NGOs in India

NGOs in India Working for ASD

History of Autism Support

On World Autism Day, we look at some of the special schools and non-profit organisations across the country working to create awareness about autism and increase the understanding of the need for early intervention.

World Autism Day is observed on April 2 to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A developmental disorder, autism is characterised by poor social interaction and unusual or repetitive behaviour. Currently, one in 500 people are diagnosed with autism in India, which translates to 0.2 percent of the population, or 21.6 lakh individuals according to the Rehabilitation Council of India.

The term “autism” appeared in Indian literature for the first time in 1959. This was followed by a series of other publications on the disorder through the 1960s. Back then, there was very limited knowledge about autism among people at large. During the early 1980s, the level of awareness about autism grew gradually in the medical fraternity. From then on, the disorder has experienced an intense period of activity compared to the previous decades. Gradually, the support system in areas such as diagnosis, access to education, parental involvement, vocational options, and legislation gained traction.

Making lives better, one step at a time

The first exclusive school for autism-affected youth, called Open Door, was established in 1994. In the late 1990s, 15 such schools sprung up across the country, with an enrollment ranging from 15-70 students in each, according to a report published by the Rehabilitation Council of India.

In the year 1991, some of the parents of children affected with autism started the Action for Autism (AFA) initiative to support people affected with the disorder. By the turn of the century, quite a few organisations as well as a schools began opening up across the country, like Asha, Ashiana, Communication DEALL, Development Centre for Exceptional Children, Priyanj, and We Can. Today, this number has increased even further.

At present, there are more than 40 organisations, special schools, parent support groups, and speech as well as behavioral therapy centres to help people affected with autism.

We take a look at what some of these organisations offer

Source: These organisations in India are spreading awareness and understanding about autism, 2019

History of NGO Activities for ASD Support in India

Tamana was the first institution to recognize autism as a disability distinct from others and to start programs for autistic spectrum disorder in 1985. The Autism Center-School of Hope is India’s first rehabilitate and research center for autistic individuals providing holistic services under one roof – a special school, sensory integration clinic, early intervention center.

The current movement for autism and India traces its roots to 1991, when Action For Autism (AFA) was founded to advocate for children and adults with autism and their families. In this way, much of the recent history of autism in India is intertwined with the initiatives that AFA has undertaken.

AFA began publication of its journal Autism Network in 1994.

In addition to the work by AFA, the Karnataka Parents Association for Mentally Retarded Children (KPAMRC) initiated a one-year training focused on autism in 1996.

By the late nineties a few autism specific organisations had begun in different parts of the country, as well as a few schools, chief among them Asha in Bangalore, Ashiana Institute for Autism in Mumbai, Communication DEALL in Bangalore, Development Centre for Children with Autism (DCCA)in Hyderabad, Priyanj in Mumbai, and We Can in Chennai. ‘Forum for Autism,’ a parent support group started in Mumbai.

After campaigning with the RCI for years, AFA’s teacher training programme, Diploma in Special Education (Autism Spectrum Disorders), was given formal recognition in 2003. The programme had been running since 1994.

By the early 2000s, several additional parent organisations for autism had formed, among them Autism Society West Bengal, CATCH in Bhubaneswar and Pathways in Pune. At the time of writing there are around 79 schools and organisations all over India that specialise in teaching children with Autism.

As these milestones illustrate, awareness of autism in India has experienced tremendous growth in less than a decade. Growth has occurred in numerous domains: diagnosis, treatment and educational options, parental involvement, vocational options, human resource development, and legislation.

Communication DEALL in Bangalore,

Development Centre for Children with Autism (DCCA)in Hyderabad

Forum for Autism,’ a parent support group started in Mumbai.

Action For Autism (AFA) was founded 1991

The Karnataka Parents Association for Mentally Retarded Children (KPAMRC)

Ashiana Institute for Autism in Mumbai

Role of NGOs in ASD Care

The key areas of NGO's are working towards Education, Awareness, Research, Training, Advocacy. They direct their efforts to facilitate a barrier free environment that enables the empowerment of persons with Autism and their families; and act as a catalyst to enable persons with Autism to live as fully participating members of the community. They Partners with other organisations to increase acceptance of and inclusivity for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) .NGO's aim is to bring about a significant change in the lives of children affected with ASD through family-centered holistic care and best practice principles. Their inclusive approach and a range of services focus on creating a conducive environment in the society where persons with ASD are able to realize their full potential .It imparts functional academics, activities of daily living and vocational skills aims providing equal opportunities and bringing in independent, comprehensive and curative education to underprivileged children with special needs.

Video on CADRRE

Video on Swabodhini Charitable Trust

Action For Autism

Communication Deall




Contact number: +91 8275284178

Aarambh Autism Center, Aurangabad

Aarambh’s mission is to provide quality education to the autistic children and adults. Using advanced therapies and holistic approach, the organization is not only helping kids and adults fight ASD but also counselling their families.

#L 76/A, HBCS Kirloskar Colony

III Stage, IV Block Basveswarnagar Bangalore 560079 , Phone: 91-80-2322-5279 / 2323-0357



Contact Numbers: +91 80 23225279 / 23230357

Academy for Severe Handicaps and Autism (ASHA), Bengaluru

Academy for Severe Handicaps and Autism provides education along with a comprehensive set of therapies to individuals with autism spectrum disorders. In over two decades, ASHA has evolved and developed capabilities and expertise to address the different needs

This day-school provides training and education to children with special needs. It aims at creating world-class learning environment for people with ASD. ASHA focuses on utilizing a child’s potential by providing him or her with assistance, training and support.



Educational Programs

Social Communication Programs

Inclusive Activities

Occupational & Sensory Interventions

Work & Employment

Moving Towards Self Reliance

Family Support & Empowerment

Assisted Living



Address :

Action For Autism

The National Centre for Autism Pocket 7 & 8,

Jasola Vihar New Delhi 110 025 India

91 11 4054 0991

+ 91 11 4054 0992


Fax : + 91 11 4054 0994

Action for Autism, Delhi

'A society that views the interdependence of people OF every ability as valuable and enriching, and seeks to provide equal opportunities for all.'

Action for Autism is a not for profit organization that pioneered the autism movement in South Asia, and strives to access the rights of individuals with autism and their families. AFA is involved in lifespan activities including * early intervention, education, * assessments, * work and employment, * independent living, as well as * awareness, * advocacy and * research.

AFA partners with organisations nationally and internationally to make the world a more inclusive place for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Through a concerted effort from our various wings: Open Door Clinical Services (Direct services for individuals with autism and their families), AADHAAR (Vocational Centre for adults with autism), Anvay (Research and Trainings), AAHAAN (Publications), AAILAAN (Advocacy), AFA addresses the individual needs of people with autism, their families and the autism community as a whole.

Action For Autism Film



Contact number: 0484-2389448

Adarsh Charitable Trust, Cochin

This organization works with autistic kids and focuses on early intervention. They aim at improving communication, cognitive skills, social skills and also enhance the attention span of the kids. Through music therapy, play therapy, special education, hydrotherapy and many other types of training, Adarsh Charitable Trust is trying to bring a significant change in autistic kids.

New 7, Bhagirathi Street

R.A.Puram, Chennai 600028 India

Phone: 91-44-2461-2668



AIKYA -Centre to Integrate the Different*

AIKYA helps to promote the welfare and interests of children with Autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome and specific learning disabilities. To improve the support these children receive, AIKYA provides a wide range of materials for teachers, parents and others who work with children with special needs. We hope this blog will be a valuable resource for parents, schools, teachers, and professionals.

Amrit Foundation*

The focus of Amrit’s work is presently on children with intellectual and developmental challenges. Our flagship programme – The Little Peepul Tree – aims to create a level playing field for children with intellectual and development disability, giving everyone a chance to succeed. We do this by creating new knowledge, sharing critical resources and building networks of support for people with challenges and their caregivers. We specifically focus on Autism

+91-98485 13192


Deliver measurable outcomes for children with developmental delays and special needs through integration of specialist therapies, parent support & training. Autism therapy uses right combination of Speech & language, Occupational therapy + play & Behaviour/ABA therapy

Speech Therapy

Our Speech-Language Pathologists are trained to work with children with a variety of childhood developmental delays and disorders

Behaviour Therapy

The therapists at Ananya work closely with parents. Our methods help parents learn to create structure, reinforce good behaviour

Arvind Foundation

Arvind Foundation is a charitable organization for special needs children (children with cerebral palsy, Autism, ADHD, ADD, Arvind Foundation is a charitable organisation with the sole aim of providing equal opportunities and bringing in independent, comprehensive and curative education to underprivileged children with special needs. This includes children challenged with cerebral palsy, Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Down’s syndrome, dyslexia and a number of other neurological disorders.

By educating individuals with special needs or different abilities, equipping them with life skills and training them to be as independent as possible, the foundation is bringing them closer to a meaningful and respectful adulthood. From a humble beginning of caring for two children, today they have six day-care centres

+91 9706014608 (Project Management and Public Relations Officer)

+91 9706042918 (Administration and Finance Officer)

+91 9864027292 (Consultant Pediatrician)

Assam Autism Foundation

This is one of the best organizations in Assam working in the field of autism. They focus on spreading awareness of developmental disabilities and the methods of rehabilitation. AAF has a Day Care Centre, Community Awareness activities, Research Works, Swashroy Project dealing with paper products and Speech and Communication Development Centre.



Contact Number: +91 80 25567762, +91 97414 18103

Assisted Living for Autistic Adults (ALFAA), Bengaluru

ALFAA is Assisted Living for Autistic Adults. The primary objective of ALFAA is to create good quality living conditions and related facilities for adults with Autism in India.

Autistic children riding bicycles as part of an outdoor activity at Autism Centre for Excellence.

Autism Centre for Excellence

Autism Centre for Excellence

Autism Centre for Excellence (ACE) was launched in Gurugram in 2014 by Archana Nayar and Sameer Nayar, after they perceived a gap in early intervention for people with autism.

ACE aims to impart communication, academic, self-help and social skills through Applied Behavioural Analysis, a scientifically validated approach based on some of the principles of behaviour. ACE conducts self-help sessions, occupational therapy programs, as well as fun activities like cycling, football, and relay for 35 autistic children and adults on a daily basis.

“We train people affected with autism to hone their academic and social skills. We have our very own campus consisting of classrooms, therapy spaces, and play areas. Parents tend to undergo a lot of stress in terms of dealing with their children affected with autism, Hence, we have given the parents access to a huge repository of content detailing the symptoms and treatment of the disorder,” explains Archana, Director of ACE.