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Young Adults with Autism Reach out helps young adults with autism reach out and share

Yaar is initiative of Autism Society West Bengal that includes people without disabilities, too

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 07.05.23, 07:07 AM
Representational image

Representational image

A BSc graduate in culinary science wrote in a magazine how he could not follow his teacher’s instructions as a child.

“Teachers sometimes misunderstood me, sometimes supported me... students sometimes bullied me and teased me,” the young man with autism wrote in the April issue of a magazine by Yaar (Young Adults with Autism Reach out).


Yaar is a platform for students and individuals with autism who talk to each other, jam with each other and “hang out”.

The youth shared his experience of growing up and that he wants a change in society.

“People should be aware and have knowledge of autism,” he wrote in the magazine.

Yaar is an initiative of the Autism Society West Bengal that includes people without disabilities, too. The group meets once a month.

The purpose of these meetings is not education but simply spending time together.

The magazine is one of the initiatives of Yaar.

The second issue was published on April 28 after a gap of two years.

“Yaar is a platform for young adults to have a great time. A typical Yaar evening has interaction, fun, games, music, dance and yummy food. Sometimes there are themes like favourite tourist spots, favourite winterleisure activities... Participants use communication modes according to theirconvenience. One and a half hours just flies by,” wrote the editorial team of the magazine.

The individuals, who are non-verbal, often participate using picture cards.

Formed in 2014, every Yaar session on average has 25 to 30 members attending.

Some of the students with autism insist that their parents take them to these sessions.

“They do not meet to learn. We purposefully do not teach them anything because individuals with autism should not be seen as perpetual students. This is their time to interact and hang out,” said Indrani Basu, founder director, of the Autism Society West Bengal.

On many other occasions, people with autism or any other disability are not always made to feel welcome and are alienated by people’s attitudes towards them.

Acceptance is when they are at a social gathering and people do not bat an eyelid, said a person who works with disabilities.

“The sessions are a break from the daily routine. Much of it I did not get in school life because I was not always included in the group. At times, I would not interact thinking that the group would feel that what I say is not relevant,” said a 21-year-old with autism, who is now doing his bachelor’s in fine arts.

Over the years Yaar has started understanding needs better, some feel.

Autism Society West Bengal recently organised two programmes — an art exhibition and an annual concert — part of the autism awareness month in April and part of the completion of 20 years of the society.

Members of Yaar participated in both showcasing their art and performing.

“We have people without disabilities too who join these sessions. An inclusive group helps both groups to understand one another better and that interaction is possible. There are individuals with autism who are nonverbal and communicate through cards but it does not mean that if they cannot speak they do not have feelings,” said Basu.

Last updated on 07.05.23, 07:07 AM

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