Five-year-old Himanshu was a little tornado when he enrolled at the Latika Roy Foundation’s Early Intervention Center at the age of three. Diagnosed with autism and hyperactivity, all he wanted to do was run around the playground from the moment he entered until he left.
Over the past two years, our multidisciplinary team of special educators and therapists have worked closely with Himanshu and his family to identify his learning style, interests and triggers. We tailored a customized weight jacket and weighted cuffs inhouse to help calm the sensory overload he’s prone to, and help improve his focus, attention and ability to learn. Himanshu now focuses on tabletop activities for up to eight minutes at a time. This is no big deal for a typically developing child but it’s a massive accomplishment for him – children on the autism spectrum often have trouble sitting still or tolerating other sedentary activities due to their sensory processing difficulties and deficits in social and communication skills. Every additional minute that Himanshu sits still makes a critical difference to his ability to follow instructions, learn, retain and apply his learning.
When Himanshu first came in, it was for an hour at time, twice a week. He’s now progressed to two-hourly sessions five days a week. He still adores the playground and the sandpit but he’s learning that there’s a time for everything. As Himanshu is non-verbal, one of the aids he uses is a visual calendar. As soon as he finishes in the classroom, he flashes his ‘outdoor’ card to indicate that it’s time for his favorite activities of the day – to hit the playground and the sandpit.