September 13, 2019
As focus increases on treating child learning disabilities, experts urge parents and caregivers to observe children and consult doctors to begin early intervention with therapy.
There is increased focus these days on child learning disabilities like sensory perception disorder, autism and dyslexia. In layman terms, this refers to children with perfectly normal vision and physique who are unable to focus, read, write or even walk. Researchers at the Disability Management and Special Education Centre at Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Education and Research Institute in Coimbatore are trying to identify and treat such children.
Dr. Soumya Chandra, a researcher at the Mission tells The Covai Post, “We have identified about six children from our disability management unit as having sensory perception disorder. We believe in early intervention, starting at birth and going upto five or six years. These children have normal vision, IQ, physique and other parameters, but are unable to coordinate even simple movements. This is because their brain is unable to process information, as some nerve cells become inactive and others take over the role.”
The child adopts tactile defensiveness or becomes obsessive about something. Soumya explains, “He can either be hyper sensitive to sounds like fan or air-conditioners working or hypo sensitive like wanting loud volume on televisions, or could have sensory craving like listening constantly to sounds like music, anklets or cymbals. At the centre here, we have a recreation panel with activities to calm them. We have a collection of sounds like anklets, cymbals, Valampuri coins and others. There is a dark room with moving lights, air conditioning and a tube producing air bubbles. This helps children focus and catch bubbles, improving touch. Most of our research focuses on touch because these children are isolated from the real world.”
She reiterates that early intervention can ensure complete cure. Often parents are confused by their children’s inability because their doctors cannot find anything wrong. However some hospitals are identifying this disorder soon after birth and warning parents.
“We develop learning packages for these children with therapy sessions and train mothers to do the follow up at home. This is because therapists are costly and rare. Our future plans are to identify and bring in more children. Our researchers are from India and abroad. Therapy is an ongoing process that needs patience. We also advise parents to reduce gadget use for these children as it could do more harm,” she says.
She believes that once the sensory perception disorder is corrected, autism and dyslexia can also be cured. Soumya cautions parents to be observant and alert about their child.