Dancers create autism awareness

Sherain Reddy, Yugen Subraya (founders of the Incredible Minds Adaptive Learning Centre), Amy Bernard (the drama teacher at Northlands Girl's High School) and four of the night's performers, Demmer Brown, Nomfundo Mfeka, Nadine Pillay and Mpumelelo Magwaza.

AUTISM took centre stage during a recent fundraiser in which the drama students at Northlands Girls’ High School participated. The group of nine Grade 10 pupils performed several multi-cultural dances on the evening in an effort to collect some much-needed funds for the newly-established non-profit organisation (NPO), Incredible Minds Adaptive Learning Centre, based in Durban North.

The NPO, founded by Sheraine Reddy and Yugen Subraya, is aimed at providing specialised education and autism optimisation to both verbal and non-verbal autistic children. Through the initiative, the volunteers have not only managed to raise over R11 000 for the organisation but also managed to facilitate awareness regarding the misunderstood and stigmatised condition.

Before the evening’s festivities, Reddy presented a talk on autism and acceptance.

“Through my speech I wanted to educate the crowd that autistic people are not mentally impaired, as is often assumed, but experience the world more intensely and differently from us. Autistic individuals are not ineducable but have incredible minds that we need to take the time to discover. Many hold degrees and are exceptionally gifted in maths, science and art. The challenge is adapting our teaching style according to that individual child,” she said.

Ten-year-old Paris Subraya, whose autism inspired her parents to launch the NPO, also spoke on the night. She shared with the crowd what it felt like being autistic. This fundraiser was the initiative of Paris’s dance teacher, Merilyn Manikam.

The funds raised during the initiative, said Reddy, would be used to launch an occupational therapy (OT) centre.

“Our aim is build an OT room that would be available at no charge to those who need it,” said Subraya.

To complete this mission, the duo requires R22 000.

“Paris’s speech was a real eye-opener, and had everyone in tears. The night really shed some light on many of the common misconceptions. It was a privilege to facilitate that process,” said Nadine Pillay, one of the night’s performers.

 

 

Related articles:

Autistic eMdloti boy’s petition goes viral

Khanyisa school shares hope

 

  AUTHOR
Mariclair Smit
Journalist

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