Sunday, December 27, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Another school of thought opposing AIT is that it is merely a money making proposition. An intensive training based approach that is provided over a period of time consistently shall only deliver results. For example, an autistic child has to be trained to respond to his/ her name, subjecting the child to music cannot equip the child to react to situation.
NITHYA SAADHANA: The contact person is
Mrs. Hema Nataraj,
No.315,7th main, Vijayanagar, Bangalore-40
The target trade/industries under consideration are
The target trainees include young adults with down's syndrome,border line MR,high functioning adult autistics in the age group 15-25.
Area of work would be wire bunching and crimping, PCB stuffing, Component formation.The training period would be anywhere between 6-9 months and the select ones with necessary skill set shall be further trained to be a trainer under the "Train the turner" program.
AMBA: They work in tandem with schools and institutions that are already involved in the field of special education.Two teachers and two students are trained from one institituion. It is a year long program.They are taught data entry. After a year the trained adult is on his own. ASHA , run by Jaishree Ramesh, is one of the institutions where the adults in the vocational department are receiving training.
UNNATI : They can be contacted at
Unnati SGBS trus,Unnati centre, Temple road, NGEF layout, Sadanand nagar, Bangalore-38.The phone numbers are 080-25340443/25348642. The objective of Unnati is to make socially under privileged youth "job-ready" and ensure placements. They are now taking in a small percentage of adults with special needs.Vocations under consideration carpentry, plumbing, electrical for specific industry requirements and computer hardware.The program is free,including food and boarding for outstation candidates.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Ramam has an instant liking for dogs. Having been in the army, many of my husband's colleagues have had labs,German shepherds and a pug also. As one of my husband's colleague puts it his dog is the first one to welcome him home when he gets back after work.Some of these dogs are friendly. When choosing a dog for therapy the following is to be kept in mind.
The dog has to be friendly one and not a calm one. As a calm one may give a sense of rejection to the child.It has to be social.
The dog has to be polite in the sense that the first move maybe made by the child. The dog is not to be thrusted upon the child.
The dog can be of any breed ,but essentially should have a temperament suitable for the job.
Some pets can be trained to become therapy dogs. If you are interested in pet therapy, Ganesh would be happy to volunteer more information. His e-mail id is
Ok for those who are not familiar with Wii here are a few lines. Its a suite of video games that are controlled not by the typical mouse pads or controllers that come with play station etc but by wireless controllers. The player actually moves the controller in the way he would actually play a game. For instance, throwing a ball in bowling or hitting a tennis ball. So here the player will have to hold the controller, stand few steps away from the screen, and move his arms as though he was throwing the real thing. Same with tennis. One has to swing the hand in a forehand or backhand motion, based on the movement of the ball on the screen. More intuitive and will also exercise the body. No more sitting on a couch for ever. There is also a WII fit plus, an extension that lets u play with the intention of exercising. Includes routines like yoga etc. It also monitors your weight and exercise routine. ( There is a wireless balancing pad on which you need to stand to weigh or exercise)
My initial apprehensions. The controller is like a TV remote. Could they have put smaller batteries or made more tinier controllers, each for a different game. Hence you could tie it to wrist, rather than hold it in the hand. Especially if you are pretending to hit a ball, there is a great likelihood that a child with special needs will release the grip on the controller. Though they are giving an arm band to tie it to the hand, it may not be too easy. I tried making him play at the outlet, he did try .. so lets see. Anyway, I have decided to get him one. Then I will be forced to make the investment pay and get him to use it !! It is the best that I have found for a long time. It also has titles like WII music which may make him interested.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
ABA Suruchi Sancheti (9980135754).
Mobile: +91 98456 99451.
SANTRAN phone-9731985829/ 9741588300.
You can get more information on schools in Bangalore, from my earlier post Bangalore experience
Monday, December 7, 2009
This was a Sunday with a difference. We, along with other parents were on a mission to pledge our support for the cause of autism. On Sundays, we are generally twiddling our thumbs wondering what to do. 6th December was a Sunday well spent. The highlights of the walk include
Membership forms for a nominal amount of Rs.100 were also distributed for membership to autism society of India which is managed by the IRC.
Dosa batter 1 cup
Jeera/cumin seeds 1 tbsp
GFCF sooji 4 tbsp
Soda 1/4 tsp
Salt as per taste
Oil to deep fry
Take thick dosa batter add jeera, sooji, salt and soda. Take the batter, make small rounds by hand and deep fry in oil. One can have it with chutney . It is delicious in itself. It is another story that, I am yet to learn how to pronounce it. Also check my other GFCF snacks at GFCF snacks.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
The scheme provides health cover, but I wonder for Autism, you need to give various therapies and with no clear approved line of medication / therapy. How can any hospital provide all that is needed? It would probably only help with other routine ailments / diseases which need medication, hospitalization etc. Nevertheless a good beginning.
Any way for those interested here is a link for more details
Niramaya Insurance Scheme
Monday, November 30, 2009
The small size of the cards will need to be taken care of else I am sure they will disappear quickly. Nevertheless, it should add great value.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
1 cup orgran all purpose flour
1/2 cup oil
1tsp baking soda
3/4th cup soymilk
3/4th cup sugar
microwave the seedless dates in soymilk for 1-2 minuteds and grind it.Add sugar and grind it to a paste Add 1 tbsp of the flour-baking soda mix to the date paste at a time and gradually mix.Add the nuts and mix. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes.The cake turns out to be nice and moist.
Ragi (finger millet)-1 1/4 cup
urad dal(black lentil) ¼ cup
I have used whole urad dal. Soak urad dal in water for 2-3 hrs, ragi 15-20 min before mixing. The urad dal should be ground fine.Mix both the ragi and urud batter. Leave the batter overnight for fermentation. Make it in the same way as the regular idlis. They come out nice and soft.
The same batter comes out well for dosa. It tasted the same as the one I had tried at a MTR outlet, even If I may say so myself. Another method suggested to me was to mix a handful of ragi in a portion of regular dosa batter in appropriate proportion. Add finely chopped onion and cilantro to it
Friday, November 20, 2009
INFORMATION & RESOURCE CENTRE FOR
Autism And Other developmental Disabilities
#9, 1st cross, shankarapuram, Bangalore 560004
Contact Person: Vani nagaraj
They offer numerous services. One of them is the training of caregivers called the SAHYOGI.It recently concluded the second batch of care givers.The caregivers are not therapist but are trained to handle an autistic child.This is something on the lines Merry Barua had done at AFA 6-7 yrs back. I do not if they still continue with this program.The irc has also provided some useful links on their website.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Inform the host of the diet and there are can be one or two items that are GFCF. A fruit salad for dessert is a healthy option.
Carry your own food, one main dish that is the child’s favorite which can be had with rice or is a meal in itself.
Thirdly feed the child before you leave and inform the host that we shall be coming in a little late.
We have tried all these alternatives and it has worked out for us. At the end of it one would like to take the child only where a) he would be comfortable b) one can take the liberty of telling the host the options before you.
One host had made chicken preparations without curds, jaljeera for his drink, and some dal based crispies, for snacks. She had exclusively set aside some moongdal halwa made with oil for him. Wow! And we were really touched. Nobody minded the below fare either as they were not missing anything. There is no better way of saying we care!
If I were to set a menu, I stick to real active fruit juices or the freshly made ones, potato chips, sabudana vada, gfcf chicken tikkas, dal vadas, besan fritters, cocktail uthappams with toppings, fried nuts, sometimes groundnuts with finely chopped onions and tomatoes, smileys. And of course the main menu with rice,rajma… Once I served my guests banana sorbet and that is something that doesn’t really go down well with everybody, but they were game to it. So much so for GFCF dining!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
The videos of karadi tales on the you tube are eminently watchable. One can also buy the CD’S along with the books. In voices of Naseeruddin Shah, Saeed Jaffrey,Sunjay Dutt, Vidya balan, these stories are presented very well. These are good fillers, especially when you don’t want to do 1-1 activities with the child.This is one of the videos we watched.
A weather chart is a good tool for an autistic child especially when the child has sensory issues with clothing. Keeping in mind the prevailing weather condition one can draw a circular chart with the appropriate pictures for the weather conditions and the clothing that goes with it. Broadly divide the chart into sunny, cold, rainy, windy, foggy .A needle can be fixed to the centre and the child can be asked to indicate the weather .Another combination could be weather –calendar chart where the child can indicate the weather against the dates.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
ASHA academy for severe handicaps and autism
Earlier one of my readers had asked me which school Ramam goes to, after reading the post on Bangalore experience.He goes to ASHA. It is located in Basaweshwara nagar and is run by the dynamic Jaishree Ramesh.The teacher to student ratio is excellent. There is a lot of emphasis on visual learning.Written receipes for the cooking classes, use of schedule charts for the daily routines, social stories.The children are also taken on home visits and a monthly picnic.Two months back,they had been to the turf club and enjoyed horse riding.They have a yoga techer, speech therapist, music teacher,art therapist and an occupational therapist on board.The school timings are from 10-4.The special educator in each class is ably supported by the assistant teachers. IEPs with both short and long term goals are made. The school also had its sports meet in October.The school has a parents association.The school infrastructure is good. The schools stood second in the recently concluded Kalangana competition.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This post has nothing to do with autism, but then there is life beyond it too!Just as an individual, I wanted to write this post from my perspective of things. Recently, I was waiting outside for Ramam to finish his therapy session. There was some construction activity going on. There was a 3 yr old girl playing there under the sharp eyes of her mother. Every time she is used to run towards the middle of the road, her mother would catch her and bring her back. The girl attempted to do it 3-4 times that I was waiting there. Having nothing to do I watched this mother –daughter duo intently .The girl was playing with a shovel and filling an empty bag with sand .Every time it was half full, she would go and empty it. You can give her play any name. (Please check my earlier post,learning thru play).I could not but help notice her eye hand coordination, the agility, the dexterity of her movements. She was having so much fun in the most natural way possible. No expensive fischer-price activity boards, safe funskool toys, non toxic food grade, playdough, but, yes this child is also growing up. Hats off to the mother’s tenacity, she has become adept at multitasking. She was sieving the sand, filling cement in a trough, attending to the daughter. People really work hard for a living.
Physical play: This includes playing with blocks, running, jumping, catching, cycling, dancing. All these activities, help in boosting the child’s confidence and health.
Creative play: This helps in expressing their feelings such as painting, molding clay, sewing, cutting.
Exploratory play: Learning through one’s senses, finding things for one self, basically sensory exploration
Imaginative play: Taking characters on to themselves and pretend play
Social Play: Learning socially acceptable behavior, cooperative, parallel play, cooking….
Manipulative play: Use of rattles, activity centres, threading beads, dot to dot .Ramam likes these set of activities.
On a Sunday morning with time weighing heavily on our hands, skies overcast we are undecided as to how to spend the day. We decided to go for the book fest and it turned out to be a wonderful decision. Both the kids had a good time. Ramam flipped thru the pages in the book stalls, watched the video CDS’, taking his pick of the CD’s. There is a huge collection of books ranging from activities to stories. Name it and it is there. There is a standard 10% discount. We picked up a collection of the DK series, some story books. There is a stall by the Chandrasekhar institute of hearing as well. The National book trust has a stall. Some of the story books here are very good for picture description activities. There are some food stalls too, to complete the Sunday outing. I think it is open from the 6th-13th of November.
Located in Kariyanapalya, this institiute has been a great find. It boasts of an excellent reputation and lives up to one’s expectations. After the initial assessments are done, the psychologist decides on the therapies required by the child. The sessions are conducted by students doing the bachelor/masters program under the supervision of the staff. The interns from this institute work at various centers including schools and hospitals. They are very professional and the sessions are monitored by the staff thru a close circuit TV, and discussions with the therapist. They offer OT, behavioural intervention, and speech therapy. One pays upfront for 5 sessions, the fees are a nominal Rs 100 for a 45 min session.One can choose the time and number of visits. They work in two shifts 8.30-3.30 and 11-00-7.00. Foremost they understand autism and Dr. Pratibha Karant of comm.-deall is one of the members on the board. Again there is a unit of comm-deall functioning from here. This unit of comm.-deall also takes children only up to the age of six. The disadvantage so as to speak of is that the therapist working with the child changes every six months when the graduates pass out of the institute. Their number is 080-25470037/080-25460405.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
A dream therapist
The struggle against autism can never be complete without its share of therapists. Good, bad, ugly and some plain rotten. You can’t escape them. Over the years I can pride myself that I can smell a good therapist when I meet one. This again is a spectrum. Some trying to cash in on the problem, some genuine ones and then those that are the in -betweens. Rs.500 for a home visit is no less. I knew a therapist who took no less than 5 calls in a 45 minute session. She had given Ram am a paper and pen to make holes. Then there was one who lectured me for 8 sessions on the evolution of speech in human civilization. Yes, she was a speech therapist. What does then one begin to expect in a dream therapist
* Bonding with the child, this will take few sessions.
* Unobtrusive yet effective, you don’t want the therapist holding the child’s face and forcing him into looking into her eyes.
* Being able to hold the child’s interest.
* Having an element of surprise, it is not about being unstructured. I look forward to his art therapist sessions where she has something new every time, sometimes it colored sooji, flowers, maida dough……An element of unpredictability in an structured environment.
* Plans for the sessions beforehand. Has a backup plan if an idea refuses to hold the child’s interest at least in the early years of working. Starts and ends with a particular activity to mark the beginning and closure of the session.
* Encourages the child with appropriate praises, rein forcers.
* Loads of energy and patience.
* Physical punishment is a strict no-no.
* Avoids saying negative remarks about the child.
* Avoids cancelling appointments at the last minute.
These are the few random thought that came to my mind. My husband adds, and does not charge exorbitant fees!!!!!!!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
I decided to hang up my uniform and relocate to Bangalore. This should provide stability to Ramam's life which otherwise is subjected to continuous transfers. While they are getting adjusted to their new life, I thought i should chip in and add a few lines to the blog. A picture is better than a thousand words they say. And so .. thats it .. the journey of Mom and her son, student, companion, life :-)
Saturday, August 1, 2009
This is about my little daughter Isha. The dynamics of our mother daughter relationship is changing all too fast. The other night she had gone to sleep and she woke up just to keep me company for dinner. I caught her reprimanding the maid for sweeping away Ramam’s line ups. She howled at another lady for shouting at Ramam. But that is where she draws the line. Her Barbies are strictly hers, amma is hers, and appa is Ramam’s. We talk about change affecting our kids, but I saw my daughter coping bravely with it. She was trying to get friendly with a gang of girls in the society we had moved in. She came back complaining that they were not sharing their toys with her. Then she turned around and “ordered” me to get her new toy. She immediately rushed back to her new friends and did a PR exercise that would have put marketing gurus to shame. She is fast becoming my best friend. She is very understanding of his problem and introduces him to her teachers and friends alike. She is the only friend Rama has so as to speak.
The other day we were driving through one of the flyovers in Bengaluru when Ramam pointed to a poster of the film New York. I asked him if he liked the songs of New York. The next day again I elaborated that there is katrina, John Abhraham in the movie. The third day I just nodded acknowledgement. The fourth day something told me to look closer and I saw there was a small Ganesh under a tree beneath the poster. When I told him this, his face lit up with a big smile. This is what he had been trying to tell me from the day one. I felt a little ashamed. I was also happy he was trying to strike a conversation about something. This happened again one other time when we were driving past vidhan soudha and I pointed it to one of our guest. As the car took a u turn and came on the other side of the building he pointed it out to me and said vidhan. On another occasion, he wanted a particular spoon, to drop and play with it as he was enjoying the clatter it made. He typed out Spoon for soup. Then I told him there is no soup, and again he insisted on the spoon. Then I realized what he was trying to say I want soup spoon. Similarly when he brings the same story book to read again and again it is just for company sake. He is at a stage, where he is desperately trying to engage himself and not knowing how to do it.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
1. These were some of the messages that I took back home with me when I attended a workshop on adolescent issues. Some of the skills mentioned included typing, use of simple tools such as the nail cutter, stapler, messaging on the mobile, using the computer…….
2. Independent functioning skills such as self help skills, cooking. When teaching the child to bathe insist on him cleaning his arm pits and private parts, as these add to general hygiene.
3. Learning to use a public toilet all by themselves and be able to follow the different toilet signs. I had a very personal experience of this at NIMHANS in Bangalore, when a mother with her grown up son walked into the ladies toilet and there was lot of hue and cry. It did strike me as odd that ladies should take such a strong objection to this more so in a place as this. Discourage the habit of undressing before going to the toilet right when they are young or else it becomes a major issue when using a public toilet.
4. The use of a calendar and clock.
5. Carry a visiting card with all the details, such as name, age, address, number more so when the autistic individual is non –verbal or else be trained to provide information on himself.
6. Teaching behaviors with strangers and familiar people.
7. Leisure skills is another important area where the individual can engage himself.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
When we were in Bangalore recently, our visits to NIMHANS and COMMDEALL taught us a great deal on the communication aspect. The guidelines given to us were based on our son’s age and ability.
· TALK, Talk, Talk…………Talk as much as you can. For instance go beyond telling this is cricket and there are two teams. Go a step ahead tell him this is IPL, it is a 20-20 game, the match is telecast live….Otherwise his learning process would get very badly affected. The bottom line is to treat him as an older boy.
· It is very important to teach our kids verbs and not just nouns. Flash card learning (pointing to the correct action words on the flash card) alone does not help. Generalize a lot.
· Make him request, label things.
· Play small games such as I name a fruit, you name one. Lets us label and point to all the objects, people in a given room or house.
· Be very firm with a NO. Draw clear boundaries and communicate to him what is not permissible.
· Teach rhymes with actions.
· Let the child be thorough with the Yes/no concept. For instance you put a question to him. Is this a pen? He says no. End the question with that. Do not elaborate further as to this is an eraser.
· Use reasoning with your child to explain situations and avoid a meltdown.
· Move on from first, second to three step commands.
· Introduce the concept of delayed reinforcement. He finishes 3/5 activities and he gets his reward.
· Remember to associate gestures and exclamations with remarks such as wah-wah for crying, oh –oh, ouch……
· Sequencing of activities involving an event such as making a salad, sandwich, tea…..
· Work on following a melody pattern.
· Working on oromotor movements, COMMDEALL has an oromotor kit. Start with simple CV (consonant-vowel) combinations.
· Try and make opportunities where the siblings can be involved.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Baking soda-2 tsp
Eggs-3 in number
Vegetable oil- 1/2 cup
Golden raisins-1/2 cup
Mango diced-2 cups
finely chopped /flaked coconut-1/4 cup
Thursday, May 21, 2009
A genetic clue as to why autism is more prevalent amongst boys than girls has been found. Here is the link http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20090520/hl_time/08599189975600
Life will be a lot easier if the actual cause is known.
Take poha or beaten rice. This is a preparation made in various parts of the country. Down south it is called Avil. Take avil, soak it in water for 10-15 minutes or the time you require to chop the vegetables for the upma. Drain the excess water off. Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds, ground nuts (optional), green chilies and curry leaves. Add salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Add onions and sauté till they are golden brown. Add cooked cubes of potatoes. This is again optional. Add the washed poha. Sprinkle some water, close and cook on a low flame for some time stirring it occasionally. Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve hot.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
This can be made with both raw rice and parboiled rice. Wash and dry the raw rice, powder it to a rava (coarse) consistency. Take 2 tablespoon cooking oil in kadai and season it with mustard, curry leaf, groundnuts (optional), urad dal, and red chilli. To this add water and let it boil. For every cup of rice, add 2 cups water. When the water begins to boil add the ground rice. Stir till it thickens. Take it off the stove and let it cool for 10 minutes. When the heat is bearable start making oval balls .Add some oil to your palms when making these balls. Place them on oil coated steel idly plates and steam cook. For parboiled rice, one can follow the same procedure, the difference being the rice is ground to a batter. The batter is then added to boiling water. When the colour of the batter changes from white to a muddy white and it thickens, switch off the stove. The kozhakkatais can be had with sambhar/chutney
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
I have been silent for quite some time on the blog for multitude of reasons. Gina Vijaykumar, one of the readers of this blog has been sharing some valuable information with me via e-mail. I thought I will put it up as a post as others would also get to benefit. There is a lab by the name Great Plains laboratory that does a lot of tests such as screening for allergens, heavy metal toxicity in US. We did one round of tests for Ramam when he was just about 2 years old. There is a lab now in Bangalore that does the testing. The details are as follows
Food & Health Labs Pvt. Ltd
"Sukruth", #70, 4th Main, Domlur 2nd Stage
Bangalore – 560 0071
Ph: 41263004 / 4126 3005,
Contact Person: Dr. Prashanth Kamath 09886041212, Dr. Rupali Kamath 09886279777
The doc's name is Ananth Rao and he can be contacted at 9900956990.These tests are expensive and basic tests for food intolerances cost about 18,000 .The website is not working.Dr. Ananth Rao is not associated with Great Plains laboratory and is with Narayana Hrudalaya
Also on the recipes front, I tried pooris with the GFCF flour mix, refer Bette Hagman flour mix on the blog they turned out to be nice and fluffy. They tasted good, not very different from the regular pooris. I also tried south Indian preparation with flattened rice, called Avil down south. It can be had as both a breakfast/snack item. In my subsequent posts I will try to give some inputs or rather my impressions on schools in Bangalore, and NIMHANS
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Our little boy has started to take lot of interest in cooking. He loves to add the masalas, stir the contents in the cauldron, help in chopping, and add the coriander leaves for garnishing. I get him to roll the rotis some times. He has a few favorite spices like pepper and oregano. He feels so strongly about these two spices, that he has to add it to all the dishes. The other day I caught him with a broken egg on the tava, with a spoon, salt and pepper, all ready for action. Only that he had not lighted the stove. I have my apprehensions about teaching him that, and I feel that can wait. He likes watching others cook and sometimes he watches a cookery show on TV. I hope this turns out to be a life long interest and not a flash in the pan.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Secondly, when you go in for a mix the various attribute of the different flours; make up for the deficiencies of single flour, in terms of taste, nutritive value, gumminess or the binding abilities. For instance, when you use only rice flour to bake, the end product is hard/ gritty. Sorghum flour alone is bland.
The third factor is availability.
The good news is somebody has already done the home work for you and there is the Bette Hagman’s GF flour mix.
2 cups rice flour
2/3 cups potato starch flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
for a larger batch of 9 cups use
6 cups rice flour
2 cups potato starch flour
1 cup tapioca flour
As potato starch flour was a problem, I have substituted it with arrow root starch, in the same proportion. In India arrow root starch is used for purposes such as thickener for soups, more so in the hotels. From what I have read, generally corn and potato starch are interchangeable. I tried out apple cake with this GF flour mix. It came out fine, but the structure called for more attention and maybe a biding agent as unflavored gelatin may help.