The paediatrics department of the Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) has started a full-fledged Child Guidance and Rehabilitation Centre to empower children with special needs and help their integration with mainstream society.
As an interdisciplinary unit drawing experts from the paediatrics, psychiatry, ENT and physiotherapy departments, the focus will be on early identification and treatment of delays in development.
According to Shanti Kannan, centre coordinator, usually a child with a delay of any kind is first seen by a paediatrician, who then refers the child to a psychologist for assessment. While medical problems like seizures are managed by the paediatrician/neurologist, parents then go to different centres for various therapies as advised by the psychologist, and often abandon the treatment due to the hassles.
By offering a range of expertise under a single roof, the centre will tackle a spectrum of developmental disabilities that can occur in Down’s Syndrome and other chromosomal disorders, cerebral palsy, autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sensory processing disorder, or speech and intellectual disability.
The rehabilitation process will be led by physiotherapists to improve motor milestones, and occupational therapists to build a child’s attention and gain independence in daily activities. Special educators will help in developing concepts of size, colour and shape, and improve reading, writing, comprehension and mathematical skills through customised routines, while speech therapists will help the children express themselves and forge relationships with others.
The Centre also has a sensory integration therapy room focused on improving the child’s ability to use incoming sensory information (auditory, tactile, smell, vision, and taste) and encourage tolerance of a variety of sensory inputs.