On 1st May, 2011 CNAC(earlier of IPNA) started a Day Care Centre/School for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Primarily the centre started with a few children due to limited resources. But it’s Expansion in the future is under consideration. The children have been selected from outdoor patients of IPNA after going through an admission process.
The IPNA Autism School is established to provide the children with the fullest life possible, build on their strengths and provide a better and inclusive environment for children with autism. It also facilitates post graduates researching or working on children with autism to gain first- hand experience.
The IPNA Autism School is a hospital based day care program which draws on experts from multiple disciplines such as paediatrician, clinical director, and direct care staff, including mental health counselors with specialized training in the treatment of children with autism. The centre also has the consulting services of speech /language therapists, developmental therapist, special education teachers, occupational therapists, art and music teachers.
The IPNA Autism School provides intensive day treatment care for children with autism within the age range of 3 to 8 years. The current student teacher ratio is 2:1. The IPNA Autism School is open for 6 days from 9 am to 1 pm. The children are taught using a scientific method called TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic Related Communication Handicapped children) philosophy. This philosophy is based on structuring the environment to maximize the child’s understanding and independent functioning thereby decreasing undesirable behaviours. The routine for the center includes physical exercise, communication class, rhyme class, group/individual activity, sensory integration, pre writing and recess. After their break time, children take turns in groups to play in the play center accompanied by their teachers. Another important part of the program is the ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) method which is a reward based system. It is a behavioural therapy that uses positive reinforcement for their improvement. Children are also provided other types of therapy such as individual and group therapy, special education, speech and occupational therapy, movement therapy, etc. If the children face any other medical problem, there is also arrangement for outdoor service. Other related programs are annual home visit, outing program and cultural activities. The teachers get many training opportunities by attending various seminars or conferences all around the year.
Admission Criteria of ASD Child in the IPNA Autism School include, Bangladeshi nationality, age range between three to eight years, a diagnosis of ASD from Autism management Team of the IPNA Autism School, economic condition of the family (Priority to under privileged), mental growth of the child (IQ) (Mild to Moderate), physical fitness for attending classes and controlled neurological Condition.
The School is affiliated with relevant University specializing in paediatric, early child hood or ASD related schools and research and services. Through this, the school has a research and workforce training component which will contribute to achieving a better understanding of ASD’s and increase workforce capacity.