Cutting communication for a cause

Cutting communication for a cause


Cutting communication for a cause

Awakening : A view of the website.

Have you ever thought of giving up Facebook or Twitter for a day? Seems tough doesn’t it? Just imagine the plight of the scores of people suffering from autism for whom every small deed is a monumental task, especially social communication! Keeping this in mind, November 1 has been declared as the day of ‘Communication Shutdown’.

The entire idea was initiated by the AEIOU Foundation, an Australian not-for-profit organisation that provides early intervention therapy for children with autism in Australia.
More than 40 countries including the UK, US, Canada, Europe, South-East Asia, Japan, Oman, UAE, South Africa and of course, India are supporting this cause.

You can do the same too. All you have to do is stay away from social networking sites on November 1. AEIOU also consulted with individuals in the wider autism community as part of development process.

Says Dr James Morton, the founder of the AEIOU and Communication Shutdown, “The idea came from the advertising agency Sapient Nitro which has been working with a foundation I established for children with autism following my own son’s diagnosis.”
The mission is to promote the cause through social media and autism organisations databases. But how do they plan to sustain it?

“We plan to have annual event with follow-up information in the months between each event,” he says. However, James admits that the response has been disappointing. “There have only been around 1,00,000 website hits.”

Even in Bangalore, not many people are aware of the cause. Vijayasri, an interior designer, visited the site once and found it to be a good cause. “Though it was not a very interesting site, it’s definitely for a good cause. And it’s not very tough for one to be a part of it. All you have to do is merely not log on to the social networking sites for one Barrier : Social communication is one of the biggest challenges faced by autistic people. day.”

The Bangalore-based Asha Integrated School for Autism, set up by the AEIOU Foundation which helps autistic children reach their potential, is the Indian partner in the movement. Says Poonam, who heads the school, “Community Shutdown was a result of our collaboration with a few specialists from the USA. We keep getting trainers, so one of our trainers recommended our name to the AEIOU.”

She adds, “The entire concept of Communication Shutdown came about because we just wanted the regular people to know how a child with autism feels. It’s a small way of experiencing what autistic people go through. And these days, people are so heavily dependant on social networking sites that they can just try living without them for a day.”

So if you are online today, it would be wise of you to not log on to Facebook or Twitter and visit instead, to learn more about this

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