For parents of children with autism, often the lack of awareness and educational material on raising their child are the biggest concerns.

Understanding the urgency to provide a safe space for such children, Dr A K Kundra opened the Autism Guardian Village (AGV) in Hyderabad in 2020.

It is a one-of-a-kind residential space in India designed exclusively for people with autism and their families. Here they do not have to constantly worry about what others will say!

Spread across 10 acres of land, the space has 84 cottages and hundreds of trees, a community hall, a dining area, a hospital, and a cafe.

Dr Kundra, a social entrepreneur, was motivated to set up this village when several parents confessed they wanted a safe autism-friendly space for their children.

He first purchased a huge portion of land with personal savings. “I got trees of amla, mangoes, neem, and more to set up the greenery that helps keep the mind calm,” he says.

The 2-BHK houses have fewer walls that allow free movement. Dr Kundra says that as people with autism tend to eat more, the kitchen has doors that can be kept locked.

“Persons with autism can become obese easily if they don’t exercise, and with obesity comes other lifestyle-related disorders. We have been extremely mindful of their physiological and psychological needs,” he adds.

For this, his management team installed swings on the porches. The campus also has a basketball court, table tennis, mini golf course, and billiards.

They also carry out group activities for vocational training, music, reading, etc. Each activity is designed to support the child and adult.

For instance, they often conduct drumming sessions to relieve anxiety and stress. It is like a neurological workout with visual, auditory and motor cortices at work.

From 2.5 to 42-year-olds, there are people with autism people from every age bracket, which proves beneficial for the parents.

Dr Kundra says the families can live in the village for as long as they wish, and when a parent is no longer there, the management will send a caregiver to the cottage.