According to the National Health Portal of India, an estimated 18 million people in India are believed to be living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) — a group of developmental disabilities involving social, communication, and behavioural challenges.
Autism — a developmental disorder that impairs one’s ability to communicate and interact fluidly — can be difficult for people to understand. It can be more difficult for the family members to understand and recognise behavioural patterns associated with people on the autistic spectrum.
Gurugram-based CogniAble — founded in 2016 by Manu Kohli with his wife Dr Swati Kohli, along with Dr Prathosh AP, and Dr Joshua Pritchard — is working to ensure proper diagnosis and a better quality of life for people living with autism. Not just CogniAble, other startups like Learn Autism, Nimaya Robotics, Ostimo, Mom’s Belief, etc., are also working towards this cause.
Moreover, at workplaces, advocacy group Action For Autism (AFA) says there is a need to create an inclusive environment for people with autism to enable them to contribute as fully participating members of their community. This means creating a barrier-free environment where they feel comfortable.
With the theme of this year’s World Autism Awareness Day being “Inclusion in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities in a Post-Pandemic World,” it is crucial to bridge the gap at the workspace and provide employment opportunities to the thousands who are living on the autism spectrum and enter the workplace every year.
The increase in digitisation has opened up many opportunities, but it also comes with its own set of challenges such as cyber-crimes. Vineet Kumar, a social entrepreneur and Chairman of the National Anti-Hacking Group (NAG), believes it is important to have peaceful cyberspace so that digital technologies are able to create a social impact.
Editor’s Pick: The Turning Point
“I have always believed in following my energy and intuition to create the life I love,” says Karen Saldanha, Co-founder of Dabble, a startup that makes toxin-free paints, crayons, and art kits for the zero-six age group. Started by Karen and Neha Bajaj in May 2018 to manufacture art products from organic materials, Dabble is an outcome of both the founders’ decision to create something that has an impact and a business that will grow in years to come. Read more.
When Abhra Bose lost his mother in 2017, he moved from Mumbai to his hometown Chakdaha, which soon became the headquarters of his startup — Food Express Online — a rural food aggregator. Started in February 2018 by Abhra and his childhood friend Sagar Mallick, the startup delivers 2,000-2,500 meals every month, which has translated into a total revenue of Rs 50 lakh for FY21. With a team of 15 people, the startup now aims to become a food delivery service in rural India that is on a par with global standards. Read more.
News & Updates
- Circus Social, social media analytics and big data SaaS startup based out of Singapore and Bengaluru, raised $1 million in a pre-Series A round led by Inflection Point Ventures and angel investors based in the US, Singapore, and India. It plans to use the funds for growth initiatives and to increase its sales, engineering, and data sciences, teams.
- Onsurity, a tech startup that provides healthcare-related services aimed at SMEs, raised an undisclosed round of funding from a group of its customers who have turned investors. According to the startup, the customers had reached out to the founders, seeking to invest based on their experience of being engaged with the company.
- With over Rs 5 lakh crore worth of transactions, UPI crossed a new benchmark according to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), indicating a 145 percent growth in UPI transaction value over the last year.
- On April Fools' Day, many Indian startups decided to play pranks with fictitious stories. Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal tweeted that the company was launching a driverless electric car, Pepperfry announced the launch of 'Furniture Mutual Fund', Razorpay said it will allow people to pay in memes, and Flipkart said it was accepting bitcoins.
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“Many people do not fully understand autism. Opening up 'autism friendly' workspaces for our sensory sensitivities will be good. We have unique skills and strengths. We work well in our own bubble when we have a good support system.”