June 6, 2012

Children with autism need full support of society

Mrudu Naik | June 03, 2012

Muscat: What an autistic kid needs is support to become a part of the mainstream, advocated both George Widener, the gifted autistic savant, date genius and calendar artist and Suniel Shetty, Indian film actor.

The two celebrities were in town to participate in the third edition of the Black & White (Sudoku for a Cause) You Play Sudoku Open to All competition -“ 2012. 

Advising parents of autistic parents, George Widener said, "Autism is simply a difference in the brain and it is nothing to be afraid of. Autistic children need love and care just like any other children. 

Don't feel guilt and don't feel ashamed. They are a little different. Remember being different is okay.-
Speaking to Times of Oman George who himself is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome said autistic centres should focus on several aspects.

"There is a range of autism. The low functioning children have to be helped with basic life skills. Children who might have traits of higher functioning need to be given attention on vocations that are good for them as they get older. I think they need training too. There are people with connection to autism who can excel in math and science and computers at times. These need the correct environment to capitalise on them from earlier on,- George said. 

Speaking about his own life, George said, "I have been a working artist and things have been exciting for me. I am glad I can bring attention to this condition by showing my talent. Besides, my sketches (richly detailed calendar art) are around many museums around the world.-

George is also proud that he has been able to lose 30 kilos of weight in a span of nine months.

"I was seen by doctors and told that I should lose weight. I was told that I have a predisposition for diabetes. Insulin receptive gene is what it is called. I went on a nine month programme to lose weight and I lost around 30kg which I am proud of. 

I did walking and running. I keep working at it. I advocate fitness for all,- he said. George is also proud to have participated in an event which raises awareness about autism. "I think it is important to attend events such as this. I attended one in Taiwan too. It does help the cause,- he said.

Speaking to Times of Oman, actor Suniel Shetty urged parents not to feel guilty.

"It is because of them that the child is going through what he is. They need to understand, analyse and apply. They need to make sure that their child is in the right environment and gets tremendous support. 

They should take inspiration from examples like George Widener who are true genius. These children are special and needed to be supported. They will have some special skill and parents need to work on them,- said Suniel.

Thanking the Black & White team, he said, "I consider an opportunity for me to participate in this event.-
Suniel who himself is a philanthropist along with his wife runs a organisation called Save the Children India and a school for speech impaired kids. 

"Through, Save the Children India, my wife and me, provide educational support for children (more than 20,000) from economically backward families. The school supports children with special needs,- he said.

"I have realised that more children spend time with children of their age. They are doing so much better,- he said. 
About his philanthropic nature he said, "From what you get you make a living, but from what you give you make a life. It is not necessarily money. It is time and being there. Being there for somebody is what charity is all about.-

The actor who takes fitness very seriously had tips for the readers, "Have breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like pauper. Do some kind of physical exercise. Fitness is not rocket science as it is made out to be but all about focusing.-

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