Because different means special: the commitment to autism of IBSA and Fondazione Danelli Onlus.02 April 2023
Feeling out of place, unaccepted; perceiving the difference with the others as a burden: in our daily lives, each of us experiences a similar situation, which often turns into fragility. Acceptance of oneself and of the other is the first step in creating a fruitful relationship with those perceived as “different”; but diversity does not mean fear, distance, extraneousness: on the contrary, it’s an opportunity for interaction and growth. Diversity becomes “peculiarity”, in the positive sense of the term and, on World Autism Awareness Day, it becomes even more important to reflect on this critical change of scene, in a perspective of true inclusion.
It is precisely in this direction that Fondazione Danelli Onlus operates, together with I Bambini delle Fate (“The Children of Fairies”), carrying out projects and initiatives to support people with disabilities, in particular children with autism. Exchange is the core of the activities of the foundation, which professes a new paradigm for the acceptance of the “different”: it’s necessary to rethink the relationship with the most fragile and walk out of the traditional vision of what can be done for them, to reach a broader and more positive perspective, leading us to wonder what fragile people can give to others.
“The keyword is “beyond”: accepting the challenge of inclusion means promoting interaction and exchange, to establish meaningful relationships”, attested Francesco Chiodaroli, Director of the foundation. “Overcoming diversity allows to give and at the same time receive something in return”.
Supported by IBSA Farmaceutici, the Fondazione Danelli day care centre in the Lodi area hosts 180 children, of whom approximately 90 with autism and the rest affected by other more or less serious physical or cognitive disabilities. To teach them to communicate, the foundation studied and adopted the psycho-educational approach (called ABA – Applied Behaviour Analysis), which involves children aged 2 to 6 and which is currently the approach supported by the most scientific evidence in the field of treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. In addition, an autonomy model was also developed, to allow all fragile subjects to become independent over time, and therefore acquire social skills.
The many experiences collected by the foundation emphasise the value of the commitment through the small but great results that the kids achieve every day, getting to go out without fear, telling others about themselves and accepting that the word autism does not mean disease, but it’s only a different way of functioning.
Indeed, Fondazione Danelli – together with I Bambini delle Fate – conveys “another vision” of the social environment: without denying or minimising the burden of daily challenges and efforts, it is essential to tell “with a smiling face” the potential of these children and young people and the great strength of their families.