Early Intervention - hope for the intellectually disabled

Early Intervention is very crucial and important as - neural circuits, which create the foundation for learning, behavior and health, are most flexible during the first three years of life. Over time, they become increasingly difficult to change. Intervention is likely to be more effective and less costly when it is provided ealier in life rather than later. High quality early intervention services can change a child’s developmental trajectory and improve outcomes for children, families, and communities. This is Shubhan, from - The Early Intervention Unit at our Dakshinpuri Centre in Delhi. Even if he falls down, he extends a helping hand to his friend. Five years ago he was born with intellectual disability. His birth impacted not only his mother Tabassum’s life but that of the whole family. No eye contact, no baby smiles, and no development like other babies. But today, thanks to Tabassum and her compassionate love and courage and the input of our multidisciplinary team, he is well on his way to achieve his potential. Had Tabassum waited and little Shubhan had continued to grow, but disabled cognitively and physically, he would not be where he is today. When he came to SAMADHAN, his life took a leap forward. He can now stand, walk, sing and even talk a few sentences.

Here is the story of Tabassum and Shubhan:

Early morning at 5.00 am, Tabassum sat on the top step of her small one room house on the upper floor of a resettlement colony in Dakshinpuri, on the outskirts of Delhi. But yet the clutter and the sad debris all around left an ache in her heart as she remembered the beautiful small village in Himachal where she grew up. It had all changed gradually but very definitely to bring her here her life, in Delhi. How well she remembered Sonu’s first visit. He was the chosen groom for her and had been brought to visit her village and approve of her! He had been fifteen and she, just nine years old. She remembered her wedding six years later when she was showered with gifts and pampered. So it had been a happy life; at least until her son - Shubhan was born. This, not only changed her own life but that of the whole family. The family soon realized that little Shubhan was a very strange baby. He neither made eye contact nor did he smile and he did not develop the same way other babies did. It gradually dawned upon her and the family that Shubhan was never going to be normal and that all their dreams of a son and future plans had been shattered. People began to blame her. Most traumatic was the family’s changed attitude. She was house bound. Her mother in law said harshly - “you will go out and talk about Shubhan and people will know we have been cursed”. Her father in law had also added to this saying - “for generations we have been a respected family, what will people say now?

But hope came in the form of Sarojini, the door to door survey worker from Samadhan. On seeing Shubhan, she explained the importance of early identification and intervention and how crucial it was. Tabassum, now realized that a door had been opened and she had to follow Sarojinis advice. But the family was adamant and saw no need for this. Sonu, tried to be supportive initially, but gradually gave up. He felt that since he was living in his parents’ home and he was not contributing much financially, he should support his parents. Not his wife! As days went by an overwhelming and compassionate love filled her gradually. It was not Shubhan’s fault. Nor hers. She realized that she now had the courage to sacrifice everything for Shubhan. She knew, just knew, what she should be doing and that she was right. So, one morning, she told her family calmly “I am taking Shubhan to the NGO , Samadhan, where they help children like him”. As she walked down the steps she heard a voice “Wait I will come with you”. It was Sonu. The way ahead had just opened up for all of them.

Our services are accessible within the community and affordable. Just what Tabassum and Shubhan needed. We have reached out to more than 50,000 families. It`s a long and arduous, but exciting journey.

THIS IS OUR MESSAGE – There are still many Shubhans` in the community. Come, join hands with us. Impact the lives of the intellectually disabled children and their families.