As part of the early intervention program that we are conducting for lower income families with children with special needs, parents’ training is an important component for a better outcome. Portage is a home based early intervention model having a series of activities that the child should be doing at different age levels. Ms. Suma Shastry, a trained Portage consultant conducted the sessions for 20 parents for 2 weeks from 25thJune in association with CBR Network South Asia.
The program was well received and the mothers were able to better understand how to address skill deficits in their children. We see more involvement of the mothers in the early intervention program.
To add to the parents’ knowledge, Dr. Venkat Lakshmi, a professor from the Dept. of Human Development of Smt. VHD Home Science College, Bangalore, conducted a session on 'Child Development' on 16thJuly. The workshops helped parents of younger children with special needs from the early intervention program to gain an understanding on the developmental milestones and development through the years.
A parent had the following feedback about the workshop –
“The workshop has definitely helped me to better understand my child’s areas of needs and gave many tips. It was also explained in Kannada using simple terms”
Being a parent is a tough job and being a parent of a special child is daunting. Dr. Venkat Lakshmi visited ASHA again to conduct a workshop on ‘Parenting of Children with Special Needs’ on 26thJuly and gave practical tips to cope with the demands of parenting.
A Musical Twist
We frequently come across children who show a love of rhythmic and classical music and show less stereotypical behaviours. We were convinced after coming across research on the same that music does bring huge benefits. We were fortunate to associate with ladies from Innerwheel Vijayanagar Dist 319 who took a lot of effort to conduct a workshop on music therapy with a focus on autism on the 20thand 21stJuly.
Dr. Meenakshi Ravi, Director of Meera Center for Music Therapy and Research and Dr. Geetha R. Bhat, Founder of Hamsakutira Foundation gave a comprehensive and practical guide on how music can be used as intervention.
The 60 participants included special educators, teachers and parents. To make the program sustainable, we are guiding the participants to visit other special schools to practice music.
Parents often struggle with balancing nutrition and catering to their child’s taste buds. Children with autism especially have rigid likes and dislikes regarding food and balancing nutrition is a tough task for parents and obesity is common. Dr. Raghu K.C. of Pristine Organics, spoke to the parents on 'Good Food for Disease Prevention'. With his vast experience in creating diets for children with rare disorders, Dr. Raghu highlighted foods that are tasty as well as nutritious for the child and the parents.
Some of the common feedback about the session were ‘fun and engaging’. We noticed many questions from parents on what’s good and to improve their eating habits.
Autism and Medication
Parents often are concerned about medication, how they work and the long term effects. Dr. Krishna Thalagavara, consultant psychiatrist at ASHA conducted a session on 'The Role of Medication in Children with Autism and ADD' for parents and professionals. He spoke on how medication is helpful in reducing some of the symptoms of autism and hyperactivity. He stressed on the importance of proper dosage and duration of medication and contraindications associated with medications.