Usman’s Story

Usman is 9 years old and has intellectual disability and A.D.H.D. He lives with parents Aamir and Saba in an area of Bhopal close to the site of the abandoned Union Carbide factory, the same place where nearly 40 years ago Saba’s own mother was forced to flee from the clouds of poisonous gas that leaked from the facility and blew across the city. By the time he was 5 years old, Usman had still not learned to speak. Concerned, his parents decided to bring him to the Chingari Children’s Clinic for assessment by the speech therapy team.

Despite interruptions to his treatment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Usman has made remarkable progress during his 4 years at the centre. With the help of the speech therapists, he slowly learned to better control the movement of his lips and tongue and improve his phonation. This allowed him to begin forming individual words, and with time and hard effort he has progressed to speaking in full simple sentences. As well as his inability to communicate, when he arrived Usman also struggled with his colour and shape perception and comprehension skills, which severely limited his ability to perform independent daily tasks. With the help of occupational therapy, he now has mastered the ability to distinguish colours and shapes. He also has improved cognitive ability and comprehension skills, particularly with words and numbers, and is better able to perform tasks independently, as well as communicate and play with other children.

Usman loves chai, particularly from cafes, as well as biryani, dhal, and kebabs. He is pickier about fruit and vegetables but does like apples. He always likes to keep busy and active and likes to be out of the house, whether its trips with his parents or spending time at Chingari.

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