Building bridges: Including autistic children in the society

Autism is a condition in which one’s behaviour, thinking, and understanding is different from others. This is the reason why autistic children are categorised as special ones.

Last Updated on May 3, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and comprehend information. It can manifest in different forms and can be a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Every year, April 2 is observed as the World Autism Awareness Day. The 2022 statistics released on this occasion revealed that one in every 160 children worldwide is autistic. In India, 62 out of every 10,000 children suffer from the disorder. The theme for the World Autism Awareness Day 2023 is ‘Transformation: Toward a Neuro-Inclusive World for All’.

Complexities of raising autistic children

Dr Sreeja Reddy

Parents of autistic children face unique challenges in raising them. Such children also find a lack of social acceptance. To address these challenges, Dr Sreeja Reddy Saripalli from Bangalore founded Pinnacle Blooms Network in 2017. She is also the founder and managing director of Bharat Healthcare, the health-tech division of Kotii Group of Technological Ventures Research and Development.

A mother of two, Dr Sreeja has dedicated her career to studying child psychology. While conducting her research, she became aware of the threat of autism and its impact on children and families. In response, she began working to raise awareness about autism and the factors that can cause the disorder.

Discovering a new path through research

Dr Sreeja began exploring ways to integrate autistic children into mainstream society and help them lead fulfilling lives during her research. This led her to combine her expertise in science and health to chart a path forward. At Pinnacle, autistic children receive a creative therapy that includes a range of services, such as a comprehensive assessment, treatment and counselling. The therapy also includes other treatments like occupational therapy, psychological counselling, speech therapy and behavioural therapy, hydrotherapy, yoga therapy, etc. These therapies on the basis of the results of a comprehensive evaluation.

Pinnacle

Combination of technology and health

“The process begins with filling up a form by anybody who wants to get their child treated. After that, our team speaks to the family about the child’s assessment. Once the assessment is completed, we advise them about the necessary treatment for the child’s future development,” Dr Sreeja said.

She further informed that they conduct a thorough evaluation of each child with autism. “It typically takes one to three hours to complete,” she said. In this evaluation, they assess speech, language, social skills and other communication disorders. She informed, “Under the network, we have set up a framework of 140-plus patent technologies that feature artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning and cloud computing. It is through a combination of all these technologies that a child with autism is treated.”

With over 15 experts on her team, Dr Sreeja has established more than 40 branches of Pinnacle in Bangalore alone, as well as overseas in Dubai, the US, and Singapore. The organisation has also won several national level awards, including the #1 Autism Therapy Centres Network Award by Times and the Women’s Leadership Award by Praxis Media. “We are constantly striving to raise awareness about autism among people and caregivers. In addition to expert advice, the use of technology plays a vital role in achieving success in this mission, ” said Dr Sreeja.

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