Aquatic And Sensory Integration therapy – Two New Dimension in Autism Treatment

Agniva Sen With his father and Dr Nandini Gokulchandran, NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute
Agniva Sen With his father and Dr Nandini Gokulchandran, NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute


Agniva Sen had poor eye contact, hardly-developed speech responding chiefly with monosyllables and poor motor-skills, dependency, affected mannerisms and behavior – given to hyper activism, tenuous understanding – task accomplished only after repeat commands. He is afflicted with non-curable autism disorder.

Now after undergoing therapy cum rehabilitation at Mumbai based NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute’s stem cell therapy since January 2016, he can perform various tasks for 30-40 minutes, has lesser hyper activism and improved social interaction. Agniva, as is usual in this system was injected bone-marrow culture from bone-marrow in cerebrospinal fluid tract with aim to repair brain damage. This way they can come closest to the brain as directly injecting in the brain may not be desirable.

Being India’s leading Stem Cell Therapy Centre NeuroGen offers a comprehensive approach for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and has till date treated over 1000 autistic kids from across the globe.

In city to address their two new therapy offerings – Aquatic therapy, Sensory Integration therapy – Dr Nandini Gokulchandran, Deputy Director & Head Medical Services NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute, said ABA – Applied Behavior Analysis is best in treating autism. “They have to be encouraged with incentive schemes and the treatment and rehabilitation has to be customized”. So their extensive rehab menu includes play therapy, art / dance therapy, Activity of Daily living (ADL), oral motor movement therapy, Swing movement – patients being motion seeking, Aquatic therapy – helps flush out toxins, ball-pressure for those sensitive to touching and textures. Walking is administered to paralytics. There’s also Psychological Intervention, Occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy and Pharmacotherapy.

Newly introduced Aquatic Therapy uses chemical and physical properties of water to aid in the restoration, extension, maintenance and quality of function for persons with acute, transient, or chronic disabilities, syndromes or diseases helping to improve posture, coordination and body control.  It reduces sensory issues, improves social skills and cognitive functions. In autism it has a positive effect on behavioral issues and psychological impairment like activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and suppression of the sympathetic nervous system reducing anxiety, hyperactivity, repetitive motor mannerisms, stereotypical behavioral and inappropriate emotional responses.

Sensory integration, Dr Nandini Gokulchandran, Deputy Director & Head Medical Services, NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute said “Sensory Integration is an “innate neurobiological process to organize sensory input from the body and environment so that body can be use effectively in the environment. It is the integration and interpretation of sensory stimulation from the environment by the brain. Sensory integration focuses primarily on three basic senses—tactile (touch), vestibular (movement), and proprioceptive (pressure). When sensory input is not integrated or organized appropriately in the brain it produces varying degrees of problems in development, information processing, and behavior. “

Dr NandiniGokulchandran further added “An Autism child may be over- or under-responsive to sensory input, activity level may be either unusually high or unusually low; a child may be in constant motion or fatigue easily. Behaviorally, the child may become impulsive, easily distractible, and show a general lack of planning. Some children may also have difficulty adjusting to new situations and may react with frustration, aggression, or withdrawal. In autism Sensory integration helps for all these three major Sensory dysfunction and also other sensory dysfunctions like visual, auditory, oral and olfactory.”

MrSen, Agniva’s father said  “At the age of 2 years, we noticed that his eye contact was poor, he was not responding to his name, his speech was not developed, and even his play was not like other children. We took him to a child specialist in Kolkata where the doctor said our child has traits of autism spectrum disorder and we should consult the specialists in Bangalore. We were shocked and totally taken a back when we realized the real picture. It took us around 6 months to accept and understand as to exactly what is wrong with our child – we went through the internet researching and trying to understand our child. Agniva was then taken to NIMHANS Bangalore where he was evaluated by a Psychiatrist who diagnosed him to have Speech delayed with Mild Autism. Regular therapies and special education was on but in 2014, he had convulsion due to which he was hospitalized for 3 days. He was started on Anti- Epileptics.