iPad is Revolutionizing Autism Awareness

Finally, my iPad book, Living With Autism, a multi-touch book has been published on iTunes. The iPad, for me, is a good platform to tell multimedia stories. But I faced many challenges publishing from Nepal.

For seven years as a journalist, I worked on a television station in Nepal; I also wrote for print, online, blogs, and on social media. No platform has been as effective in telling a simple story than the iPad. It's quite interesting with the flexibility it provides - one can include photo galleries, video, interactive diagrams, 3D objects, and more. The iBooks Author app, which allows users to create books on the iPad, is an easy-to-use software that has helped me design, layout and publish the book. Living with Autism, free to download for iPad, is divided into five sections and is supplemented by infographics, photos, video, text and social media elements.

Autism is a life-long neuro-developmental disorder. The United Nations has said that autism is growing as a global health crisis. But many people in Nepal don’t know about autism because we lack awareness programs. 

I chose this topic because mainstream media in Nepal has ignored this issue and the government has not done anything. We don't have a single autism care center for adult autistic people here. 

There was one difficulty that I had to overcome. No banks in Nepal accept MasterCard, a requirement for even free book publishers on iTunes. I went through all the banks and their credit card offices in Kathmandu asking for a valid credit card number that works internationally. Their response was the same: "Sorry, we don't have such policy." I wrote to Apple saying that I cannot use MasterCard in Nepal. I tried to convince them, but they tried not to understand my concerns with their policy. Luckily, my friend from another country shared his credit card to let me upload the book. 

I have requested that Apple have a policy that is friendly to developing countries, not just to developing nations. I also requested that banks in Nepal start thinking globally. 

How can the book reach a Nepali audience? To view my Multi-Touch book, users must have an iPad and the iBooks 2 app. I totally acknowledge that the readership may be low from rural Nepal, as my country is going through load-shedding -- an intentional electrical power shutdown for non-overlapping periods of time to prevent a total power outage. But I wanted to experiment and figure out what's possible in Nepal. My work on autism is just a start, not an end.

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Rajneesh Bhandari

Rajneesh Bhandari is a multimedia journalist based in Nepal with nine years of experience.

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