Nishali and Nived interacted with both mainstream and special needs (multiple disabilities) students aged 6-21 years, in order to obtain a firsthand account of the aspirations and ground reality of mentally challenged individuals in India. What they witnessed and felt was nothing short of moving, as students, teachers and parents greeted them with an open heart and shared their tales of happiness and despair. Coming from a country like the U.S. where healthcare and educational facilities are well above par by global standards, they could instantly realize that India and the surrounding countries lack the awareness necessary to manage autism and thought they should do something about it. The good news was that they came in contact with a group of mainstream students committed to spreading awareness and building a huge network of members.
As with most undertakings, LetUsConnect for Autism began to take shape as its members and advisors started weighing all aspects of a project that would involve students, technologies and cultures separated by time, distance and many other factors. What started out as a simple concept soon transformed into a more developed and refined idea where the participating students can spread awareness by enrolling new students on the portal; get in touch with interested youngsters on a project-oriented social media platform (Nishali and Nived have already started connecting to students from other countries on Facebook); host awareness events; help raise funds to support special needs education infrastructure and accomplish much more.