When Pranshu was only 3 years old, we were advised by our doctor at Kalawati Saran Hospital, Connaught Place, New Delhi to contact AFA at ChiragGaon in 2001. I first joined there in the Mother Child Programme. Every day I had to take my daughter around 20 km from my home in the hope of betterments. When we joined AFA, we came to know about the real problem and started accepting this. It is great learning experience to put our child in AFA, where childcare is unparalleled. I must say that AFA has a best attitude, staff& experts to take care of such children .The teachers & parents are trained here to their need and child development is focused towards their need. Teachers at AFA are sincere and fully devoted to the society and fully devoted to the society. We wish AFA all the best.
Manish was four when we (me & Manish) joined AFA for a Parent – Child program which was called the ‘Mother and child program’ at that time.
Manish’s gradual evolvement from a shy, introverted toddler to a confident, happy and emotionally evolved teenager has been very satisfying for me. The biggest support being the intensive programs carried out at AFA.
The Mother –child program gave me the understanding of my child - his abilities & his difficulties. Later he joined ‘Open Door’, where he is currently getting vocational training, training in ADLs and social skills training. Each and every day is a new learning. As a mother, I really appreciate the hard & sincere work teachers are putting into training Manish and other youngsters like him. But the most appreciable aspect about the institution is the way each & every staff treats each & every child –with respect, love and compassion
Thanks for the same
My name is Vinod J Kaul (F/o AnkitKaul, Violet class, Open Door, AFA, JasolaVihar, New Delhi). I am presently serving in the University of Delhi South campus as an Associate Professor in Commerce and Business studies at ShaheedBhagat Singh College, Sheikh Sarai, New Delhi.
My association with Action for Autism dates back to 2002 when my son Ankit, now 14 years old, was diagnosed with autism, first by a senior psychiatrist at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi and later confirmed by Action for Autism in July 2002. As all parents of people with this developmental disorder, this news came as a shock and disbelief to us, as well. We were suggested intervention by AFA and have been following such intervention and therapy religiously ever since. Later, Ankit was admitted to Open Door after AFA shifted from Chirag Delhi to where it operates from at present, JasolaVihar, New Delhi.
Ankit’s progress has as much to do with Open Door as it has with his parents and family back home. Open Door is an extension of Ankit’s home. Words fail me, as I try to explain the contribution of AFA and Open Door to the development process of my son over the last twelve years that we have spent together with the centre. We, like many others, knew very little of this spectrum disorder in the beginning but the enormous effort in educating caregivers/parents/therapists and many other interested groups by a dedicated team at AFA has made our lives, together with those of our wards, unbelievably easier and smoother. Without Open Door & AFA, Ankit and we, probably would not been what we are today and where we stand today as a family taking forward moves vis-à-vis our special child and many other spheres of our lives. We thank Open Door, AFA and all associated people there, immensely, for all that has meaningfully changed Ankit from what he was then and what he is today.
Prof. Vinod J Kaul
I am associated with Open Door, AFA as a parent since last 12 years and my son Rishabh has progressed as an active 16 year old, along with considerable improvement in attending, social and communication, prevocational skills. However, Rishabh has had a few difficult behavioral phases too. Each of these phases has seen complete acceptance and equal inclusion at the Open Door. Special programmes were tailor made as per his requirements under the supervision of the coordinator and the team of therapists. I, as a parent, was always apprised of and involved actively and also empowered to handle his difficulties. All efforts were made to include him in group outings and movies. The steps taken have helped Rishabh to get over his anxieties. As a parent, I have full faith in the programmes at Open Door. I am grateful for their unconditional love and acceptance towards Rishabh and the endeavours to help him move towards independence.
We would like to share our thoughts about the AFA team, with whom we have been associated with for many years, as parents of our teenage son, Praval, who goes to Open Door.
The staff of AFA is very dedicated, hardworking, knowledgeable and concerned about all our children. They are the support system for the child as well as his family. We hope earnestly that the team AFA continues to help and support us in the future also.
Thanks team AFA for always being there in our hour of need & adversity.
My daughter Gomathi diagnosed as autistic when she was around three and half years old. We ran from pillar to post to know what the answer to her condition was until she joined Open Door at the age of 8 years. We did not have much idea and it was only when we attended the Annual Training Workshop conducted by AFA in October 2006, which the picture became clear and we had a satisfaction of knowing that we were on the right path. After that there was no looking back and today I can say that I have now capabilities to guide, teach and handle the complex behavioural problems of my daughter and for that I am thankful to AFA. The evidence of the improvement in overall management of Gomathi’s behaviour could be seen from a comparison between two similar events, one in 2007 and the other in 2012. The first was when I, my husband and my son along with Gomathi attended my niece’s wedding in year 2007. None of us could participate in the festivities of marriage. Even though we were physically present, we actually spent our time in an isolated room. In contrast, in 2012, we once again attended another niece’s wedding in Mumbai. And this time we were all part of each of the functions and enjoyed the festivities of the events like that of the ‘mehendi’, engagement, wedding and reception. It was like a dream where Gomathi adjusted with lot of people and also took group photographs on all occasions. This showed that we have really we come a long way which has possible only because of proper guidance from the AFA team. One thing is sure, that if we understand our child and make some accommodations for them, then life is definitely easy. Thanks a lot AFA team.
N. BhuvanaHari Shankar
A chance discovery:
We had a chance discovery that our two year old son, Mohit, may have Autism, based on the symptoms listed in an article in TOI several years ago. This led to discovery of Action for Autism that was running from a flat in Chirag Delhi. AFA has come a long way since then. The initial period was obviously devastating to us and we looked at all possible specialists, special schools, web resources in our quest for a solution. Most of the institutes pointed us to AFA and its head, Merry Barua. Mohit’s mother then decided to enrol in the Mother-Child program at AFA. Since then we have been close to AFA. We are thankful to AFA for helping our son with life skills.
The small, but dedicated team at AFA has been trying to help the parents come to terms with the children’s ‘different’ life and make it easy for the child to learn the basic life skills. AFA has a solid difference compared to other facilities that help differently abled persons – it is founded and run by parents who themselves have the special children. Being at AFA means that we had a benefit of an optimised mix of current strategies ABA, SON-Rise and structured teaching. The 1 on 1 Sessions, emphasis on structure and consistency at home and school has helped tremendously.
We have been fortunate enough to be with AFA and that has made a difference to both our son’s and our lives. From a larger perspective AFA has helped train large number of parents, therapists, caregivers; mobilised public opinion and pushed the Government to make changes in disability laws. Kudos to Merry and the team at AFA, to have built and sustained this organisation. We love you and are grateful to you.
Gopal Krishna Kale and Anita Kale