June 30, 2022, 7:17 pm

Staff Correspondent

2022-04-02 19:34:21 BdST

PM wants children with autism to flourish through collective efforts

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday put emphasis on bringing all children with special needs, including those suffering from autism, into the mainstream of society by giving them opportunities to flourish their hidden talents.

The premier made the remark while addressing the 15th World Autism Awareness Day 2022 at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC) organised by the Social Welfare Ministry, joining the programme virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban in Dhaka.

“I believe we will be able to incorporate persons with autism syndrome in the mainstream of the national life with the united efforts of all and our (government's) diversified efforts,” she said.

The theme of this year's World Autism Awareness Day is: ‘Make such a world: explore the talents of people with autism.'

The prime minister said that children with autism syndrome have various types of hidden talents.

“Those talents have to be developed through giving them opportunities,” she said.

She urged all to take steps to help the special children so that their hidden talents could flourish and the children could contribute to society.

Regarding the demand for providing accommodation with training facilities for persons with autism after the demise of their parents and guardians, PM Sheikh Hasina said that the government will take the necessary steps to do so.

“Initially we will arrange accommodation with training facilities in the divisional headquarters, then extend the facilities gradually in all districts through Neuro-Developmental Disability Protection Trust,” she said, also asking the Social Welfare Minister to take a project for this purpose.

The PM asked the affluent section of the society to come forward to supplement the government’s effort.

“You have earned a lot; if you spend some of your money for this purpose it will be beneficial for the country,” she said.

Social Welfare Minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed, State Minister Md Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru and Secretary Mahfuza Akhter spoke at the programme.

Special child Isaba Hafiz Sushmi, on behalf of all special children with Autism syndrome, also spoke at the function.

Later, the prime minister witnessed a colourful cultural function performed by physically challenged children.

Earlier, Social Welfare Minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed, on behalf of the prime minister, distributed awards to successful children with autism and individuals and organisations working for the development of such children.

A documentary on Autism was screened at the programme.

Sheikh Hasina also inaugurated Bolte Chai Apps and Smart Autism Barta Apps.

In 2007, the United Nations declared April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day, aiming to improve the quality of life of those with autism. In Bangladesh, different programmes have been taken to mark the day.

Autism is a lifelong neurological condition that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socioeconomic status.

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