Educating children with autism is a challenge for both parents and teachers. Academic goals need to be tailored to that individual’s intellectual ability and functioning level. Understanding this reality, AWF started an education and training centre named “Kanon” – a safe and secure learning environment for students with ASD. AWF has its own course and curriculum to provide education to these autistic children. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is prepared on the basis of functional assessments. Currently, the school has 11 sections in which around 160 children aged 3–18 years and above are placed in 2 shifts (morning and day) depending on their abilities, needs, and chronological age. In the early ages, the emphasis is on developing communication, as well as building basic interaction skills, pre-reading and writing skills and concept building. Concepts are taught in one-on-one sessions, while group activities are used to develop social skills. Alongside, the child’s abilities to work independently and interpret instructions in a general environment are developed and strengthened. Gradually, the children learn independent work behaviours that enable them to acquire vocational skills. Children who are ready move on to mainstream classrooms. The school combines group activities and one-on-one teaching, as well as music therapy, computer and sensory integration.
A total of 64 teachers, 1 psychologist, 1 occupational therapist and 1 speech therapist are engaged in conducting the education courses through the education centre, where 160 autistic children are being enrolled every year. As the education program is highly structured, the teacher to student ratio is 1:1.
AWF is also running two pre-normal classes named “Nayantara” & “Malati”, where the students are taught national course curriculum of Bangladesh, with the objective to enrol them in regular mainstream schools. A total of 79 students have already been admitted to regular schools since 2004.