The formal cooperation between AutismCare Nepal Society (ACNS) and Swedish Autism and Asperger Association (SAAA) started from October 2013, with a parental support to ACNS. Project planned and developed together in 2014 with the presence of representatives from member organization (MO), MyRight and partner organization (PO) agreed the situation of people with Autism/ ASD is further worse compared to other disabilities in Nepal.
In connection with this; ACNS together with SAAA placed its effort to contribute in some of the areas of Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities. Frame (2015-17) dedicated in the thematic areas as Education, Health and Social Security with the main targeted groups as Children/Persons with Autism (C/PWAs) and their families/care takers. This frame specifically focused on: i) advocacy work for policies and program provision, catering to the specific needs of individuals with autism in Nepal ii) Capacity building to parents/carers on the specific needs and issues of C/PWAs , forming of parent/sibling network groups and providing know-how on CRPD, iii) Capacity building of health professionals to identify needs for the workshop with Health Care Professionals in presence of Swedish experts and iv) Capacity building of on “Teaching student with Autism” based on Kathmandu. Frame (2018-21) entitled “Increased access of People with Autism/ASD in Education, Health and Social Rights of PWAs” focused on strengthening capacity of families of PWAs, early identification, education and social rights through continuous meetings/ trainings/seminar for the parents/family members and relevant professionals especially from Kathmandu and provinces of Nepal. Continuous advocacy for rights of people with ASD was another area for the project. Also; project contributed in the operational of regular services (Assessment and Diagnosis, Different Therapeutic services) at ACNS, Kathmandu.
Purpose and relevance of the frame 2023-2027
We, ACNS and Autism Sweden, together will devote to a more positive perspective of individual with autism and their families in Nepal. The services provided will be comprehensive, encompassing individuals across age groups (from very young children to adolescents to adults with autism) and across the spectrum of abilities (spanning those with very high to lower support needs). We firmly believe that ALL individuals with autism can progress, irrespective of the support when provided with appropriate services, therefore, envisioned project will specifically offer a range of following services to meet the needs of people with autism and their families as:
* Project will strengthen the operating, the Aakar Vocational Unit at ACNS, a model workplace specifically designed for adults with autism. This unit supports adults with autism to develop their vocational and work skills to the best of their individual ability. Here; young adults with autism utilize their pre vocational skills for work, enhancing their independence, self-reliance, and confidence.
* Project will take into consideration to the Parent and Child Training for the parents/families of the individual with Autism. The services will be geared towards both families who can attend the programs on a regular basis and for those who can access services intermittently – for example, those who live in far areas of Kathmandu or in other parts of the country.
* Obtaining an accurate intervention is one of the major difficulties faced by parents of children with autism in Nepal. We will be working towards a future where every individual diagnosed in Nepal has access to intervention and skills training that will help him/her achieve his/her fullest potential, hence trained professionals will be produced/prepared for delivering effective autism-specific intervention.
* Admittedly, there are not enough pre-schools/schools/mainstream/special school to meet the needs of children with Autism; where the project will train/produce teaching professionals/special educators
* Fortunately, the process of obtaining a diagnosis of autism in Nepal is improving in the Kathmandu; as more pediatricians become aware of the condition. In the regard; contact point/diagnostic center will be established/coordinated in the major cities of Nepal. Medical workshops/Interactions/ Continuing Medical Education (CME) will be held in central and provincial level.
* Project will continue the regular services such as assessment and diagnosis, various therapeutic interventions at ACNS, Kathmandu.
* The community of parents, siblings, other relatives, and professionals will continue to work together as a team and advocate for the rights of Autism in Nepal.
Planned primary and secondary target groups
The main target/primary groups of the project for the frame 2023-2027 will be C/PWAs and their families/care takers. Project mainly benefits to the boys/men with autism as the prevalence of Autism is higher in the boys/men than girls/women. Age and sex factor will not be considered with the primary beneficiaries as Children/PWAs. However; regarding the families/care takers; project will try to make the equal participation of male and female in all project activities.
Educational professionals, medical professionals, media persons and policy makers will be the secondary target groups of the project.