SKILL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
As youths of our ever-transformative society, it is rare that we find light-hearted activities to socialize and relax amongst our peers. But being an autistic individual in our society, it seems as though these kids receive an even smaller chance of participating in what we deem “normal kid activities”. In Indonesia, there is a heavy stigma against the mentally disabled, the term “cacat” and “autis” seem to be embedded within the minds of these kids from a young age often leading them to not only surrender at the face of minor adversity, but to discourage themselves and even place themselves in a lower authoritative position. It truly was a disheartening sight when we first arrived in the Bhakti Luhur home, and one of the kids refused to participate in our coloring activity, simply because she thought she was too autistic. It truly hurt when the same girl asked if these activities we prepared were good enough for her. Thus, it became our mission to give these kids the childhood they deserve, and to teach them valuable life-skills along the way. These programs are listed below:
Upon arrival, it was evident that the caretakers were overwhelmed with their tasks, and when questioned about their daily work they said that feeding the kids took up most their day. As a team, we decided to create small lessons to teach the kids how to bake and cook simple foods that in turn taught them about cleanliness and teamwork that indeed actually allowed for them to help the caretakers in their daily task of feeding the home.
COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL DEVLEOPMENT
In the home it was evident that not all the kids possessed the same level of autism, some having more high-functioning autism and others simply mild disorders. But a common issue was that the kids failed to communicate with us and the caretakers, often resulting in a tantrum or physical altercations. Hence we created a short program that would help the kids communicate and diffuse their stress levels through social activities such as group exercising and artworks.
Lastly, our major goal for this project was to teach the universally most innocent of individuals the love for our planet earth. With the successful design of our very own in-group engineer, Joseph Wana, we successfully implemented a hydroponics system whereby the kids could learn simple agriculture form the comfort of their own home. We strive to continue this program and “it seems to teach the kids patience and attention to detail like no other activity” said the head caretaker.