Awareness on Autism in India is very limited.
From badly researched film portrayals to the lack of basic cognizance towards various neurodevelopmental disorders, our society has a long way to go.
A group of engineering graduates from IIT Delhi and BITS Pilani are making a foray into the world of autism by offering assistive technology focusing on autism along with similar disorders.
Hope and Happiness has helped over 130 children since its inception last year in November.
Nishtha and Astha Gupta, along with Alok Aditya, the folks behind the non-profit organisation believe that coupling technology towards offering assistive or coping mechanisms could provide an ease of living for people falling on the spectrum of autism.
It all began with the urge to delve deeper into the uncertain world of autism after Nishtha saw a documentary on the subject during her second year of college. “I ended up doing a lot of research trying to understand the complex nature of autism after watching the documentary,” she says.
This further drove to reach out to various NGOs for information on the known and, more crucially, the unknown nuances of neurodevelopmental disorders.
The pursuit further put her in touch with the concerned faculty in AIIMS, with whom she worked with towards developing different assistive products and gained greater insight.
“It was during this time that I’d found that hardly any assistive products were available in India for people to cope with sensory and anxiety issues. These were either extremely expensive or had to be imported,” Nishtha remarks.
Joining hands with her sister Astha and friend Alok, Nishtha decided to start a venture that would offer customised products with zero-profits. “It is important to have customised products for each child because of the complexity of the affliction varies from person to person,” she clarifies.
While the team works on product design and quality testing, they have employed a differently abled person for the manufacturing process, who now is able to earn almost five to six times more than he previously could.
While parents at large still cower under the thought of being ostracised for speaking in public about their child’s disorder, the initiative by the organisation is remarkable in itself.
“We could call ourselves pioneering the concept of assistive technology because the concept is still not well established here,” Nishtha says.
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The organisation offers products like weighted blankets and jackets, shoulder wraps, lap cushions and compression belts that cater to sensory and anxiety issues at affordable prices ranging from ₹100 to ₹3,000.
You can write to Hope and Happiness at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 7503733807.