“There is still a huge lack of awareness when it comes to autism and children,” Dr. Prathibha Karanth explains. She is a very engaged and warm-hearted person and known for her lifetime engagement for children with autism all over India.
“Often parents do not recognize it at an early stage, they don’t want to see a difference or ask fo help, or they are not able to come to us due to their financial situation. But it is so important to start some therapeutic support as early as possible. Then the whole development of the child can be supported much better.”
I’m visiting Communication DEALL Trust in Bangalore. The Communication DEALL (Developmental Eclectic Approach to Language Learning) is an early intervention program for children with developmental language disorders such as Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Specific Language Impairment and Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia. The individualized therapy program provides motor, social, emotional, cognitive and communication training. The DEALL program provides intensive stimulation.
Inclusive training units – every day
When I enter the building a lot of parents and children are there, joining daily therapies. In small groups the children exercise together with therapists, the parents can watch, sometimes they assist. Others are waiting outside in the yard.
“It’s important that parents are involved. We teach them what they can do to assist the child at home. We have developed a clear gap analysis tool and can measure the single developmental stages and progresses.” She shows me at the computer the analysis tool and also the printed materials.
It’s impressive to see the profiles, the progress and also what happens when the therapy ends too early.
“At the age of eight we see a kind of stabilization in the child. Sometimes parents stop coming when the children do better. But then we see regression. The children unlearn doing things, cannot speak any more, fall back to a very early development stage in some of their attitudes”, adds Dr. Karanth.
In front of the entrance a very nice carpet based motor exercise has been set up.
A mother explains: “My son has gotten over his separation anxiety. His gross motor, fine motor skills, his attention span, his communication, his interaction with others have improved a lot. We are very thankful.”
Digital tools are under development
“In the future we want to go digital with our programs. We need to reach people in the rural area and those who have not the money to come here,” says Dr Karanth.
When I ask her what else is needed most she says some money to establish more training centers and for offering free trainings to people who cannot afford. And raising awareness among parents as early as possible….
I’m sure this will be a huge step ahead. There is still too many children in the world who could be helped.