to raise awareness for the more than a lakh slum residents they assist.
A neuro-developmental disorder of varying severity known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterised by difficulties with social interaction, communication, and restrictive or repetitive patterns of behaviour. Symptoms of ASD typically appear in early childhood and persist throughout a person’s lifetime. It ranks as the third most prevalent developmental condition worldwide.
The long-term goal of this programme was articulated by Ms. Foram Nagori, CSR Head of Tata Power: “Tata Power has always been devoted to inclusive social development in its surrounds. In particular, Pay Autention wants to work with its network partners to enable more early identification and support through knowledgeable and equipped Anganwadi workers, ANMs, primary school teachers, and parents groups, particularly in small-town India. Pay Autention also wants to facilitate, train, and certify auxiliary networks of inclusivity champions in key regions.
The goal is to closely collaborate with government ecosystems, other specialists, and influencers to promote standard child care, schooling, and educational systems so they can be more inclusive and supportive of learning diversities.
“We are thrilled to be able to expand our expertise and experience with children with Autism to the many communities in India, like Maithon and Trombay,” continues G. Vijaya Raghavan, Honorary Director CADRRE. We are happy that, thanks to Tata Power, community champions have been given the authority to further raise awareness of this neurodevelopmental condition. Since there is little public awareness of autism, many people in our society live with this invisible disability in silence without knowing what it is or where to turn for professional assistance.
“This training helped all of us to gain a better understanding of the requirements of kids with autism. Additionally, it promotes acceptance, professional as well as peer support, and learning how to enable a child with autism to live an independent life. Said Swati Thombare, a participant in the initiative and the anganwadi supervisor for Chembur.
The Pay Autention initiative’s initial phase largely focuses on aiding autistic children, and its following second stage will concentrate on young adults, equipping them with life skills and employment preparedness.
The programme seeks to engage the general public as well as community champions such as corporations, thought leaders in the disability and CSR spaces, schools and specialised educational institutions, government stakeholders, and NGOs/non-profit organisations. The project provides local partners, schools, social development organisations, and volunteers connected to the Tata Group and in the vicinity of Tata Power operational zones with pre-recorded content and monthly live seminars on the topic.
Together with experts from CADRRE with experience in educating children with autism, the content is created and presented. By enabling early identification, first-level care, social skills, strategies to make daily tasks easier, workshops for sensory and motor development (such as art and craft, dance, and music therapy), this project will establish a network of grassroots champions.
Through the development of a network of grassroots champions, early detection, first-level care, social skills, methods to make daily tasks easier, workshops for sensory and motor development—including art and craft, dance, and music therapy—physical and mental fitness, communication skills, and academic support—are all goals of this project. In addition, a website (https://www.tatapower.com/sustainability/social-capital/pay-autention.aspx) and a toll-free autism support helpline (1800 2099 488) have been established to offer families in need interactive support and critical expert assistance.
Including awareness and orientation, diagnosis and assessments, interdisciplinary interventions, family support programmes, group therapy, and structured learning programmes for students, CADRRE offers a comprehensive range of services and activities to fulfil the needs of families navigating autism.