From Tasmanian Devil to Mathematical Whiz

WorldAutismDayMaster S first met the Neurokrish team (later to become the Neurokrish-Trimed team) about 5 years ago. Aged three years old at the time, he was brought to us by his grandfather who had recovered fully from a stroke, under our care. S demonstrated clearly to us the features of both Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. He refused to maintain eye contact, engaged in fleeting social contact which was very poorly sustained and was yet to develop any language skills of note. More disturbingly, S was profoundly hyperactive and disruptive, so much so that he could in a few moments literally tear apart a consulting or therapy room, when left alone. Needless to say his extended family, especially his mother were distraught. In our minds S bore a striking resemblance to “Taz” the adorable but disruptive “Tasmanian Devil”, then a beloved cartoon character, much loved by the kids.

Taz was offered a combination of behaviour therapy, Neurodevelopmental therapy and family counselling. He was also prescribed medication to improve attention, stabilise his volatile moods and cut down his very disruptive behaviours. Over a 3 year period, our therapeutic relationship with Taz’s family evolved; together we walked many a milestone; his first words, his play school, kindergarden, and primary school. Therapeutic holidays from drugs during summer and winter vacations; the role of extended families, maternal and paternal; expectations of the many stakeholders, parents, both sets of grandparents, uncles and aunts; teacher and school interactions; our therapeutic relationship weathered these many storms. His GI problems responded to our Naturotherapy approaches; his limbs became dexterous and his fine motor skills including handwriting skills improved with Neurodevelopmental therapy and ayurveda. Thanks to sustained behaviour therapy and parental counselling he became less disruptive, could follow parental instructions and began to sit for longer periods of time. His attendance and participation at school improved dramatically; his intuitive mathematical abilities started to shine; he learned to interact better with peers and teachers. Indeed, not only did he survive primary school, he had even topped his class in mathematics.

Recently we met our “Taz” one final time, before he migrated with his family abroad. His evolved parents had declared his condition in the immigration visa application form and sought special assistance for him aided by a detailed summary from Neurokrish-Trimed.Taz still disrupts the room a little, butts into conversations, is impulsive, slightly stilted in his conversations but now showing warmth and willingness to communicate. Taz has a combination of ADHD and the ASD spectrum and is one of our most challenging child patients ever. Yet, his remarkable progress, made possible by the wonderful therapeutic relationship our team had with his family, holds hope for many other children, affected just like he is. We do hope he will continue his progress abroad.

From S and his family we have learnt the importance of looking beyond terminology and the diagnosis. After all, mere words do not the person make!

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