Integrated Care for Autism and a call to “Think Different”on the occasion of World Autism Day – For More Information &Interviews Dr.EnnapadamS Krishnamoorthy,Founder- BuddhiClinic can be contacted on9500010056/ 67.
Two clinician-scientists were the earliest to describe the features ofAutism over 80 years ago. Leo Kannerwasan Austrian American psychiatrist, physician, and social activist and Johann”Hans”Friedrich Karl Aspergerwas an Austrian pediatrician andmedical professor. Working independently across continents, bothdescribed children who were highly intelligent but displayed “a powerfuldesire for aloneness”and “an obsessive insistence on persistentsameness.”
They brought out other striking features in their writings,stressing,
a. they do not make eye contact
b. they seem to take in things withshort, peripheral glances
c. there is a poverty of facialexpressions and gestures
d. the use of Ianguageappears abnormal, unnatural
e. the children follow their ownimpulses, regardless of the demands of the environment.
These descriptions ring true even today and contribute towards thediagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The Management of Autism Spectrum Disorder:
The management of Autism remains an enigma. With no single causeidentified, no single drug or biological treatment has been identified as beingeffective. Many children within the autism spectrum receive symptomatic drugtreatment for hyperactivity, impulsivity, mood swings and insomnia. Therapyremains the mainstay of management for patients with ASD, across the lifespan.Psychological, behavioural, occupational and speech therapy are in particularutilised extensively, while a proportion of patients follow special diets.Children in the autistic spectrum attend special schools, sometimes mainstreamschools with special classrooms; a good proportion also need after schooltherapies.
Why we must ThinkDifferent?
- Think brain (not mind): Neuroimagingand neurogeneticstudies have clearly demonstratedthat Autism Spectrum Disorders are conditions of brain development.
- Think interesting (not problematic): In the wordsof Prof. Oliver Sacks “It has to do with qualities of the mind which arepreserved, even enhanced, so that, though “mentally defective”insome ways, they may be “mentally interesting”, even “mentallycomplete”in others!
- Think enhanced (not diminished): “Enhancedpowers of concrete imagery &memory and an obsessive preoccupation withparticulars, the development of an eidetic imagery &memory, and thementality of a performer, or whiz kid”have all been described by Prof.Oliver Sacks. Indeed higher order artistic, musical, lexical and mathematicalabilities have been described in some people with autism, those with supremeabilities being termed as savants.
- Think square pegs (in a world full of round holes): Theproblem for the person with autism is that in focussing on the particulars andbeing incapable of generalisation, they are square pegs that cannotbe accommodated easily in a world full of round holes. It falls upon us asa society to create a “autism multiverse”in which they can thrive.
- Think intelligence (not impairment): The theory ofMultiple Intelligences propounded by Prof. Howard Gardner states that peopleare not more or less intelligent; rather different people are intelligentdifferently, in unique and multiple ways. Itsnot therefore just how smart you are, but how you are smart! Especiallyapplicable to conditions like autism, MI proposes that each one of us has arange of intelligences that we could put to good use.
While it would be fallacious to assume that every person within theautism spectrum is talented, it is important we explore themany possibilities. It is also important that we understand theproblem as not being their own, alone; also, that of a society that isunwilling or incapable in parts of accommodating “their difference”. Itstime therefore for us to “think different”!
What we do at BuddhiClinic www.buddhiclinic.com
In the BuddhiClinic we have researched andpioneered the utility of integrated care that combines modern medicine likedrugs and brain stimulation (used mainly in adolescents and adults) withancient wisdom. Ayurvedatreatments, Acupressure and Reflexology, Natural treatments usingriver mud and water, which are delivered by us to children with ASD, as part ofa holistic care program.These are combined of course with conventionalphysical, psychological and language interventions. We also use multipleintelligences to assess and manage our children. We have, in apioneering step, introduced “neuromodulation” -both TranscranialMagnetic Stimulation (rTMS) &today through CSR of RaneHoardingsTranscranialDirect Current Stimulation (RTDCS)for adolescents and older adults with the condition. Our research has shownpowerful effects of these treatments in improving behaviour, sleep, metabolismand health related quality of life for those affected.
The BuddhiBook in English, Tamil &nowHindi!
Our journey has enabled great learnings, aboutthe utility of such “integrated care”; learningsthat have been described in our “Autism- TheBuddhiBook”now available in English, Tamil &now Hindi. We are releasing the Hindi translation of the BuddhiBook today. Through this integrated care approach we believe we havesuccessfully touched new, hitherto unexplored, vistas, not just in caring forpeople with Autism, but for a range of brain and mind conditions, across thelifespan: ADHD, cerebral palsy, dementia, depression, epilepsy, parkinsonism,spinal disorders, stroke, traumatic brain injury etc. For more informationabout the BuddhiClinic and its pioneering workcontact 9500010067 &9500010056 or email [email protected]
At BuddhiClinic we believe in giving back tosociety, enlisting Corporate Social Responsibility to do so. In previous yearswe have received donations of Mobile Therapy Units- fully air-conditioned andsound proofed ambulances within which we are able to deliver treatments at thedoor step of those who need therapy and rehabilitation. These projects havetouched the lives of children with Autism at VidyaSagar- Spastic Society of India and adults with variousforms of mental disability including Autism at Aim for Seva’sKrupaHome. This year we are very privileged toreceive from RaneMadras Ltd. a generous donation of tDCS(TranscranialDirect CurrentStimulation) equipment that will be deployed in our Mobile Therapy Units, freeof cost, to the benefit of those individuals receiving our therapy at theirdoorstep.