A large number of children in the world are born with developmental disabilities. The parents and caregivers of such special needs children have to overcome multiple challenges to bring them up. They require all the support that can be provided to them by society, the government, NGOs and other stakeholders.
The Sir Ratan Tata Trust & Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust has put in place the Children with Special Needs Programme to work towards the overall growth and development of children.
The main objectives of the programme are to:
The 'early intervention services' support provided by the programme have helped special needs children to progress better in their developmental domains, allowed them to attend regular school and thus prevented their exclusion from mainstream society.
Support for children with autism is also a significant component of the programme. Autism spectrum disorder is estimated to have a prevalence rate of at least 1 in every 150 live births (third most common developmental disorder, affecting more than 5 million people in India).
Tata Trusts has supported the Communication Development Eclectic Approach to Language Learning (Com-DEALL) programme since 2005, for developing and implementing an essential intervention for children with autism in India. Results highlighting the efficacy of the programme were published in the Indian Journal of Paediatrics (September 2010), following which the programme was up-scaled to 15 centres, majorly in small towns.
Tata Trusts also supports a PG diploma in early intervention conducted by Com DEALL Trust, Bangalore, to create a pool of trained human resources for providing specialised therapeutic care to children with autism.