The Autism Intervention Centre (AIC)

The Autism Intervention Centre (AIC), at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, Sion, Mumbai celebrated its 1st Anniversary ~ HiMedia’s initiative for children with autism.

The Event

The Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital’s Autism Intervention Centre (AIC) celebrated its 1st Anniversary on January 29, 2018. The AIC is funded by HiMedia Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. which is amongst the top three brands of microbiology in the world. The Programme was attended by Dr. Radha Ghildiyal - Professor and Head Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Mona Gajre - Professor and Incharge of AIC, Dr. Nilesh Shah - Professor and Head of Psychiatry, Dr. Rashmi Yeradkar - Occupational Therapy Head, Dr. Avinash D’esouza - Clinical Advisor of AIC, Dr. Sushant Sarang - Assistant Professor of AIC, Dr. Sagar Karia Assistant - Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Jadhav and Dr. Adhikari. The occasion was presided by Dr. Jayshree Mondkar - Dean Incharge, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, Sion, Mumbai, Ms. Saroj G. Warke - Co-founder and Director, HiMedia Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. and Dr. Vishal Warke, Director, HiMedia Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. and other dignitaries.

Present at the occasion, parents’ of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) excitedly shared their experience of how their children are being taken care of at the Autism Intervention Centre. They expressed their gratitude towards AIC for the continuous support in raising their children. It was overwhelming to see the children celebrating the anniversary by giving performances and showcasing their talent through dancing and singing.

How the Project AIC Began

The project of AIC that is being supported through CSR funds of HiMedia Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. in the form of generous funds taking care of the expenses regarding the infrastructure, instruments required for therapy, electrical devices and salary of employees. It was set up on the premise that there is a requirement for a Centre which can cater to the needs of the children with autism. An increasing trend of referrals to the Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Centre for certification of children with autism was found. On looking around, the availability of existing infrastructure for autism in the public sector was almost negligible.

Dr. Mona Gajre - Professor Pediatrics at LTMMC & LTMGH with Dr. Vishal Warke and others from the Warke family gave wings to the concept of an Intervention Centre in a public setting hospital. A multispecialty team formed by Departments of Pediatrics, Occupational Therapy and Psychiatry of Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital and headed by Dr. Mona Gajre - Professor Pediatrics has been catering to these children.

The AIC is located at the Urban Health Centre, Dharavi popularly known as "Chhota Sion" at a distance of less than 1 km from the main Sion Hospital premises and provides services of diagnostics, interventions including certifications for children with autism. It caters to children with autism in the age group of 2-18 years and as of today, there are 76 ASD children who have been part of this Centre and

have received care which has improved the quality of their life. It provides interdisciplinary services of developmental pediatricians, child psychiatrists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, behavior analysts, special educators all under one roof. The centre apart from treating these children has also provided with 3 parents awareness programs and one vocational training program for children and their parents. 6 of the children with low socioeconomic status taking have received concessions and therapy at AIC

monetary help in therapy fees through our social work department.

The AIC was established on December 20, 2016, and in lieu the centre had its first year celebration with all stake holders including children and parents on January 29, 2018 at the Physiology Lecture Hall, LTMMC & LTMGH. The function was attended enthusiastically by all patients with their parents, about 50 in numbers. Dr. Radha Ghildiyal welcomed the attendees of the program and gave brief overviews of the centre and its achievements till date. Dr. Vishal Warke - Director, HiMedia Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., said "Since its inception HiMedia has believed in serving the society. The Autism Intervention Centre (AIC) is a dream come true for all the parents of autistic children and we are glad to support such an initiative. The need for an intervention centre like AIC was recognized

when we realized School Principals from across the city approaching Sion Hospital for guidance on treatment of autistic children. Today we are proud that AIC has a team that offers comprehensive care to children with autistic spectrum disorders right from diagnosis to therapy."

Dr. Jayshree Mondkar, Dean Incharge, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, Sion, Mumbai said "I would like to express my gratitude towards the Warke family for their continuous support to the Autism Intervention Centre (AIC).

Sion hospital has been widely known for its excellent subspecialties in various divisions in the Department of Pediatrics and now with the successful completion of one year of AIC, we have added one more feather into our many feathered hat. Every child with autism is unique and we understand that a personalized autism intervention plan is what is beneficial to meet the individual’s and family’s need. We at AIC, make sure that the autism intervention plan enables the child to function independently in the society."

While Autism is not rare, a multitude of people with autism in India have not been diagnosed and more critically do not receive the services they require. In response to this, the autism movement in India has come a long way in the past two decades with identification and diagnoses made at earlier ages. There have been some changes in the awareness levels in the general population. The result of a step forward in this direction is the establishment of AIC where under one roof everything is taken care of for the children with ASD in Mumbai.