Saturday, April 2, 2022

Rahul, a 23 years old with autism spectrum disorder wins various awards after being diagnosed with positive attitude and patience

2nd October has been recognised as World Autism Awareness Day 2022. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about autism and also to make people understand that those who are affected by autism need support and kindness. Not only that we also need to hold up with their family members, especially with parents. Ruhi Mali shares the story of her brother, 23 years old Rahul Mali and the struggle of her parents. 

Ruhaan, (yes this is the name we loved to call him) had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of 3. At first all his activities were normal. But slowly we noticed a delay in his speech (As said by Rahul's mother Renjini Mali) As each day passed my parents started noticing more symptoms of autism like poor eye contact, repetitive behaviour, hyperactivity & more.

Later, they consulted a developmental pediatrician. The pediatrician said that your son has some psychological disorder & was suggested to consult a psychologist. After knowing about his symptoms, Psychologist said that Ruhaan is an Autistic Child & he needs therapies & proper training.

In the beginning, there were many challenges as ruhaan was not able to speak. My parents struggled a lot to connect and understand ruhaan which was not easy and that made him frustrated.

Shortly,  after that he started receiving regular occupational, physical and speech therapy at special school. With the help of special school & therapies now ruhaan is improving to some extent day by day.  Slowly he developed his hobbies like travelling, watching picture books, cooking, running, colouring etc. He has also achieved 2nd prize in sports and colouring. What a proud moment for me as a sister and for my parents. 

Mothering a  child with Autism is one of the most challenging tasks ever. It requires patience, a positive attitude and spiritual acceptance. But my mom is a tenacious woman. She tackled all these so easily. 

According to my father It is important for parents to be aware and observant as soon as possible to find potential problems for proper intervention. Previously it was very difficult to take Rahul in crowded places, as he used to get irritated. He used to behave abnormally and people used to think that he has some mental disorder. It was always heartbroken for my father when people used to give us advice to consult some priest or psychiatrist. Once he ran away from home. He was only five then. My parents found him in a police Jeep. Police also taunted us, ``What kind of parents are you? You can't even take care of your child.

Earlier here in Mumbai there was no such proper medical treatment available for autism. It was known by very few people. People used to think that autism is some illness. Thanks to bollywood movies & tv shows like Barfi & Aapki Antara due to which people are getting aware about what autism is. Most children with autism are enrolled in normal schools, attend a special classroom made just for them

Earlier Rahul was very violent. He used to break things & bite his hands, used to become very much hyper. As a sister I always feel helpless. But after that he has improved to some extent.

Teachers always praise him for cooperating in school and even he has been awarded as most obedient student in his school. 

Special educator Sandhya Dessai shares with Bong Journal about Autism

Sandhya Dessai is a special educator. She is running a special school for the children with Autism and learning disability since past 13 years.  Her classroom is in a general school building so that the Autism students can mix up with normal students.

Autism is a lifelong childhood neuro - developmental disorder that impacts a person's thinking abilities, communication, understanding, speech, social interactions and behaviour. Children with Autism are very special. They live in their own world. They have a some unique qualities that we wish sometimes the rest of the world had too. Like being dependable in regards to schedules and routines, being dependable in regards to schedules and routines. Autism is caused due to sub normal functioning of some areas in the brain. The symptoms of Autism are usually noticed before or at the age of 3, but sometimes it is noticed at a much older age.

Symptoms of Autism usually include repetitive behaviour, not maintaining eye contact, delayed language skills, hyperactive behaviour, lack of empathy, unusual reactions, etc. Each child with Autism has different symptoms.

However the cure for autism is very rare but the early interventions like therapies, training and medications can help them lead a normal life to some extent.

Sandhya Dessai suggested that as a parent you should be aware and remain alert in order to detect possible problems for appropriate interventions as early as possible. Self diagnosis should be avoided. There are a variety of signs and symptoms that may be difficult to manage but the problems can be controlled and are treatable.

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