Prevalence rates of autism are on the rise in Goa and across the world. It is widey known and esearch as proven that early diagnosis followed by intensive intervention can bring about far-reaching changes in the development and communication of children with autism. However, there are just not enough trained professionals to meet the demands of therapy. To overcome this difficulty, Sethu started conducting ‘Asha', a program to train parents and their young children with autism. It is a 25-session program that runs on 2 mornings every week, for 12 weeks.
If you visit Sethu on a Tuesday or Thursday morning, you will be greeted with the melodious voices of therapists and mothers singing the Good Morning song at the start of the Asha session. The next two hours fly past, as mothers are coached on how to promote non-verbal communication like eye contact and pointing, improving sitting behavior, getting children’s attention using things that they enjoy and playing together to create a social connection. Through the sharing of ideas and difficulties, the mothers form valuable emotional bonds of support.
The children’s progress is monitored through the use of the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist. Sethu has successfully executed 6 Asha programs so far and all the children have showed improvements based on data and parent feed-back gathered on conclusion of the course.