Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], April 18: Ishaan Kabra's parents noticed he wasn't achieving developmental milestones as expected at just over two years old. Despite attending play school, Ishaan remained non-verbal and displayed fidgety behavior. After consultations with healthcare professionals and not-so-impressive progression with speech and occupation therapies for over six months, a chance encounter with Dr. EV Raman for treatment of fluid accumulation in Ishaan's ears further led the Kabras' to Dr. Chitra Shankar where he was diagnosed with Autism. The Kabra family embarked on a mission to provide the best care for their son.

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Recounting the challenges and the ordeal Mr. Piyush Kabra emphasized the importance of quality care and access to comprehensive treatment. Mrs. Kabra left her career as a teacher to devote herself entirely to Ishaan's upbringing, while their daughter felt the strain of reduced parental attention. Yet, the family remained a pillar of strength for each other, supporting Ishaan's journey with autism. Today, at 12, Ishaan has made remarkable strides thanks to the multidisciplinary approach to his treatment and his family's unwavering support. "Occupational training has been particularly transformative," Mr. Kabra adds. Ishaan now engages in activities he loves, like cycling, skating, and yoga, contributing immensely to his overall well-being. Ishaan's story highlights the importance of early intervention and comprehensive care in managing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which affects children differently and requires tailored support.

ASD is a developmental disorder associated with the brain. It is called a spectrum disorder because it affects people differently and to varying degrees from mild to severe with functional challenges and profoundly influences a child's communication, social interaction, and response to stimuli. In India, one in every 68 children is affected by autism, with boys being more commonly impacted than girls, at a ratio of approximately 3:1. Although not curable, early detection enables effective management.

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Announcing the launch of The Autism Clinic at Manipal Hospital Old Airport Road, the Departments of Paediatrics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation underscored the critical need for comprehensive and tailored care for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The inaugural event was graced by the esteemed presence of Dr. H. Sudarshan Ballal, Chairman of Manipal Hospitals, Dr. Jagadish Chinappa, Consultant Paediatrics, Dr. Chitra Sankar - Consultant in Developmental Paediatrics, and Dr. Bidisha Banerjee, Consultant - Paediatric Neurology at Manipal Hospital Old Airport Road.

Dr. H. Sudarshan Ballal emphasized the uniqueness of each child on the autism spectrum, highlighting the clinic's dedication to providing personalized care. Dr. Jagadish Chinappa elaborated on the clinic's premier features, highlighting its status as one of Bengaluru's premier centers for comprehensive ASD management. He emphasized the collaborative effort required in the management of autism and stated, "Management of ASD is ateamwork and requires expansive coordination by various specialists includingchild development specialists, psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists,working towards the prevention of worsening of symptoms or complications andfocusing on the holistic development of every child with ASD." Dr. Chitra Sankar assured the audience of the clinic's commitment to creating a nurturing environment. She emphasized individualized therapy plans tailored to each child's needs and strengths, addressing core symptoms as well as associated medical and emotional needs. Dr. Bidisha Banerjee emphasized the crucial importance of family involvement, with the clinic offering guidance and support to parents and caregivers throughout the journey.

The clinic launch received overwhelming support from families seeking treatment for their children with ASD. Mr. Piyush Kabra expressed optimism and relief regarding the high-quality treatment and holistic approach of the Autism Clinic at Manipal Hospital Old Airport Road, and said "Parents ofautistic children face numerous challenges, especially concerning the qualityof care and fragmented treatment approaches. Manipal Hospitals' Autism Care Centerrepresents a significant step forward in providing high-quality treatment within a holistic framework encompassing speech, behavioral, and occupational therapy, as well as medical care. I am confident the center will offer solace to parents and caregivers of special children."

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