Mumbai: A month after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced it will set up the first early intervention and rehabilitation centre for children with special needs, the civic body has set up a task force to fast track the project and to ensure it is ready in May.
The centre in Byculla will provide medical facilities and therapies to children with any physical and mental disabilities. “We have set up the task force for monitoring and early activation of the facility,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner. He added the task force, which held its first meeting last week, has an administrative in charge and a clinical team.
Shishir Joshi, a member of the task force, said the centre is a blessing for hundreds of thousands of families battling with the emotional health concerns of their children.
Samir Dalwai, consultant developmental behavioural paediatrician, Nanavati Max Hospital, said it is heartening to see the civic body recognising that children with special needs require a separate specialised approach. “It cannot be clubbed with adults. These children need an outcome-oriented approach.” He said the city needs 10 such centres.
Archana Chandra, chief executive officer of Jai Vakeel Foundation that works in the area of intellectual and developmental disabilities, said for any child with special needs, diagnosis is just the beginning of a lifelong journey, where a rehabilitation centre plays a key role.
“Post-diagnosis, a child needs services and support that can help her/him with developmental delays. We need such centres to handhold them through the journey. Often the cost of the interventions becomes a deterrent for the parents and the child. BMC’s centre will be a boon for such children and their parents.”