Pinky Thokchom, 37 years, and her husband Tikendrajit Thokchom, 40 years, were so thrilled when Pinky gave birth to baby Pamsy as they always wanted their first born to be a baby girl. “A girl child is more caring, obedient and relatively easier to handle than a baby boy especially when yours is a nuclear family”, Tikendrajit confided, a professional photographer. “Besides Pamsy would be the extra hand when I give birth to a son as my second born”, recalled Pinky, a nurse by profession, when Pamsy was born on 11 December 2015.
Unfortunately, the euphoria evaporated when baby Pamsy was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of 2.6 years. Pamsy suffered from speech delay, no eye contacts and exhibited repetitive behaviours such as licking walls, floors and the washing machine refrigerator etc.
When Pamsy started developing these unusual behaviours and persisted with them, Pinky consulted a paediatrician of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, RIMS who could not give a proper diagnosis but only said the child has a problem and advised for an IQ assessment.
Concerned and curious to understand what was troubling their child and why she was not responding to name calling and couldn’t speak, Tikendrajit and Pinky turned to the internet for resources and started googling for answers. It was from Youtube that they came to know about autism and suspected that Pamsy could be autistic.
Soon they were referred to Dr. Shabina Ahmed, the founder Director of Assam Autism Foundation and went to Guwahati and did a proper assessment and diagnosed Pamsy as a moderate to severe ASD patient. Dr. Shabina prescribed a 5 hours intensive stimulation therapy to be given daily for at least 3 years.
By then, Pinky had quit her nursing job to dedicate herself wholly to Pamsy’s well-being. Besides sticking with Dr. Shabina’s recommended home therapy, Pinky took her daughter to Dr. Johnson Thiyam, a speech therapist & a special educator for over 1.5 years. Pinky also stumbled on the Son-Rise Program of the Autism Treatment Centre of America created by Barry Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman that primarily focused on social relations through four fundamentals.
First was Eye Contact and Non-Verbal Communication Slow. Second was on Verbal Communication. Third on Interactive Attention Space and fourth was on Flexibility. Pamsy started responding gradually.
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