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Abu Dhabi woman sheds light on autism at UN Headquarters in NY

As panel speaker at the UN Observance of World Autism Awareness Day, Nipa Bhuptani highlighted challenges faced by people affected by autism.

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ABU DHABI An Abu Dhabi-based Indian woman had the rare honour of speaking on autism awareness at the United Nations headquarters in New York earlier this month.

Nipa Gandhi Bhuptani, autism consultant and founder of the Autism Support Network, Abu Dhabi was invited to speak on the UN’s Observance of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. She was a panel speaker on the topic ‘Accessible communities in relation to autism.’

“It was a privilege to be a part of this event. It was a special moment for me as I got to share my journey of over 20 years and my passion to change lives,” Bhuptani told XPRESS.

Effective intervention

“I spoke about the social impact of having an autistic child and the need to build trained educators and parents for effective intervention,” she said.

Bhuptani said the challenges faced by people with autism and their families are similar worldwide. “Having an autistic child impacts every aspect of the parents’ social life. Acceptance of those children in society is the key,” said Bhuptani who has worked in the field of autism for 24 years.

A Masters in Special Needs Education and Inclusion from the British University in Dubai, she is also a Trinity College trained Teacher of English to Speakers of other Languages (TESOL).

In 2012 she founded the Autism Support Network, Abu Dhabi as a platform to connect parents and professionals affected by autism. “It started as a small group, with the intention to help children access learning opportunities, then grew to helping families access social and emotional support,” she said.

Bringing about change

“Seeing so many passionate people working in their communities confirms my ever held belief that together we can bring about the change we desire. Now the change is starting to show: more support organisations are taking shape, more families are reaching out and connecting, trained teams are gradually forming,” she added.

Her group serves as a sustainable network and support for more than 300 families with their monthly meetings and interactions through its Facebook page.

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