Vivek Oberoi met autistic children at Sion’s Motion Dance Academy, where the kids were rehearsing for a dance performance that will be staged next week. The actor, who has been lending his name to quite a few social causes, believes that there’s little knowledge about autism in India, though the number of children suffering from the disorder is pretty high.
“These children are passed off as mentally challenged when they’re not,” rues Oberoi, adding, “They are far more intelligent than many of us. They excel in art, mental math, music and other areas.”
He goes on to add, “It’s unfair but many parents, who don’t know the difference between an autistic child and a mentally handicapped child, send their kids off to an asylum for ‘treatment’. That’s not the solution to the problem.”Oberoi says that he lent his name to the academy’s annual dance show to create awareness about autism in the city. "I don’t agree to participate in just any social cause that I’m approached for. Anchal Gupta’s academy is pretty well-known. When she approached me for this dance show, I decided to take a day off from shooting and spend time with these autistic kids," he asserts.
So, did he teach the kids a dance trick or two? “I saw them rehearsing. With autistic children, it’s difficult to set up even one step because they’re behaviourally challenged. They don’t accept instructions. They do what they want to do. To have such kids perform a choreographed act is a task,” Oberoi admits.
Wonder if the actor has watched the telly-show, Aap Ki Antara, on Zee TV that was not only based on the life of an autistic girl, but also helped create awareness about the disorder?
“No,” Oberoi replies, “I haven’t seen the show because I don’t watch TV too much. But if there has been such an attempt, it was brave for a commercial medium to have done that.”