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AwarenessSaathi

The Art Event for Autism- Kabir Vernal’s Solo Art exhibition

Celebrating Creativity and Inclusivity: The Art Event for Autism- Kabir Vernal’s Solo Art exhibition

In a world where every stroke of a brush, every splash of color, and every artistic expression holds the power to transcend barriers and connect us on a profound level, the recently held Art event for Autism organized by the Maqaam Foundation, in association with SpecialSaathi and several other organizations dedicated to the Special Needs community, was a testament to the magic of art and the strength of unity.

This extraordinary event was a celebration of talent, inclusivity, and the remarkable journey of a young Neurodivergent artist, Kabir Vernal, who at the tender age of 12, showcased his fabulous artworks to the world. The event took place in the vibrant city of New Delhi, where art enthusiasts, advocates for neurodiversity, and supporters of inclusion gathered to witness a truly remarkable solo art exhibition.

Artwork by Kabir Vernal



Kabir Vernal’s journey as an artist is nothing short of inspiring. His artworks, displayed at the event, were a vivid reflection of his unique perspective on the world. Every stroke on canvas seemed to tell a story, convey an emotion, or offer a glimpse into theintricate workings of his creative mind. His pieces of art not only left a lasting impression on the viewers but also challenged preconceived notions about the abilities of neurodivergent individuals.

Chief Guest with Guests of Honor

SpecialSaathi team, led by the dedicated Founder Shilpi Mayank Awasthi, and the other team members including Ms. Shivanie Kapoor Founder and Head Motivation and Kabir’s mother Triveni Goswami Vernal herself played a pivotal role in making this event a resounding success. Shilpi, a Guest of Honor, a support partner, and a speaker in the awareness program, brought her insights, experience and passion for the special needs community to the forefront. Her presence was a testament to the collaborative spirit that defined this event.

Shilpi Mayank Awasthi and Shivanie Kapoor



The awareness program held during the four-day event (16th- 19th September) was a crucial component. It aimed to shed light on the challenges faced by individuals with Autism and the importance of fostering an inclusive society. During this program, various autism advocates, with their deep understanding of these issues, delivered a heartfelt and impactful message, reminding everyone that true progress lies in our collective efforts to embrace diversity.

Guests at awareness program

As we celebrate the success of the Art event for Autism, it is imperative to pause and express our deepest gratitude to Triveni Goswami Vernal. Her tireless efforts, boundless dedication, and sheer determination have been the driving force that has propelled us forward on this journey. She’s been the woman behind the scenes, running the whole show effortlessly. You have tirelessly worked behind the scenes, ensuring that every detail of the Art event for Autism fell into place seamlessly.

As we move forward, let us thank other extremely important individual Niyaz Hussain, the Founder of the Maqaam Foundation. With his unwavering commitment to empowering underprivileged children of Delhi Slums and individuals with various disabilities and other special needs, he orchestrated and curated this event to provide the platform for Specially-abled artists like Kabir to shine. By doing so, Niyaz demonstrated that art knows no boundaries and that talent can flourish regardless of one’s neurodiversity. So, on behalf of everyone who has been touched by your presence, your dedication, and your support, we at SpecialSaathi extend our heartfelt thanks and deepest gratitude. You are the embodiment of strength, resilience, and love, and we are privileged to have you as a guiding light on this incredible journey.

Niyaz Hussain and Shilpi Mayank Awasthi


The Art event for Autism was not just about appreciating art; it was about recognizing the immense potential within the special needs community and the need to create a more inclusive world. It served as a reminder that when we come together with a shared vision, we can create transformative change.

As the colors on Kabir Vernal’s canvas blended to create masterpieces, so did the efforts of Maqaam Foundation, SpecialSaathi, and other organizations unite to paint a brighter and more inclusive future. This event was a beacon of hope, a celebration of diversity, and a powerful statement that when we celebrate uniqueness, we unlock boundless creativity and potential.

Niyaz Hussain, Triveni Goswami Vernal and the artist Kabir Vernal

The Art event for Autism was a resounding success, leaving an indelible mark on all who attended. It celebrated the creative spirit of a young artist, showcased the power of collaboration, and ignited a flame of awareness and inclusion that will continue to burn brightly. It was a testament to the fact that art, unity, and compassion can change the world, one brushstroke at a time.

We thank the media partner of this event Voice4ability for the coverage of the event.

The brilliant artworks of Kabir in a beautiful Catalogue (PDF format) can be viewed here- https://specialsaathi.com/art-for-autism-an-autism-awareness-program/

Thank you for Reading!!

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi
Founder SpecialSaathi

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BloggerSaathi

Navigating Puberty and Adolescence in Autistic Children

Navigating Puberty and Adolescence in Autistic Children: Some Practical Strategies, Tips to Support them


Puberty is a natural and crucial phase of development that all children go through as they transition into adolescence and adulthood. However, for children with disabilities like- autism spectrum disorder (ASD), puberty can present unique challenges that require careful attention and understanding from parents, caregivers, and educators. As the physical, emotional, and social changes during puberty can be overwhelming, recognizing and addressing puberty issues in children with autism is of utmost importance to ensure their well-being and smooth transition into adulthood.

The physical, emotional, and social changes that come with Puberty and adolescence phase of life can intensify the unique struggles faced by autistic individuals. In this blog, we will explore practical tips and strategies to help address the issues that autistic children may encounter during puberty and adolescence, fostering a supportive and nurturing environment for their growth and development.


Understanding Puberty in Children with Autism:

Puberty is typically marked by the onset of physical changes, hormonal fluctuations, and emotional development. For children with autism, this phase can be particularly challenging due to their difficulties with communication, social interactions, and sensory processing. Some common characteristics of autism, such as rigidity in routines, difficulty understanding social cues, and sensory sensitivities, can exacerbate the impact of puberty.

Recognizing Puberty-Related Challenges


1. Communication Difficulties: Children with autism may find it challenging to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns related to puberty. This can lead to increased frustration, anxiety, and behavioral issues.

2. Social Isolation: Puberty often brings about changes in peer relationships, and children with autism may struggle to navigate these complex social dynamics. As a result, they might become more isolated or face challenges in forming and maintaining friendships.

3. Sensory Sensitivities: The sensory processing differences common in autism can make physical changes associated with puberty, such as increased body hair, changes in body odor, and developing breasts, even more distressing for some children.

4. Understanding Personal Boundaries: With puberty comes a heightened awareness of personal boundaries and privacy, which can be challenging for children with autism who may have difficulties understanding social norms.

Strategies for Addressing Puberty Issues in Children with Autism:

Puberty is a time of immense change and growth, and it can be particularly overwhelming for our children. By recognizing the challenges these children may face during this phase, we can better address their needs and provide appropriate support. Clear communication, social skills training, sensory integration techniques, and a supportive environment are essential elements to help children with autism navigate puberty with confidence and develop into happy, healthy adults. With patience, understanding, and the right resources, we can ensure that children with autism embrace this developmental milestone with greater ease and achieve their full potential. Let’s see some tips and strategies-

1. Early, Clear and open Communication: Start discussing puberty-related topics early and use clear,concise and simple language to explain the changes that will occur and they will experience during puberty, both physically and emotionally. Visual aids, social stories, role-playing and educational videos can be effective tools to enhance understanding and navigate these changes better. Maintaining open and honest communication with your autistic child is really crucial.


2. Establish Routines and Predictability: Maintaining predictable routines can provide a sense of stability and security during this period of change. Using visual schedules can help children with autism anticipate what’s coming next.


3. Social Skills Training: Puberty and adolescence bring about complex social dynamics. Implement social skills training tailored to their specific needs, to help children with autism navigate social situations and build positive relationships. Role-play scenarios related to puberty and practice social cues to help them understand social interactions better, fostering meaningful relationships with peers can be particularly beneficial.

4. Sensory Integration Techniques: Recognize and address sensory sensitivities by providing sensory breaks and offering sensory-friendly hygiene products to minimize discomfort during physical changes. Autistic individuals often have sensory sensitivities. As their bodies change, these sensitivities can become more pronounced. Create sensory-friendly spaces where they can retreat when overwhelmed. Introduce sensory tools like fidget toys, weighted blankets, or noise-canceling headphones to help them cope with sensory challenges.


5. Educate Peers and School Staff: Foster a supportive environment by educating classmates and school staff about autism and puberty-related challenges. Encouraging empathy and understanding can help reduce bullying and promote inclusion.

6. Personal Hygiene Education: Teaching personal hygiene routines is essential during adolescence and puberty phase. Break down hygiene tasks into smaller steps, using visual schedules and rewards to reinforce positive habits. Incorporate sensory-friendly grooming products to minimize discomfort.

7. Emotional Regulation: Help your child develop emotional regulation strategies. Encourage them to express their feelings through art, writing, or sensory activities. Introduce mindfulness techniques to promote self-awareness and emotional well-being.

8. Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Review: If your child has an IEP, ensure that it is updated to address their changing needs during puberty and adolescence. Collaborate with educators and therapists to tailor goals and interventions that support their social, emotional, and academic growth

9. Transition Planning: Prepare your child for upcoming transitions, such as changing schools or post-high school plans. Gradually expose them to new environments and routines to reduce anxiety. Visit new locations, meet new people, and discuss expectations well in advance.

10. Addressing Bullying and Peer Relationships: Bullying can be particularly distressing for autistic children. Teach them how to recognize and respond to bullying behaviors, and encourage assertiveness training. Foster positive peer relationships through shared interests and group activities.

11. Self-Advocacy Skills: Empower your child to advocate for their needs and preferences. Teach them to communicate their boundaries and preferences to peers, educators, and caregivers, helping them develop a strong sense of self-advocacy.

12. Family and Professional Support: Reach out to support groups, therapists, and autism organizations for guidance and assistance. Connect with other families facing similar challenges to share experiences and learn from one another. Seek guidance from healthcare professionals and autism specialists who can provide tailored advice and strategies based on the child’s individual needs.

Puberty and adolescence present unique challenges for autistic children, but with the right strategies and support, these difficulties can be navigated successfully. By fostering open communication, providing sensory support, focusing on social skills, and offering emotional guidance, you can help your child embrace this transformative phase with confidence and resilience. Remember that every autistic individual is unique, so tailor your approach to suit your child’s specific needs and strengths. Together, we can create an inclusive and supportive environment where autistic adolescents can thrive.

Hopefully you will find this blog useful and relevant. Do leave your comments and valuable feedback.

Thank you for reading!

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi
Founder SpecialSaathi

Categories
BloggerSaathi

Recognizing and Addressing Puberty Issues in Children with Autism

Navigating Puberty and Adolescence: Practical Strategies for Supporting Autistic Children



Puberty is a natural and crucial phase of development that all children go through as they transition into adolescence and adulthood. However, for children with disabilities like- autism spectrum disorder (ASD), puberty can present unique challenges that require careful attention and understanding from parents, caregivers, and educators. As the physical, emotional, and social changes during puberty can be overwhelming, recognizing and addressing puberty issues in children with autism is of utmost importance to ensure their well-being and smooth transition into adulthood.

The physical, emotional, and social changes that come with Puberty and adolescence phase of life can intensify the unique struggles faced by autistic individuals. In this blog, we will explore practical tips and strategies to help address the issues that autistic children may encounter during puberty and adolescence, fostering a supportive and nurturing environment for their growth and development.

Understanding Puberty in Children with Autism:
Puberty is typically marked by the onset of physical changes, hormonal fluctuations, and emotional development. For children with autism, this phase can be particularly challenging due to their difficulties with communication, social interactions, and sensory processing. Some common characteristics of autism, such as rigidity in routines, difficulty understanding social cues, and sensory sensitivities, can exacerbate the impact of puberty.

Recognizing Puberty-Related Challenges:
1. Communication Difficulties: Children with autism may find it challenging to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns related to puberty. This can lead to increased frustration, anxiety, and behavioral issues.

2. Social Isolation: Puberty often brings about changes in peer relationships, and children with autism may struggle to navigate these complex social dynamics. As a result, they might become more isolated or face challenges in forming and maintaining friendships.

3. Sensory Sensitivities: The sensory processing differences common in autism can make physical changes associated with puberty, such as increased body hair, changes in body odor, and developing breasts, even more distressing for some children.

4. Understanding Personal Boundaries: With puberty comes a heightened awareness of personal boundaries and privacy, which can be challenging for children with autism who may have difficulties understanding social norms.

Strategies for Addressing Puberty Issues in Children with Autism:

Puberty is a time of immense change and growth, and it can be particularly overwhelming for our children. By recognizing the challenges these children may face during this phase, we can better address their needs and provide appropriate support. Clear communication, social skills training, sensory integration techniques, and a supportive environment are essential elements to help children with autism navigate puberty with confidence and develop into happy, healthy adults. With patience, understanding, and the right resources, we can ensure that children with autism embrace this developmental milestone with greater ease and achieve their full potential. Let’s see some tips and strategies-


1. Early, Clear and open Communication: Start discussing puberty-related topics early and use clear,concise and simple language to explain the changes that will occur and they will experience during puberty, both physically and emotionally. Visual aids, social stories, role-playing and educational videos can be effective tools to enhance understanding and navigate these changes better. Maintaining open and honest communication with your autistic child is really crucial.


2. Establish Routines and Predictability: Maintaining predictable routines can provide a sense of stability and security during this period of change. Using visual schedules can help children with autism anticipate what’s coming next.


3. Social Skills Training: Puberty and adolescence bring about complex social dynamics. Implement social skills training tailored to their specific needs, to help children with autism navigate social situations and build positive relationships. Role-play scenarios related to puberty and practice social cues to help them understand social interactions better, fostering meaningful relationships with peers can be particularly beneficial.


4. Sensory Integration Techniques: Recognize and address sensory sensitivities by providing sensory breaks and offering sensory-friendly hygiene products to minimize discomfort during physical changes. Autistic individuals often have sensory sensitivities. As their bodies change, these sensitivities can become more pronounced. Create sensory-friendly spaces where they can retreat when overwhelmed. Introduce sensory tools like fidget toys, weighted blankets, or noise-canceling headphones to help them cope with sensory challenges.


5. Educate Peers and School Staff: Foster a supportive environment by educating classmates and school staff about autism and puberty-related challenges. Encouraging empathy and understanding can help reduce bullying and promote inclusion.

6. Personal Hygiene Education:
Teaching personal hygiene routines is essential during adolescence and puberty phase. Break down hygiene tasks into smaller steps, using visual schedules and rewards to reinforce positive habits. Incorporate sensory-friendly grooming products to minimize discomfort.

7. Emotional Regulation:
Help your child develop emotional regulation strategies. Encourage them to express their feelings through art, writing, or sensory activities. Introduce mindfulness techniques to promote self-awareness and emotional well-being.

8. Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Review:
If your child has an IEP, ensure that it is updated to address their changing needs during puberty and adolescence. Collaborate with educators and therapists to tailor goals and interventions that support their social, emotional, and academic growth.

9. Transition Planning:
Prepare your child for upcoming transitions, such as changing schools or post-high school plans. Gradually expose them to new environments and routines to reduce anxiety. Visit new locations, meet new people, and discuss expectations well in advance.

10. Addressing Bullying and Peer Relationships:
Bullying can be particularly distressing for autistic children. Teach them how to recognize and respond to bullying behaviors, and encourage assertiveness training. Foster positive peer relationships through shared interests and group activities.

11. Self-Advocacy Skills:
Empower your child to advocate for their needs and preferences. Teach them to communicate their boundaries and preferences to peers, educators, and caregivers, helping them develop a strong sense of self-advocacy.

12. Family and Professional Support:
Reach out to support groups, therapists, and autism organizations for guidance and assistance. Connect with other families facing similar challenges to share experiences and learn from one another. Seek guidance from healthcare professionals and autism specialists who can provide tailored advice and strategies based on the child’s individual needs.

Puberty and adolescence present unique challenges for autistic children, but with the right strategies and support, these difficulties can be navigated successfully. By fostering open communication, providing sensory support, focusing on social skills, and offering emotional guidance, you can help your child embrace this transformative phase with confidence and resilience. Remember that every autistic individual is unique, so tailor your approach to suit your child’s specific needs and strengths. Together, we can create an inclusive and supportive environment where autistic adolescents can thrive.

Hopefully you will find this blog useful and relevant. Do leave your comments and valuable feedback.

Thank you for reading!

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi
Founder SpecialSaathi

Categories
BloggerSaathi


Can people with autism play video games?

Can people with autism play video games? And if they can, how do they show their emotions or express their need to play?



Yes, many individuals with autism can enjoy video games, but each person’s experience is unique. Here’s a more detailed explanation;

Structured Environment- Video games have clear rules and routines. This structure is comforting for people with autism who like predictable patterns.

Sensory Stimulation- Some people with autism are sensitive to sensory input. Video games can be adjusted for sights and sounds, helping manage sensory overload.

Visual Learning- Many autistic individuals are visual learners. Video games use visuals like puzzles, which match their learning style.

Safe Social Interaction- Online games provide controlled social interaction, reducing challenges faced in face-to-face situations.

Repetitive Behaviors– Some with autism have repetitive behaviors. Video games can offer a focused outlet for these behaviors.

Differences Matter
Interests- Just like anyone else, autistic people have varied interests. Some love video games, others might not. We should respect their preferences.

Sensitivities- Some games may still be overwhelming due to sensory issues. Choosing games that suit their sensitivities is important.

Motor Skills- Motor skills differ. Games needing precise timing might be challenging.

Screen Time Balance- Balancing video game time with other activities is vital.

In essence, video games can be great for many with autism. It depends on understanding each individual’s strengths, challenges, and preferences. We should involve them in choosing games that match their interests and sensory needs.

Now, the second part of question – How can they communicate their need to play video games?

Communicating the Desire to Play;

Verbal Communication- Some autistic individuals can express their interest verbally, saying things like “I want to play video games.”

Nonverbal Communication- For those who struggle with speech, gestures, pointing, or bringing the game to someone can show their desire to play.

Visual Supports- Pictures, symbols, or schedules can be used. They might point to a picture of a video game or show it on a schedule.

Technology and Devices- Some use communication apps or devices if they find speaking hard. They might type or use pictures to express their wish to play.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)- AAC tools like communication boards or apps on devices can help. They might select a symbol for “video games” to communicate their interest.

Repetition or Rituals- Some develop routines around playing. Consistently showing excitement or engaging in a particular behavior could mean they want to play.

Social Scripts- Caregivers might use scripts to prompt communication. For example, asking “Do you want to play video games?” can help them respond.

Body Language- Excitement can be shown through body language. Becoming animated, smiling, or clapping might mean they want to play.

Communication styles are unique. What works for one may not work for another. Observing their cues and preferences and creating a supportive environment for effective communication is key.


Video games can be a wonderful activity for many with autism. It’s crucial to understand and respect their unique needs, choices, and ways of communicating. By doing so, we can provide them with enjoyable experiences that suit their interests and abilities.

#autism #videogames #autismandgames #spectrumkids #neurodiverseandgames

Author Juhi Saxena

Hello, I’m Juhi.
I take immense pride in introducing myself as Tanisha’s mother. Tanisha, who is on the Autism Spectrum, serves as my teacher and inspires me to be a better human being every day. Her determination has taught me the value of never giving up. I openly advocate for the mental well-being of caregivers and parents of children with special needs (CWSN) and discuss the challenges faced by CWSN and their families. I firmly believe in the power of holding hands and walking together on the less traveled road.


Creative representation for this blog is done by our extremely talented CreativeSaathi associate Morpheus Nag

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BloggerSaathi

Special Needs Schools: Enabling Growth for Autism Individuals

Short Musings by Juhi Saxena


Special schools dedicated to catering to the specific needs of children with autism have proven to be transformative in empowering individuals and facilitating their growth. These specialized educational institutions create a nurturing environment that recognizes the unique strengths and challenges of students on the autism spectrum.

One of the key advantages of special schools for autism is the provision of trained professionals who understand the complexities of autism and can develop tailored teaching methodologies. These educators employ evidence-based strategies to address communication difficulties, sensory sensitivities, and social interactions, promoting individualized learning and progress.

Moreover, special schools foster a sense of community and belonging among students. By being surrounded by peers facing similar challenges, children with autism find comfort and acceptance, forming meaningful connections that enhance their social skills and self-confidence.

Special schools also provide a range of therapeutic interventions, such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, and behavioral support. These services address specific needs and help individuals develop essential life skills and increasing their independence.

By recognizing the unique needs of children with autism and offering targeted interventions and support, special schools create an inclusive and empowering educational setting. They pave the way for individuals to unlock their full potential.

#learning #teaching

Author Juhi Saxena

About the Author- “Hello, I’m Juhi.
I take immense pride in introducing myself as Tanisha’s mother. Tanisha, who is on the Autism Spectrum, serves as my teacher and inspires me to be a better human being every day. Her determination has taught me the value of never giving up. I openly advocate for the mental well-being of caregivers and parents of children with special needs (CWSN) and discuss the challenges faced by CWSN and their families. I firmly believe in the power of holding hands and walking together on the less traveled road.”