Autism day, in Milan a 25-meter mural celebrates inclusion: “So whoever looks at it will remember that we exist too”

Autism day, in Milan a 25-meter mural celebrates inclusion: “So whoever looks at it will remember that we exist too”
Autism day, in Milan a 25-meter mural celebrates inclusion: “So whoever looks at it will remember that we exist too”
Something big, beautiful and colorful that leaves its mark and remains visible for all those who frequent the park in a Milanese suburb. On the occasion of the World Autism Awareness Day of 2 April, the association The Nettle, which is part of Solidarity House, organized the creation of a mural “Beyond the blue, April 2, 2021” (blue is the internationally symbolic color of autism, ed) about 25 meters inside the park of Villa Filzi, Gorla zone (Milano), where the association is located. They did it “to remember that people with autism exist not only on paper or guidelines, but they must also exist as an inclusion in society, as projects in which they are involved, in placements in the world of work and in the various therapies that are almost always totally dependent on the families ”, he tells Fabrizia Rondelli, president of Ortica and mother of Fabrizio, 25-year-old autistic boy. It is about a mural against the barriers, prejudices and isolation of people with autism. “With this initiative we want to let citizens know that autism exists, all families looking at this new mural they will remember us too, we wanted to leave clearly visible and colored traces, symbols in which we can recognize ourselves. Since the wall represents a sort of barrier – continues Rondelli – we want with this act overcome obstacles in reference to World Autism Day. It is necessary to realize that there are contexts of diversity within the park and that there is also the possibility of crossing people with autism ”. To give a hand to a dozen autistic children, of different ages and with different autism behaviors, but with a great common passion for street art, and their respective tutors in the artistic realization also participated Davide Sottile, lecturer at the European Institute of Design (IED) as well as a writer of passion. For the coordinator of the initiative, “the fact of having whitewashed a wall in a degraded space and neglected by local authorities means that these young people are taking care of a public place, testifying that we can all work hard to create beautiful works, with an action that helps them to feel good, to feel like protagonists. If autistics can do it, let it be an incentive to all other citizens as well. In diversity it is important to show that we are all part of the same society ”.

“We have not stopped our activities. It would be nice to find new young volunteers to introduce them to the world of autism “ – Even through the mural, the hope of the association is to be able to involve other young people in their many initiatives, perhaps as volunteers to help out and improve the quality of life of autistic people. “It would be nice to find guys who want to try their hand and learn about the world of autism. Despite the emergency and respecting all the anti Covid regulations – says Rondelli – we have kept the doors of our association open, guaranteed the continuity of projects ranging from weaving and clay workshops, from gardening to music and dance activities, shortly. we will also start the bowls. It is important not to make our children feel alone but to involve them“. To avoid crowds they have decided to divide the entrances: there are, for example, 5 children who participate in the activities on Tuesdays, 4 on Wednesdays, 7 on Thursdays, 4 on Fridays, then about 10 children and pre-adolescents are involved in activities of individual type.

“My son is happy when he goes to the association, thanks to the company of his friends and the many things to do he is able to give meaning to his life” – People with autism who participate in the projects of the Milanese association have increased and is also developing the network promoted by Casa Blu with educational, rehabilitation and training courses. “I am happy to have found an association like L’Ortica because when my son goes to them he feels good, I like to see him happy and so he is able to give meaning to his life outside the school context”. To tell the is Cristina Better, mother of Giacomo, 16-year-old autistic. They live in Melegnano but “always willingly” go to Villa Filzi to participate in the various activities proposed. “Giacomo attends the first high school of a regional school in Lodi, inserted in a ‘special’ class that may seem like a ghetto but in reality is more functional to the well-being of my autistic son”. The boy is included in a personalized path that helps him, stimulates him and also makes him do internships as an assistant cook. He has never missed a day of school in attendance since September 2020 but then when class ends the problems begin. “What we suffer so much is that my son spends his afternoons almost always closed at home, with lockdowns he can’t see friends and play sports. He manifests this discomfort with tears, anger and very sad moods ”. In the area there is little or nothing for children like Giacomo. So, whenever possible, Cristina brings her son in association to Milan. Cristina denounces the lack of adequate structures, “for teenagers like Giacomo in our area there is nothing and we must rely on parents’ associations because at the level of assistance, inclusion, planning here we have nothing. Our reference unit for Neuropsychiatry of Childhood and Adolescence (UONPIA) told us that there is no possibility for Giacomo to start any educational path ”. Parents try to support him when they see him in crisis, “we try to take a walk but I know that he prefers to be with his friends and participate in the initiatives of the Ortica. The only support is the associative one, letting him meet the guys he knows, being able to be with them as much as possible ”, Cristina ends.

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