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for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy,
Mental Retardation & Multiple Disabilities
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Prayas Project Prayas reached the height of achievement when SAP opened the opportunities of employment for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders in October 2011. At present there are six such persons working at SAP campus in Bangalore and have been an integral part of their business. Five of these are testing software whereas one is involved in Content Development.
Watch them in action
It all began with an iPad workshop organized by Autism Society of India in March 2011, continued with the collaboration of SAP Volunteers and dedicated parents and committed professionals. Here it is

Autism Society of India in collaboration with SAP Labs, India Private Limited, Bangalore had launched the Project "Prayas": Computer/ iPad Training Center for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders on June 14, 2011 at the campus of Spastics Society of Karnataka, Bangalore.

Autism Spectrum Disorders are little understood in terms of its etiology, these are highly heterogeneous in nature. This situation leads us to look at it only therapeutically.

In the recent past, technology has brought in lots of hope for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Computers, i-Pads, i-Phones, i-Pods and some other assistive technology based devices like Alpha Smart, go-talk etc. along with some software, have made life easier for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families.

These solutions seem to be the non-threatening tools for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders; where we need to look at issues related to "SENSORY- DEFENSIVENESS", exhibited by them. These tools, if used meaningfully, through the earlier stages of

intervention, help enhance cognition, communication and thus social skills. Through these technology based solutions, we can look at various avenues of employment too, these can be related to the Internet based activities, Data- entry, Validation of Software, Development of Teaching -aids like PECS, Social stories and development of symbols/ clip art through appropriate animation software.

In a duration of 19 months, Project Prayas launched the on line free resource called "Prayas-Daksh" related to technology which caters to Reinforcing Potentials of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders through Computer Based Interventions Features of Daksh

  • Daksh means SKILLED
  • Daksh is an ADD-ON Programme
  • Daksh has been developed as an evidence based programme
  • Daksh addresses the early need of intervention through technology
  • Daksh has the "Process Curriculum, thus emphasizes in continuity
  • Evaluation: Independence, speed and accuracy

Principle behind Daksh: Middle path of "Bloom's Taxonomy"; The Learning Ladder While the concept was being developed, it was thought that giving knowledge about computers to a group which was very HETEROGENEOUS in its nature in terms of the age and the degree of severity of Autism, would be inappropriate, instead we took the middle path of Bloom's Taxonomy and created small applications and called them lessons and slowly taught the computer skills.

A few special adaptations were made We created the physical environment in such a way that issues related to Sensory Defensiveness were taken care of; this included a calm environment, smaller groups, presence of parents, avoidance of perfumes and sharp lighting etc. Parent Empowerment was an important part of the programme as we wanted an easy follow up at home a clear understanding about the child's strengths and deficits to the parent. Technology/Computer based intervention as these provide predictability to a child.

Special Features of Prayas-Daksh
  • Execution of Training is done through Cognition and communication
  • Each lesson is Customizable for every child
  • One can reuse worksheets
  • It has a clear focus on Skill Development

Prayas-Daksh addresses specific Skills related to Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Strengthening Pattern Recognition/ scanning ability
  • Learning to EXPRESS through visuals/images
  • Building Creativity through designing
  • Learning Life Skills through Cause and Effect/ life skills
  • Learning how's; learning to build concepts through association

While on one hand project was focusing on Computer based intervention, another step was taken to fulfill the communication needs of those kids/persons with Autism, who are non-verbal. With the help of the technical team of volunteers from SAP labs, some parents, and professionals from the field of special education, Prayas brought out an iPad app called Bol. This app is completely customizable and takes care of the diversity of Indian Culture.

It can be obtained as a FREE app on the iTunes store:

Project Prayas/ Daksh/Bol have been able to address the following issues:
  • Avenues are endless; Awareness is the key to success.
  • Affordability is a question; Development is the answer.
  • Accessibility is yet another question; Open- source is the answer.
Future Plans

As we can see that there are some special abilities in persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders which can be channelized in productive work like testing, content development, designing and data entry, it is time that we look at the quality of education provided to these individuals, reach out to various individuals, companies and corporates to give a chance to them. We need to organize many capacity building programmes related to the use of technology for existing professionals in the field of special education

Prayas aims to take up these objectives
Finally, we need to change our lenses to look at the condition called AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS.
  Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD is commonly called Autism Neuro- typical: A term used for people who do not have Autism or ASD  
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