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22 Mar 2017

Succour for autism sufferers - Dad detects disorder in boy, helps other patients and their parents

Arghya Mitra (centre) at the workshop. File picture 
TT, Alipurduar, March 21: The father of an autistic child is providing assistance to parents who have children with the same disorder in Alipurduar and adjacent areas.
In 2014, Arghya Mitra came to know that his son, whom he had adopted a year earlier, had autism and decided to help those parents who were dealing with the same problems as his by conducting a workshop on treatment.
After conducting a survey, Mitra came to know that at least 200 children had been suffering from autism in Alipurduar district. He campaigned on the workshop for autistic children by making door-to-door visits and creating awareness among the parents of government schemes.
"I read books on autism and contacted the West Bengal Autism Society in Calcutta to learn important points on autism. In September 2016, I organised a three-day workshop in Alipurduar. Around 100 children along with their parents, attended the event. I also invited two expert therapists from the Society in Calcutta and one from Shillong to guide the parents on different therapies and ways of doing them. I wanted the parents to learn proper therapies that they had been doing in a wrong manner without expert guidance," Mitra said.
The parents should know that there is no medicine for autism and improvement in child is possible only through therapies, the father said.
"Children from Islampur, Kokrajhar in Assam, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar participated in the event and their parents were very happy to attend the workshop as they received important information about autism and the ways to deal with it," Mitra said
Nabonita Nath, mother of an autistic boy, said: "We are grateful to Mitra for organising the workshop. It has benefited us a lot. We are in touch with him. He visits us to meet my son."
Arghya Mitra and Runa Sarkar got married in 2004 and adopted a three-month-old boy from a government home in Jalpaiguri in 2013. Later, the couple discovered some abnormalities in the child.
"In February 2014, we conducted some tests and the reports confirmed damage in a portion of the child's brain. We came to know that he is also suffering from profound hearing loss in the right ear and cortical visual impairment in both eyes," Mitra added.
Later, the parents took Atrayudh to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore and then to the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore for treatment.
In July 2014, it was found that the boy had been suffering from Global Developmental Delay, symptoms of developmental delays in children due to a damage in the brain.
In December 2016, doctors at the CMCH informed the couple about the growing autistic trends in the boy.
Mitra said: "At CMCH, we were taught how to deal with an autistic child. Proper training was given both to me and my wife. We came to know that autism disorder is an invisible disability. There is no medicine for it. Improvement is possible only through therapies."
Mitra runs a centre to test the pollution level of vehicles. He lives with his father, wife and son. "I want to start an detection centre for autism and a school for children (upto three years of age) with autism disorders. I aim to run my own foundation in the name of my son. My friends and family helped me arrange the workshop," he said.

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