RC Thane Hills sets up autism centre in Mumbai

The genesis of the freshly minted Dr V ­Subramanian Autism Centre in Navi Mumbai, an initiative of RC Thane Hills, RID 3142, dates back to nearly two decades. The 100-odd children who will ultimately become students here, and the 1,000 children who will receive various kinds of therapies through special educators, may never know it, but the facility has become available to them, thanks to the sensitivity, concern and passion of one man… immediate past president of the club Jayaram Mendon.

An electronic engineer by profession, he conceived and planned this project right from the time he became president-nominee of the club three years ago. For over three years, if he worked on its completion with single-minded devotion, it was because of what he had experienced years ago in Dubai, where he had worked for 19 years.

PRID Ashok Mahajan in conversation with (from L) past president Raju Subramanian, A S Kumar, Dr Dattaram Fonde, founder, Santosh Institute, and past president Jayaram Mendon.

“During those days, I found there was a high level of ­infertility among young Indian couples ­staying there and one of the main causes for their condition was consumption of too much of frozen foods. I believe that this is one of the main causes of infertility,” he says.

To overcome this problem, many young couples were seeking IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) treatment. Mendon says he found from his personal experience that about 20–30 IVF babies out of 100 were, in those days, getting some kind of neuro disorder, including autism. “My wife and I were advised to go for IVF and I advised my friends, a couple, to do the same.”

While his own daughter, who was one year younger to his friend’s son — both were born with IVF help — had no disorder, “my friend’s son was autistic and I had blamed myself over the years wondering why I had advised my friends to go for IVF treatment.”

That was in 2007–08; but having watched his friend’s wife’s long struggle in managing and educating an autistic child had always proved disturbing for him. “Of course, now the Dubai Autism Centre has been established, but in those days the facilities and services for autistic children were very limited.”

The Matru Milan Vikasa Kendra, an NGO, gave us the space in Navi Mumbai. If we had to buy the space it would have cost us
₹15 crore!
Jayaram Mendon, past president, RC Thane Hills

Even now, he says, at the Dubai centre, “certain specific educational patterns, different kinds of therapies and use of paramedics are not available. As you can imagine, the situation in India was even more pathetic. So our team at the club decided to bring all the required branches of autism into one place through this project.”

Past president of the club Atul Bhide, a core member of this project team, said the project was executed at a cost of ₹1.4 crore. But to set up this centre, in a place like Navi Mumbai, it was impossible to buy the land. So the club teamed up with the Matru Milan Vikasa Kendra (MMVK), an NGO in Navi Mumbai, which already has a spacious facility, and is running services for disabled children. They agreed to give the Rotarians about 12,000sqft of space to set up their dream autism centre.

PRID Mahajan and club president Govind Khetan with the winner of the Triumph Run.

“When we discussed our plans to set up an autism centre, and proposed a partnership, they immediately embraced the idea and gave us the space in their own premises. Were we to buy land for this centre in Navi Mumbai, it would have cost us nearly ₹15 crore,” surmises Mendon.

He adds that Dr Seetha, the wife of one of the club’s past presidents Dr Raju, who had always cherished the dream of establishing a facility for special children, donated ₹1 crore to set up this autism centre in memory of her father Dr ­V ­Subramanian, who had rebuilt the famous ­Shanmukhananda Auditorium in Mumbai after the fire. Other notable donors include past president Vijay Shetty, with club member Anup Surve, putting in immense work to see it through.

A participant at the Triumph Carnival.

Bhide explains that part of the total amount spent on the project —  ₹1.4 crore — came from a global grant. “This wasn’t a regular global grant; we got some amount from the district gift fund, and as the GG rules require an international partner, we took on board a Nepal club, RC Pokhara Midtown, as a non-financial partner.”

Mendon adds that a lot of care has been taken to see that a wide range of the latest therapies and other kinds of activities required for the autistic are available at the centre which will be managed and operated by the Santosh Institute for Mentally Challenged Children, which runs over half a dozen such facilities for the autistic in Mumbai.

Describing the centre as “a state-of-the-art training facility and a ray of hope both for autistic ­children and their parents,” Mendon says the therapies and treatment methods on offer include occupation therapy, sensory integration, physiotherapy, speech therapy, music, yoga, sand and aqua therapy.

Asked to explain ‘sand therapy’ he says, “Sand has a particular characteristic. When children go to the beach, they get excited; that is because sand triggers certain neurons in the brain and our educators will work with that concept. As for aqua therapy, we are going to build a swimming pool at the same place; there is space available for that too!”

The project is divided into five categories to give a one-stop solution to children and teenagers with autism. This centre will act as an early intervention centre for physical development — of both the body and the brain of the child; cognitive development (thinking and learning); behavioural development; and social and emotional development (the child’s ability to form relationships and cope with emotions).

It also has an autism school, a teacher training facility, and will also function as a vocational setup, Mendon added.

On the beneficiaries, the Rotarian says they will include special children with autism and related spectrum of disorders, who are living in Navi Mumbai, Thane and Mumbai as also the rest of Maharashtra.

While the facilities, equipment and manpower are big enough to be able to take in 100 autistic children and 1,000 others with related disorders, he estimates that in the first year maybe about 50 children will come to the school for regular sessions and gradually the centre will function to its full capacity.

Different kinds of therapies being offered at the autism centre set up by the Rotary Club of Thane Hills.

The fees will be charged according to the paying capacity of the child, with there being a 50 per cent discount for the less privileged. And the fees charged will be comparatively less than other institutions offering similar facilities. “I can assure you that in the coming days this will develop into a one-of-its-kind school with different therapies and modern infrastructure available in one place. Apart from 100 students at the school and 1,000 with other related disabilities who will benefit through different kinds of therapies, around 2,000 parents, teachers and shadow teachers will also benefit from this centre.”

Members of RC Thane Hills.

The club has 120 members, and this project has been made possible, thanks to the support from quite a few of them. Club president Govind Khetan adds that to ensure sustainability of the centre, the core team has worked out financial support for its smooth functioning. While ₹1.2 lakh a month has been promised by past president V Chandrasekharan, ₹50,000 a month will be given by Fortress, a company run by club member Kumar.

In those days babies born through the IVF procedure were getting some kind of neuro disorder, including autism.

On Nov 18, the centre was inaugurated by PRID Ashok Mahajan, with RID 3142 DG Milind Kulkarni and IPDG Kailash Jethani, Father Prem and Father Arul of MMVK and Dr Dattaram Fonde from the Santosh Institute participating in the event.

The Triumph Run and Carnival for special children being inaugurated.

Earlier in November, the club organised another mega event for special children titled ‘Triumph Run and Carnival for Special Children,’ in which 1,500 children participated. This event began after the year 2000 when RC Thane Hills was approached by organisations of physically and mentally-challenged children saying they were not allowed to participate in marathon runs held in Mumbai. “So our club decided to hold a fun run event only for such special children, and this Triumph Run has continued every year. A few years ago, we added some fun games, and also offer delicious food to the children, their parents and teachers. Gradually a musical event was added to the carnival, where we invite visually-challenged kids to perform on the stage along with our musicians or DJ,” says Bhide.

Khetan adds that this year 1,500 children from 45 schools, 300 teachers and 600 parents participated in the “event which has now become for these people the event of the year to watch out for!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

kenslot kenslot kenslot slot thailand https://kenslot.mip.co.id/ https://lahoradelpintxo.com/ https://heylink.me/kenslot/ https://slot-demo.mip.co.id/ https://hk-pools.mip.co.id/ https://macaupools.mip.co.id/ kenslot https://bsi.umsu.ac.id/data-macau/ https://bsi.umsu.ac.id/slot-thailand/ asia99 kenslot https://slot88.fluidco.id/ pragmatic88 https://ladangtoto.mip.co.id/ https://bsi.umsu.ac.id/ladangtoto/ https://hongkongpools.fluidco.id/ https://bsi.umsu.ac.id/hongkongpools/ pragmatic88 https://ladangtoto.fluidco.id/ https://sruti.unhi.ac.id/assets/slot-thailand/ https://sruti.unhi.ac.id/assets/slot-kamboja/ asia99 slot thailand kenslot kenslot kenslot eslot gb777 https://kenslot.kenzieadiwangsa.co.id/ https://kenslot.petrodrill.co.id/ https://kenslot.timbis.com/ https://kenslot.lavenderbali.com/ https://pisangtoto.cakrawalabalifurniture.co.id/ https://obcbet.ekaprinting.com/ https://obctop.ekaprinting.com/ https://pisangbet.ekaprinting.com/ https://totokl.ekaprinting.com/ https://pisangbet.danaswari.com/ https://obctop.topkomodotour.com/ https://obcbet.kimmybalioutcallmassage.com/ https://obcbet.abhijayaelectric.com/ https://pisangbet.danaswari.com/ https://products.asahimas.co.id/ https://bo.asahimas.co.id/ https://lppm.usp.ac.id/ https://main.usp.ac.id/store/ https://saa.unida.gontor.ac.id/products/ https://sibahumas.pekalongankab.go.id/upload/admin/ https://efast.uki.ac.id/main/ https://library.stikesbpi.ac.id/ https://teknikinformatika.matanauniversity.ac.id/ https://hospar.matanauniversity.ac.id/main/ https://digilib.stikes-ranahminang.ac.id/bo/ https://apikui.asia.ac.id/upload/ https://bkd-ppid.wonosobokab.go.id/
Message Us