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Mental Health is gaining increasing attention in today?s world where more than 20 percent of the world?s people suffer from mental health issues. In such an environment, it is important to educate people of the different mental health illnesses.

Autism Spectrum Disorder, simply called autism, is a range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviour, speech and nonverbal communication. 1 in 89 children between the ages of 2 and 9 years suffer from autism in India. According to a 2011 census data, 2.2 million children of that age group suffer from autism in India. Individuals with autism display abnormal body posturing and facial expressions. They may have an abnormal tone of voice, deficit in language comprehension, delay in speech, flat or monotonous tone of speaking, inappropriate social actions, avoidance of eye contact, repeating words, using odd phrases, unusual reactions in social settings, social withdrawal, sleep disturbances, self-abuse behaviours, problem with two-way conversations, too much focus on one topic, lack of focus on a topic, not engaging in play with peers and lack of empathy.

People often avoid conversations about autistic kids and simply make assumptions about a child with special needs. In schools, kids with autism are often bullied because of their different behaviour. In social settings, where they often tend to display their symptoms of autism, they are often stared at by strangers. This also increases the stigma attached to them.

To remove such stigma and make people more aware of the disorder, Brooke Bond Red Label in association with Y films has launched the 6 pack band 2.0 consisting of kids with special needs. They compose and sing songs, and in their third song they have included Neha Kakkar where they sing about their struggle to find that one special friend who is willing to go that extra mile for them and just accept them for who they are. The Head of Y films says that the aim is to use music to relay the message of acceptance. Rishan, one of the kids in the band says that singing is not just an art but also a coping mechanism. It calms him down when he is anxious. This initiative is truly a positive step in understand and realising autism and removing the stigma attached to it.


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