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Autism Intervention Centre at Dharavi completes a year

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
By Steffy Thevar

The younger the kids, the better are chances for recovery and treatment; 48 children treated in a year and 76 certified

The 'Autism Intervention Centre' (AIC) at the Dharavi hospital of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has recently completed a year. The centre was run in collaboration with Hi-Media Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. This centre has treated over 48 students in the urban health centre of the hospital, locally known as 'Chhota Sion Hospital' and 76 children have been given certifications as informed by the Chief Medical Officer of the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Corporation, General Hospital, Dr. Radha Gulati-Ghaldiyal. This centre is run by the BMC and so, economic barrier is not a question for autistic kids from the lower economic group.

While giving more details about this project, Mona Gajre said that if a proper treatment is given to these kids as early as possible, then treatment is effective and results are evident. The kids reflect a socially acceptable behaviour if intense therapies are given. Normally, every one kid in 110 are found to be autistic in the country. Once a child is diagnosed to be autistic, the regular medication needs to be administered. It is necessary to combine medicines through pediatrics, psychiatry and occupational therapy. In view of this, treatment of these children is done in a suitable environment and fortunately, the kids have shown remarkable positive changes.

In this centre, there are various state-of-the-art materials and toys for the age group of 2 to 16 years. According to a medical test, according to the level of autism, sessions are arranged for each week and are treated like four sessions for children with very high levels of autism, three sessions for people those who are moderate and one or two sessions for low levels of autism. The centre charges Rs. 250 for the treatment of one session, however this service is offered free of cost to the children Below Poverty Line and to the students of municipal schools. According to this treatment centre, 48 children were treated in the last one year.

Apart from this, the facility of giving certificates that are necessary to get benefits of various government facilities for autistic children is also available at this treatment centre. On the basis of this certificate, the parents of autistic children can apply for reimbursement of medical expenses, Income Tax Rebate, travel concession, educational facilities etc. under the 'Niramaya' scheme. Accordingly, 76 certificates were issued in the last one year.

Dr. Gajare said, “The younger kids are easy to treat and the results are also evident. We plan to introduce intense therapies over the years which are now restricted to only adolescent kids, and will now be tried on younger kids starting from the age group of two years. We want to increase community awareness and include not just pediatricians but also general doctors and also schools who can refer kids to our centre. Our communication will also create awareness that autism is nothing to be scared of and that the child can be treated over time.” She further added that the centre has two dedicated psychiatrists for the parents and the supporting members of the family so that their doubts and fears can be cleared. She also said that just like any medical condition, there is a state of grief and denial in the beginning but there have been no cases of abandonment of the kids by the parents. The kids are mostly from in and across the city in this centre.

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