National, April 02, 2022: In line with Tata Power’s philosophy of holistic and inclusive development, Tata Power Community Development Trust (TPCDT) has today partnered with the Center for Autism and other Disabilities Rehabilitation Research and Education (CADRRE) to launch ‘PAY AUTENTION – A different mind is a gifted mind’, India’s first bridgital Autism support network.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neuro-developmental disorder of variable severity, characterized by challenges in social interaction, communication, restrictive or repetitive patterns of behavior; signs of which usually begin during early childhood and last throughout an individual’s lifespan. It is the third most common developmental disorder in the world.
The initiative aims to increase overall awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and help people understand, accept and support individuals with Autism and their parents and caregivers. The initiative shall pave the way for small towns & rural India to access specialized care & support and help create an auxiliary network of champions for differently-abled. This platform shall also enable mentoring, skilling & meaningful livelihoods for people with Autism. The project which is designed around Tata Power’s core CSR objective of ‘Empowering with Care’, is a major milestone in the company’s journey of inclusive growth with focus on equity, equality, diversity, and inclusion.
Under this initiative, Tata Power Community Development Trust (TPCDT) and CADRRE aspire to empower parents, caregivers, Anganwadi workers, public health center workers, schoolteachers, staff of social development organizations, and social workers to be the primary identification and support champions and who will augment early intervention for children and young adults with Autism.
The virtual launch event was attended and addressed by Mr. Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, Dr. Praveer Sinha, CEO & MD, Tata Power, Mr. Himal Tewari, CHRO, Tata Power, Ms. Jyoti Kumar Bansal, Chief – Branding, Communications, CSR, Sustainability, Tata Power and MS Foram Nagori, CSR Head, Tata Power.
Addressing the launch event, Mr. N. Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons said, “I congratulate Tata Power and CADRRE for launching the first of its kind Autism Support Network to empower people with neurodevelopmental disabilities including their families and caregivers. As a responsible corporate group, we are committed to enabling equitable and balanced growth of economy and society at large. The vision is to facilitate bridgital connectivity and social infrastructure with better access for all – including differently abled & rural communities. I encourage more and more corporates & influencers to help bridge the divides in our social fabric through such focused social innovation initiatives leveraging the potential of technology”.
Commenting on this, Dr. Praveer Sinha, CEO& MD, Tata Power said, “Tata Power has always been committed to inclusive social development and all our community outreach efforts are designed around our core mission of ‘Leadership with Care’. With the launch of PAY AUTENTION a specialized bridgital program to support the ecosystem of Autistic Care in India, our effort is to unlock possibilities for these individuals, through professional care and support, lighting up their lives and ensuring we walk the path of truly leaving no one behind.”
Speaking at the launch, G. Vijaya Raghavan, Honorary Director CADRRE said, “CADRRE is extremely happy to collaborate with Tata Power in launching the PAY AUTENTION Autism support network, which will be the first step in creating a model that provides access to specialized experts and therapists to the remotest areas of our country. This should become a platform that impacts the lives of countless families impacted by Autism in the next few years.”
“I take joy in joining hands with Tata Power & becoming a part of this much-needed support portal for the individuals with Autism. I am sure this initiative will not only empower but also light up the lives of countless people with disabilities, who are in need of specialized care.”, said Ranveer Saini, Sports Person & Autism Champion, First Indian Golfer (with Autism) to Win Gold at Special Olympics World Games, who shared his experience during the event.
In the first phase, the initiative will primarily focus on supporting children with autism, and subsequently, in the second stage, it will focus on young adults, empowering them with life skills and career readiness. In addition to reaching out to the larger public, the initiative aims to create a support network with community champions like corporates, influencers from disability and CSR space, schools and specialized educational institutions, govt. stakeholders, and NGOs/non-profit institutions.
The partnership is aimed at creating innovative modules and engaging practices to empower parents to have children screened for autism in the early stages of their life and seek diagnosis if necessary. These appropriate theoretical frameworks on autism are important as they can assist children to live independently in the long run. The pre-recorded content and monthly live seminars on the subject will be initially offered to local partners, schools, social development institutions, and volunteers associated with the Tata Group and around Tata Power operational areas.
The content is designed and delivered in collaboration with specialists from CADRRE who have expertise in training children with Autism. This project shall create network of grassroot champions, enable early identification, first-level care, social skills, ways to ease activities of daily living, workshops for sensory & motor development – art & craft, dance, music therapy, physical & mental fitness, communication skills and support for academics. In addition to this, a Toll-free Autism support helpline is also launched at 18002099 488 to provide interactive support and much-needed professional aid for families in need.
CADRRE offers a wide array of services and programs to meet the requirements of families navigating Autism – including awareness and orientation, diagnosis and assessments, interdisciplinary interventions, family support programs, group therapy, and structured learning programs for students.
Recent reviews estimate globally 1 child in every 160 has ASD & correlated disabilities. Presently in India, it is estimated there are over 21.6 lakh people with autism. Going forward, the company wishes to reach out to maximum beneficiaries across geographies, enabling support and creating a network, giving birth to an awareness and support movement.