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CMTER celebrated World Autism Awareness Day.

Autism is a life-long disabling condition often manifested by communication deficits, language and speech impairments, reduced social interaction with stereotyped patterns of behaviors. These clinical manifestations/symptoms produce either hypofunctional or hyperfunction conditions due to the genetic, environmental and developmental factors influencing this condition. World Autism Awareness Day declared by the United Nations as on 02 04 2016 was observed by Center for Music Therapy Education and Research, a unit of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth functioning from Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute Campus from 02 04 2016 to 04 04 2016 in collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry. CMTER, since 2014, had a clear focus on community outreach in making available the music therapy services to the children with special needs and the faculty and students have been regularly visiting Rathna Special School, Life Help Center for Rural Rehabilitation and Development, Mettupalayam, Cuddalore. The School houses around 70 children for daycare facilities and the children are either in the autistic spectrum or having an intellectual developmental disability or cerebral palsy and so on. Music Therapy services are regularly offered as a rehabilitative intervention weekly once to these children in order to stimulate attention, engagement, interaction and interactive and reciprocal play and focus on communication and joint social interactions, expression of emotions, promoting pleasure enjoyment and stimulating creatively and concentration. There are also music therapy interventions to improve their motor skills. Musical experiences are ways to explore the children’s world of emotions and feelings. Music Therapy interventions make use of the natural pre-disposition to the music of people with ASD. On 4th of April, the faculty and the students of the Center for Music Therapy Education and Research and the Department of Psychiatry conducted an autism awareness campaign in Rathna Special School. The parents of all the children with special needs were invited. Mrs. Sudha, Principal, Rathna Special School welcomed the gathering. The faculty and the students of CMTER demonstrated to the parents how the children responded positively to music in the areas of attention, social interactions, making purposeful movements and verbal and nonverbal communication. Dr. Rajkumar, clinical psychologist, Department of Psychiatry, MGMCRI presented On the symptoms which the parents have to notice in their children to go for medical and psychological screening and seek psychological/music therapy services. All the parents actively involved in interactions with the psychiatric And the CMTER team and clarified their doubts and learned to seek help through Psychological and music therapy services. In summary, the awareness program Focused on how music could be useful to help children in the autistic spectrum. The integration of innovative music therapy services by CMTER, a unit of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth in extending their professional services to this community through Life Help Center and Rathna Special School was very well appreciated. Mr. Jayaraman, special educator proposed the vote of thanks.

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