Children and young adults are involved in various processes of chocolate making and packaging to become vocationally independent and be meaningfully engaged.
They put up stalls to learn money skills - handling and exchange.
We have had plenty of fun social exchanges during these stalls.
Having worked in the field for over a decade, autism awareness is very close to our hearts. We believe that awareness will lead to acceptance and inclusion and creating a diverse, rich community. Having said that, we did not want to fall into the trap of exhibitionism and displaying of – what we feel is extending our ideas of the ranges of the normal.
We are proud of each one of our children, and we wanted others to see how and why we so fiercely advocate them. We decided to put up a stall of the chocolates that they make in our vocational unit. They’ll learn to use money, they’d get to interact with so many people and have so many unpredictable social exchanges.
Maybe the society learns to appreciate, the value and the possible productivity of people with Autism, and maybe, maybe this leads to acceptance of them in schools, other educational institutions, on the metro, in a job, in a mall ……….. (the list of places where disability is frowned upon is inexhaustible) if we show they how the children excel at things that broken into bite sized steps and helped them practice through the chocolates that they make at the vocational unit in the centre to become meaningfully engaged and independent.
We started talking to people around asking for possible venues, we didn’t want the first time we were taking them out to be anything less than a happy positive experience. We spoke to Galleria, Sector 56, Cyber Hub and almost all major market places in Gurgaon. In all conversations, I could sense the ‘want to help and do good’ but not probably the effort.
On the day itself, we scouted the place before we brought the children and the things. Lest the curiosity towards them, be directed to them.
It was nothing like had expected it to be,
“Where are the customers?”, “Keep the change” “No money! you’re not buying”
“When will we get sold out?”
We had the hardest time controlling laughter. But there was so much that they were learning, handling money, keeping account, handling more than one conversations together, additions, handling requests for discounts… and so many more!
“Let’s stay till the evening!”
We hope so too, to keep on till the evening and to keep calling into question the definition of normality and the acceptance of uniqueness.