Pune: Seven-year-old Vipul Bharap is not able to climb stairs or jump like other children of his age. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder related to muscles that increasingly weaken and further breaks down skeletal muscles over time. His mother, Vidya, hailing from Moshi in Pune, said that the treatment is going on for two years, however, the situation would have been different if the disorder was detected earlier.
She further emphasised that she visits the District Early Intervention Center (DEIC) at Aundh Hospital at least once a week to ensure that the treatment therapy is regular.
Since its inception in January 2015, the DEIC has treated over 34,051 special children. From April 2017 to September 2017, the centre has counselled 10,736 more new cases of specially-abled children and given follow up to 9,666 children. Speaking to Sakal Times, Meenakshi Kamble, Manager and Occupational therapist at DEIC said that the facility ensures proper guidance and therapy to parents as well as specially-abled children.
“The parents who visit the centre are not very economically sound and often do not notice the early symptoms of autism, cerebral palsy and other genetic disorder. And hence they need counselling as well. We make them aware of the condition of the child and insist they come for therapy and follow up treatments. Our aim at the centre is to ensure that the mild to moderately affected children should be able to live in the mainstream after undergoing therapy,” said Kamble.
She mentioned that the children are taught services that relate to self-help skills, adaptive behaviour and play, sensory, motor, and postural development, that is, services to prevent or lessen movement difficulties and related functional problems.
Speaking about the centre, RK Shelke, Civil Surgeon at Aundh Hospital said that the DEIC is first of its kind centre in the entire State.
“With good results coming from DEIC, the State government has initiated a plan where such centres will be replicated at each district giving support and proper intervention at an early age to special children,” said Shelke.
Sampada Phate from Chinchwad, mother of Shripad Phate, who has cerebral palsy, said that the five-year-old now responds to what she says and after two years of treatment and has been doing well.
Speaking about Shripad’s response to the therapy, Physiotherapist Dr Amruta Pandey said, “He is now able to sit on a chair and respond to what the parents are asking. He laughs when you ask him to smile. But after the seizures, we have to start working from the start. The graph is full of ups and downs but the overall response from the child is very motivating.”
India has the highest number of preterm babies
- According to the data furnished by UNICEF, India’s youngest citizens, those in the 0-8 age group, comprise close to 18 per cent of the population that is 113 million boys and 104 million girls.
- Many children are born early, with India having the highest number of preterm babies that is 3.5 million. Babies born preterm have the highest risk of birth defects, which exacerbate developmental delays.
- In India, 1.5 million babies are born with birth defects and the incidence of explicit developmental delays is 1.5 to 2 per cent in children less than 2 years of age.
- This increases to 10 per cent in early childhood years when developmental delays lead to disabilities, many of which cause weaknesses and are often incurable.
- Access to appropriate medical care is lacking in most cases of developmental delays.