The Society of Parents of Children with Autistic Disorders (SOPAN) was formed in 2002 by a group of parents who had children with autism to create a support group for one another. It’s been 10 years since then and to mark a decade, the NGO has organised Utsav, an exhibition and sale of products made by persons with disabilities.
Around 19 NGOs will be part of Utsav including the Helen Keller Institute for Deaf and Blind, Society for the Education of the Crippled, Kshitij, Dilkhush Special School, Punarvas, Anandi and SOPAN. On sale will be products such as candles, greetings, bookmarks, chocolates, dry fruit slabs, ceramic items like masks, ganapatis, pen stands, diyas, beads, wrought iron candle stands, bags, folders, jewellery boxes, pickles, squashes, Rangoli boards, block / screen printed products and Torans. Apart from the exhibition, one can enjoy several dance performances throughout the day.
“Utsav is an effort to sensitise the community about the potential of the differently-abled. We hope such events will help bring about a change in the existing attitudes towards them, and that they are recognised as a human resource deserving enough to be included in the job market,” maintains Dr Rubina Lal, a parent and senior professional connected with autism rehabilitation. Lal has been involved with SOPAN since its inception.
Over the past decade, SOPAN has set up a school for children with autism and a school for children with developmental disabilities, a community based early intervention service for children with developmental disabilities, conducted a study to gauge the prevalence of autism in five states and launched a course to train parents, teachers, and professionals about autism. They also network with other organisations working in the field of disability at the national level.