Around twenty odd children captured the heart of President APJ Abdul Kalam with their performance in the Capital on Wednesday.
And it was a special evening indeed, for these children were students of Tamana, an NGO for the mentally challenged and autistic.
A poem The Almighty composed by the President himself was enacted by these children and elicited resounding applause from all present. This was followed by a dance performance by Tamana Chona, someone who couldn’t even stand at the age of seven!
What is autism?
The enthusiasm of those in the audience reached a crescendo by the time the final item for the evening, a dance show “
Come on Raju”
choreographed by Shiamak Dawar, was presented.
The ‘special’ children were lauded with a special standing ovation, led by the President of India. But, the show-stealers of the evening were Sneha and Devesh, autistic children who introduced the guests and hosted the evening.
They visibly impressed Dr Kalam, as he made sure to address them as his “friends” in his speech at the inauguration of the Indo-US Workshop on Autism, organized by Tamana and Indo-US Science and Technology Forum at Delhi Public School, RK Puram.
“I have been studying the problems of mentally challenged children myself. These are the children whom we need to give special training and teaching to, with love and care,” he said.
Elucidating on the theme of this conference ‘Unraveling Autism: Causes, Diagnostics and Intervention’, the President highlighted the need to treat autistic children equally in our society.
He also spoke at length on the need to have fruitful research and development activities to provide an “integrated solution to the problems of these children,” as part of this four-day conference, which will conclude on Sunday.
Also pledging their support to developmental activities for the autistic were Chief Minister Sheila Dixit, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar and G Dawson, head of the US delegation of scientists.