Auxiliary Therapy for children with special needs

by Tamahar Trust
Auxiliary Therapy for children with special needs
Auxiliary Therapy for children with special needs
Auxiliary Therapy for children with special needs
Auxiliary Therapy for children with special needs
Auxiliary Therapy for children with special needs
Auxiliary Therapy for children with special needs

Tamahar provides 5 Auxiliary therapies that support the core developmental intervention of all children. They are - Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Yoga and Music therapy.

Hiring these therapists full time is a daunting task in India, given the lack of qualified professionals willing to work in the non-profit space. The availability of these professionals too is limited to urban areas. Most non-profits like us have such therapists onboard as consultants or simply refer their beneficiaries to hospitals and clinics for separate therapy sessions.

However, we strongly believe that a child deserves a better life than one spent in transit from one therapy to another, forever working hard towards building skills. In the process, their childhood slips by, unrealized. With this in mind, we have ensured that each child gets ALL the therapies he/she needs SIMULTANEOUSLY, and UNDER THE SAME ROOF. Taking that call wasn't all though. Doing this required professionals who would give ample amount of time to each child, not just advice but implement the therapy.

We have always had part-time consultants on our therapy team, but we always felt the pinch on not having an in-house team. The children weren't getting as much therapy time as they needed and

2018 proved to a blessing for us! We found not 1, but 2 therapists to join us full time and with them, we started our very own Physio/Occupational Therapy Department at Tamahar! All thanks to benefactors like you!   

 Now that we found our therapists, we need is a LOT of therapy equipment! That's our next target - Acquiring world-class therapy equipment and set up a full-fledged therapy room at Tamahar. Over time, this service will also be open to children who are not enrolled at Tamahar.

What benefit will that have? Here is a story that demonstrates that! 

 

Success story: Physiotherapy can change self-expression too!

Saanvi came to Tamahar in 2012, at the age of 5, with the diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy and was found to also have mental Retardation. Her assessment showed her developmental age to be less than 1 year. Her body was completely flaccid and she had to be picked up and handled like an infant, true to her mental age. She had no muscle strength and could not support herself at all. We immediately started her off with physiotherapy and occupational therapy with an emphasis on positioning to develop strength and kneeling/sitting using gaiters. Within months, she was strong enough to hold the positions on her own.

Unfortunately, progress did not last. Due to l the unavailability of consistent therapy service at Tamahar, Saanvi gradually lost all her strength over the next few years. Till 2018, Tamahar relied on consultants to provide therapy to children and since they didn’t have much time, the amount of therapy per child was far below what was required. As of June 2018, Saanvi had regressed to her physical state of over a decade ago.

Last year, with the consistent support of our donors, we were able to hire 2 full-time therapists who are now available at the centre at all times for our kids! They restarted Saanvi’s therapy protocol with all their zeal, starting with passive activity and gradually moving to active activities. Saanvi is doing very well now, showing enthusiasm in doing bridging exercises on her own. She is also much more active and expressive in her other intervention sessions, excited about her newfound ability to move, and uses her movement to express herself! From last year when she had no head control at all, she has partial neck control. She has started to look around with some help, and her shoulder movement has improved as well.

In fact, she became so active within a short span of time, that her mother thought her movements were seizure episodes! This has given the therapists as well as the family renewed rigor in following the physiotherapy protocols and we are all excited to see how Saanvi improves each passing day!

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Early Intervention kids in Music Therapy session
Early Intervention kids in Music Therapy session

Tamahar believes in comprehensive growth and improvement of a child.  Treatment of children with developmental disabilities can come in a variety of different forms. The best treatment regimens are always the result of an individualized tailor-made treatment plan formed by a team of health care multidisciplinary professionals. The plan is customised on the basis of the severity of the disability and involves the children, families, teachers, and caregivers in all phases of planning, decision making, and treatment. The individualized treatment plan will take into consideration both the immediate needs of the child, and the long term prognosis for development.

The therapies that we offer to our kids are:

1. Physiotherapy - The purpose of physiotherapy is to help children who have mobility issues to improve gross and fine motor skills, balance and coordination, and strength and endurance. The child is first evaluated by a physical therapist to assess muscle and joint function, mobility, oral motor skills. The physiotherapist then formulates an activity worksheet to suit the requirements of the child in consultation with the parents. Some children have shown remarkable improvements following the therapy.

2. Occupational Therapy – While physiotherapy takes care of the physiological aspect of rehabilitation, occupational therapy aims at enabling the child to be independent by teaching Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and other everyday functions like Safety,  Self-care, Feeding, etc. It also improves the cognitive thinking of a child. After accessing each child, a protocol is designed keeping in mind the home environment of the child as he/she needs to keep practicing the therapy at home too.

3. Speech Therapy -  An integral part of rehabilitation when working with children who have difficulty in swallowing, talking, and understanding language due to medical or surgical conditions. Based on the severity of the condition, the therapist then takes a call as to what would work best for the child and right tools for it too.

4. Music therapy – Music is known to improve vocalization, attention, and sitting tolerance in children. It has taught them music appreciation! The idea is not to teach music, but use it as the means to induce development. The children have become calmer and are more responsive to other forms of therapies.

5. Yoga – One of the oldest form of therapies, Yoga is proven to improve balance and physical strength and improve Coordination. Children who were hyperactive become relaxed. Remarkable improvement can be seen in listening skills, attention and self-regulation too.

 

One of our Success Story – Jeevan Pawar (Occupational & Speech Therapy)

Jeevan came to us at a tender age of 6, and he had already undergone an open heart surgery at the age. There was absolutely no speech, communication was poor and had hearing loss. There was no diagnosis till then. We helped the family get the right medical support and found out that he had a genetic syndrome and his open heart surgery was a part of the syndrome. Once his condition was identified and right support put in place, he started improving. The improvement can be largely attributed to timely speech/occupational therapy alongside his mother’s hard work. With therapies ongoing, the child is now making an attempt to make sounds. He is using communication very effectively using his PECS books and has shown tremendous change in his social behaviour. He used to be very withdrawn earlier, but now he wants to be a part of a group! He mixes beautifully with his peers. He assists them in their works and even helps the interventionist in teaching the other kids!

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Organization Information

Tamahar Trust

Location: Bangalore - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @TamaharTrust200
Tamahar Trust
Shivani Sharma
Project Leader:
Shivani Sharma
Bangalore, India

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