SLACD and CDB Establish State-of-the-Art Children’s Intervention Center at Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital

Commemorating World Children’s Day this year, the Sri Lanka Association for Child Development (SLACD) and Citizens Development Business Finance PLC (CDB) declared open a state-of-the-art Children’s Intervention Centre at the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital with an investment of over Rs. 7.5 million. Aptly named “Pragathi”, the intervention center is specifically designed and equipped to provide children with autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions with the best treatment options to improve their learning and development, thus ensuring a higher quality of life.

The “Pragathi” intervention centre is the latest project under the “Act Early for Autism” programme, which was initiated by the SLACD and CDB to create awareness and necessary interventions on ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’, a growing neurodevelopmental health condition amongst children of Sri Lanka.

According to research, by 2009 approximately 1 in 93 children in Sri Lanka was affected by ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’, and one of the major issues currently is that most parents are not even aware of such a condition, much less how it can be treated.

Children with autism should be assessed and managed by a team of professionals after thorough observation with utmost care and patience. In order to execute this, it is undeniably important for doctors, parents and children to have their very own space.

Moreover, parents of children with ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’ are faced with unique challenges when providing care. Thus, the doctors at the “Pragathi” intervention center also focus on educating parents on the specific treatment procedures which need to be carried out within the home setting.

The “Pragathi” intervention center provides the space required to do this, making it easier to assess and treat the children as required. Some of the special features of the intervention center are as follows:

One Way Mirror

The one-way mirror is a tool which allows doctors and therapists to observe the children while they continue with their usual routines without any disturbances and without the children noticing they are being observed. Observation is of great importance when treating children with autism, and the intervention center provides this facility to the North Central Province for the very first time in Sri Lanka.

Sensory Room

The intervention center is equipped with a sensory room for the children to practice and participate in sensorial activities stimulating their senses. The room has colorful toys and activities especially designed for this purpose.

Gross Motor Room for General Physical Skills Development

The Gross Motor room is designed for physical activities to stimulate their motor skills. The room is equipped with a swing, a ball pit, a slide and other child-friendly, stimulating activities.

Toilet Training Facilities

Several practices like toilet training for children with ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’ are adopted to ease the day to day lives of both the kids and their families. The intervention center is equipped with special toilet training facilities aimed at teaching both the children and parents the necessary procedures required to ensure the development of proper toilette etiquette.
The team of professionals at the “Pragathi” Children’s Intervention Center welcomes parents and children from all walks of life to visit them and utilize these services for early detection and treatments. Parents may contact the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital and connect with the Child Guidance Clinic to connect with the “Pragathi” intervention center.

Since the inception of this program, CDB and SLACD have taken multiple steps to educate doctors, nurses, parents and midwives in the rural areas of Sri Lanka about the importance of detecting the early signs of Autism and its treatments. As a part of this program, CDB and SLACD established an “Outdoor Therapeutic Sensory Garden” to the Ampara General Hospital, paving a way for children to enjoy activities to stimulate their senses. “Pragathi Children’s Intervention Center” is another generous investment and initiative from CDB and SLACD towards the betterment of children in Sri Lanka this World Children’s Day.