Most of the individuals with autism have some latent talents and skills in some particular fields. The parents need to find out and utilize those latent talents and skills to make them self-dependent. If the talents of the autistic children can be spotted properly, they can be made trained to sharpen their skills to make them outstanding in that field. Autism individuals are also very much effective to their jobs if they are motivated to do it. They can perform any work like a robot. So, if we can engage them in their preferred jobs, they can definitely perform exceptionally well as they are never dishonest, insincere or deceitful.
We know that the autism is a lifelong disability, it cannot be cured. But we can bring some development in their lives. So our first task is to provide all-out effort to bring some improvement in their life. After a child is being diagnosed with autism, s/he should be given proper treatment and therapies for bringing him/her in the normal life as far as possible. Then we are to find out about his/her latent talents and skills. After discovering his/her talents and skills level we are to focus on that area. This will help to improve their lives, keep them busy and make them self-dependent.
As per DSM-5, there are different levels of autism, Level1 (requiring support), Level2 (requiring substantial support) and Level 3 (requiring very substantial support). They have got different types of disabilities and capabilities depending upon their levels. First, we have to categorize the children according to their disability and capability and then provide them mainstream teaching and vocational training as per their talents. There are also some autistic children who can produce miracle with their latent talents and skills if we can nurture them effectively.
Identifying the talents and skills of autistic children is a big challenge for the parents, caregivers and the teachers. An in-depth study of the child is essential to find out his talents. It is a long time process. After identification of his/her latent talents, it will be easier to handle hi/her. Since the autistic children have multiple disorders (spectrum disorders), those are to be taken into consideration while assessing their latent talents and skills.
In this article, I would like to discuss the different fields of employing the autistic individuals as per their talents and skills.
Some of the autistic individuals are found to have exceptional talents which are called autism savants. Autism savants are exceptionally skilled in mathematical calculations, memory feats, artistic abilities and musical abilities. However, we will talk about autism savants in a different article.
Education for autistic children
Normal education. The autistic children of level1, requiring support, may be capable of studying in the normal stream of education. I know some of the autistic children who are studying in different schools. They may not be as good as normal children. But can continue their education up to certain class. Even some of them can be put in the normal stream of education. From the statistics, it is found that about 102 special needs children have been transferred to the mainstream of education from different branches of Proyash, a school of special education. There are some other students who have passed Primary, Junior and Secondary school level. The total picture of the country may be better in number. My son Ferdous Mahi has passed Junior School Certificate (JSC) examination from Proyash and now studying in class IX. One of the special needs child Md Eram has been transferred to the normal stream of education through his talents and skills and now studying at Faith International School.
Part-time or Full-time Job. After being dropped out in any level of education, an autistic adult can be put into some office jobs or some jobs in the shopping mall, petrol pump, and food courts etc. as per their capability. But everybody should co-operate them in performing their jobs. Md. Shamiuzzaman Tusar, a special needs individual is serving in the International Chain Shop KFC, Bangladesh at Banani Branch, Dhaka. Another special needs boy is found to be working as Office Assistant at Exim Bank, Gulshan Branch. Big corporate, business company and other social conglomerates should come forward to rehabilitate the autism talents.
Different fields of Work for autistic children
The autistic individuals of Level1 (requiring support) and Level2 (requiring substantial support) who all are not capable to continue study or deploy in any of the above-mentioned jobs, they can be tested for their skills, undergo vocational training and perform some of the following jobs as per their capabilities.
Making Handicraft. Many autistic children are capable of making good handicrafts. If they are trained and engaged in the work utilizing their skills, they can be very much productive. If their interest is grown in any work through different kinds of incentive, they can be turned into the effective workforce. Many of the autism schools and centers are imparting these types of vocational training to the autistic children and selling their hand-made products and paving their way to the self-dependency. Here we can see some of the eye-catching handicrafts made by the special needs individuals.
Making Bread and Pastries. The autistic individuals can be trained to make pastries and bread on a limited scale. The autism forum, Bangladesh is conducting these types of training to the autistic children to make them self-dependent. Here, we can find some of the special needs children engaged in working in the Bread & Pastry factory.
Artworks. There are some autistic individuals who are very good in the artwork. They can be trained by the efficient trainer and perform artwork by them. Some of the organizations like ShilpoProbha can come forward to value their work and inspire them. Different Banks, Corporate or Government can come forward to depict the artworks of the autistic children in their annual calendar and magazines. The Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh performing a great job by delineating the artworks of the autistic children in her invitation cards of different programs. My son Ferdous Mahi is very good in the artwork. One of his artwork is already published on the invitation card of the Honorable Prime Minister and he has been given an honorarium of BDT One lac.
Cultural Programmes. There are some special needs individuals who all are very good in different cultural items like dance, music etc. This is one of the fields where these children can do very well if they are given proper training. It is indeed a matter of great pleasure that a group of special needs individuals of the cultural group KARISHMA of the Parents Forum for Differently Able (PFDA) Vocational Training Center has participated in ‘Autistic Talent Gala 2017’ by an International Education Foundation Hong Kong and won the ‘Best Visual Effect Award’ in Group category of the Competition. KARISHMA performed ‘Beautiful Bangladesh’ (Amar Desher Matir Gondhe: Smell of the soil of my country) reflecting the culture and heritage of rural Bangla. Bioscope, kite fly, farmers work on the paddy field, flute, doi (yogurt) seller, village wedding norms, hadudu game, pick raw mango during kalboishakhi etc reflecting the beauty of Bangladesh that we uphold in our heart. About 13 countries participated in the competition.
Computer Typing. There are some autistic children who all are very good in computer typing. They can be provided enough training and can be deployed in the office job only for computer training. My son Ferdous Mahi is very good in computer typing. He can type both English and Bengali efficiently. The autistic individuals like him can be deployed in this job. The autistic individuals can be given job in the different government and non-government organizations to make them self-dependent.
Different works on IT. Besides, some of the autistic individuals are skilled in other IT related works. Some of the autistic children even can learn the work of graphic design, Photoshop, Facebook marketing, and programming etc. If they are given proper training they can be deployed in different IT-related jobs in different IT farms. There are some examples where some brilliant autistic children have kept the mark of their talents and skills through their jobs in this field. Md Rafid, one of the autistic boy of Proyash is very good in MS Office, Web Design, and Computer programming. Now he has been emerged as an IT Icon of the country and has been awarded a laptop from the ‘Earning & Learning Program’ of the Ministry of IT. He also participated in a competition in China as a representative of Bangladesh.
Games & Sports. Some of the autistic individuals are very good in games & sports. Even they are found to participate in the special Olympic keeping marks of their talents and skills. Many of the Bangladeshi special needs individuals have earned name and fame for the country. Miss Sadia Akhter Urmi is one of the special needs individuals having autistic features. She is exceptionally good in games and sports. She is only 19 years old. By this time, she has earned 10 Gold Medals and 3 Bronze Medals in the different International Athletics competitions.
The autistic individuals of different ages have different latent talents and skills. If we can nurture those through proper training, they can be turned into assets of the country. Some of the special needs individuals have already shown it through their extraordinary performance in the national and international levels. The government of the country has the responsibility to make the people of the country aware of autism. If the owners of the different organization come forward to sponsor their training and deploy them in different works.
Let us dig out the latent talents and skills of our autistic children, nurture them, train them in their interested field and deploy them in the respective work fields. By this way, we can value their talents and skills and make them self-dependent.