Surya Hospitals develops a better life for another autistic kid on this Autistic Pride Day.


A different way of being, getting a different treatment

Mumbai, 21 June 2019: 3 years old Sahan (name changed) had an uneventful birth, and had been growing up well with no major health concerns. He had started walking a little later than rest of his peers.He was yet to start pedalling on a bicycle.

Though the family had been concerned since a long time about such behaviour of their son, they avoided going to the doctors for a long time, since other people counselled them that Sahan would sooner or later overcome these concerns. However, the parents always had the feeling that something was wrong with their adorable child. Finally he was referred by his paediatrician to the child development clinic at Surya Hospital with some concerns of delays in talking. Other concerns included, him not being able to sit in his nursery classroom.He also liked spinning wheels of toys constantly and was extremely choosy about food.

Once Sahan entered the clinic, though silent, he did not sit at one place, he roamed until he found a toy train, whose wheels he spinned to his own content. He also counted aloud one to ten and was repetitive in doing the same. Imitating any actions was quite a challenge for Sahan. It was as if Sahan was trapped in a giant bubble with no way to connect or be heard by people outside this bubble. It was very important that after this, a team of developmental pediatrician and therapists planned an intervention programme for Sahan that also involved his parents.

Dr Rajeshwari Ganesh (Consultant Developmental Pediatrician) dedicated an entire team at Surya comprising of inputs from herself and therapists, which took into consideration the priorities of the parents as well, while creating the programme for Sahan.

His parents wanted that Sahan should communicate what he was thinking instead of crying and banging his head as well as for him to develop a healthy eating pattern, therefore his intervention programme focused on building his motor imitation and attention skills as well as communication.

The crucial element in his treatment plan was to create a goal plan, done by Dr. Rajeshwari Ganesh so that the starting point of the treatment was established and that created a positive learning environment without frustrating the child.

The programme had started by building his motor imitation as well as his play skills with occupational therapy, it also used incidental teaching and behavioural strategies like rewarding him with his favourite toy when he pointed to the object or used a gesture to request, while keeping in mind that pulling his parents hand to communicate had to be completely eliminated.

After this his eating pattern had to be corrected as well, for which the developmental pediatrician formulated  a healthy meal plan which incorporated adding small amounts of new food items every day and responding him with praise and enthusiasm when he attempted to taste the same simultaneously.

Monthly monitoring of goals set by therapists and tracking Sahan’s improvement as well as training his parents had also been a part of the treatment program, so that Sahan’s parents could teach him at home too.

Sahan was 3 when he started this intervention programme, and now he is 3 years and 8 months old, within 8 months Sahan could start communicating in single words and is now currently using two to three word sentences. to communicate his needs and interests  .He is also attending his school now and is paying attention to his teachers better than before .His food habits have also improved greatly making him a non-fussy eater.

This had been made possible only due to the combined and steady efforts of Sahan’s parents and thr team of professionals working with the child . As Dr Rajeshwari Ganesh said“While Sahan’s journey  is far from being over, his parents are happy about the fact that their child is improving day by day, and that there might be a day when he finally has achieved normalcy in day to day living . The family is empowered now and they know how to teach their child and are actively involved in their child’s care.”

She further added, “Autism is not difficult to detect,  but it is always difficult to accept. With early intervention and intensive care  , such as in the case of Sahan by the Surya Hospital’s child development clinic, there is scope for tremendous improvement in the child and family ‘s well-being .

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