Life took a turn for Mr and Mrs Suresh Unnikrishnan, when their son Lohitth Suresh Nair was three. There seemed to be many changes he was grappling with. Suresh recalled the journey on what they went through at the early stage where Lohitth thumped his head on the ground, scratched his arms and threw tantrums whenever he was by himself.
To stop him from hurting himself, they’d hold him tightly.
When he was enrolled into a kindergarten, his behaviour was totally different. Being the youngest of three children, he was quieter in class.
“It came to a point where we felt that he had not shown much progress even though the teachers had given us monthly report cards saying that he had improved,” said Suresh.
To make matters worse, during the parent-teacher meetings they were informed that he had not progressed much and it was truly heartbreaking for them.
After having a consultation with a doctor, they had a thought that Lohitth was a slow learner. With a referral letter from the doctor, the family received help from a professional, and that’s when he was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4.
Since then the journey this parents-son duo have embarked on is truly inspirational. Despite shutting their doors off and staying at home, they have done a thorough research on what autism is all about. After doing plenty of research, Lohitth was placed under the care of a special therapist at the National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom) Centre, Gombak.
To their surprise, Lohitth has made significant progress as he has started to learn to look at people in the eye and even started to play with children who were not autistic as well.
“Working closely with the teachers would ensure that the youngster remains on schedule with their development. We talked about how he is at home, and the teachers were able to work with him because of that,” he stated to The Sun.
What is autism?
First identified in the 1940s, autism is a developmental disability that lasts a lifetime and affects someone’s interaction with other people – how they communicate with and relate to them. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, autism affects an estimated one in 54 children in the United States today.
However, there isn’t any official registry for the number of individuals diagnosed with autism in Malaysia. As of now, the World Health of Organisation (WHO) estimated that around one per cent of the world’s population is impacted by autism.
One thing is for sure, where these children require a lot of nurturing and counselling. Include them in all you do, and you will slowly and surely see the changes.