On Nov 1, 2010, citizens around the world will become part of, ‘Communication Shutdown’, a global initiative extended across 40 countries to create awareness and raise funds for charity for Autism. Through this initiative, people around the world have been challenged to go without Facebook or Twitter, for one day. A press communiqué states that since social communication is one of the biggest challenges for people with autism, by choosing to shutdown their social networks for one day, users will have some idea of what it’s like for people with autism who face this challenge every day.
The Communication Shutdown campaign encourages Facebook and Twitter users to make a donation and receive a charity app or (CHAPP) that will signal their support and intention to boycott their social networking accounts on 1 November.
ComScore has released a August 2010 report on traffic to social networking sites in India, revealing that India has over 33 million social network users and globally more than two thirds of the world’s population stay connected through networks like Facebook and Twitter.
The Communication Shutdown fundraising campaign will also serve as a social experiment on social media habits. From October 1 onwards, the Communication Shutdown CHAPP will be available on the campaign website www.communicationshutdown.org. The site will also host a global mosaic where supporters can see their profile pictures next to celebrities who have signed up.
“My wife Katharin and I started The Asha Foundation Trust in 2001 to help differently-abled children with a focus on those suffering from autism. My only child is autistic and I am therefore intimately aware of the challenges they live through in their daily life. They are misunderstood, socially isolated and live in their own world, shut-off from the mainstream. Communication Shutdown is a simple effort to make people feel what autistic individuals go through in their everyday lives,” said Ramesh Vangal, Chief Patron, The Asha Foundation Trust.
‘Communication Shutdown’ was started by an organization called the AEIOU Foundation (http://aeiou.org.au/), a not-for-profit organisation that provides early intervention therapy for children with autism in Australia. In India, the awareness about autism is being led by an organization called the Asha Foundation, (www.ashafoundation.org) a provider of physical, social and emotional rehabilitation for individuals, particularly children, afflicted by autism.