When my son Manav was born, says Reena, his mother, the mid wife took one look at him and said he will never be like other children. At first I did not understand because he looked beautiful to me and he is my first child. A son. The whole family was so happy and proud. But soon I began to realize what the midwife said was perhaps true because Manav could not move his legs at all and he always looked vaguely around him not even responding to his name.
But I am lucky, she continues, since both my husband and my mother in law understood that something was wrong with Manav though we did not know what it was and most important they did not blame me for his condition. I know one woman who is blamed for bringing "bad blood" into the family since her son was born with a disability .I was afraid to go out with Manav in case people realized that he was different. Until one day when Sarojini came knocking on the door. She said she came from an organization called Samadhan and they looked after children like Manav in the center.
Early this year, in the month of January, I went with my mother in law to the center of Samadhan which is not very far. The coordinator asked me many questions. Manav is now 2 years and 6 months but cannot walk or talk. I met Anita Rawat who is the assistant to the Physio therapist .She encouraged me to come regularly every day for some exercises and she said I had to learn how to do this at home by myself also. Another young man also talked to me and said that with time Manav will also be able to speak but we have to be patient and help him to learn. This was the speech therapist.
Anita the therapy assistant is happy at Manav’s progress. He has been with us for about five months now and has shown remarkable improvement she says. He can now stand by himself and can walk with support holding his father’s finger. He has even begun to smile and reach out for toys .
Manav’’s story seems to be the favorite topic when the women meet at the vegetable market .Two mothers have come to us having met Manavs mother at this market and with children at home they knew were not like other children but did not know where to go .So Manav and his mother have unknowingly acted as agents of change being a living example of how early intervention can often reduce future complications.
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