Occupational therapist brings world-class practices to Chennai

Archana Raman

When 39-year-old Archana Raman visited as a teenager the Sathya Sai Ashram in Whitefield, she had a chance encounter with the ‘pink twins’ – Dorothy and Moyia O’Brien who are one of the world’s first occupational therapists.

Archana’s interactions with them and her drive to help people led her to pursue occupational therapy as a career.

After getting three masters degrees in this field from the top Universities in London and a decade of experience helping adults and kids with neurological problems, Archana, a Mugappair East resident, is now back on home soil.

Archana conducted free camp from 26 to 28 December with an intention of sharing her 18-year experience in the area and offered consultation to parents of children with conditions such as autism, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome and other issues.

Her camps were held at her clinic – the Neurological Rehabilitation Center for children and Adults at Mugappair Eri Scheme between 4 pm am 7 pm. She wishes to slowly expand and conduct the free workshops in rural Tamilnadu and a tier-II and tier-III towns as well in the future to increase awareness about the above conditions and how to help them get better.

Speaking to News Today about her work, Archana said, “I have an MS degree in Occupational Therapy (London) and a Master of Public Health degree from the London School of Tropical Medicine. I practised the latest advancements in occupational therapy and worked in government service in England rehabilitating stroke victims of injuries in the brain and spinal cord, and children affected by neurological problems like ADHD and autism.”

However, Archana said she came back to India after learning that the occupational therapy field in the country was still stuck with outdated and old-fashioned textbook therapies. She said, “I want to bring the latest practices in the field here.”

As the first course of action, Archana wants to raise awareness about occupational therapy among parents of neurologically affected children and teachers.

Archana says, “Sometimes, parents tend to ignore the signs that their children show that indicate that they have neurological problems. The signs may be frequent tantrums, inability to eat, sleeping problems, behavioural problems and so on. If the neurological problems are detected early in childhood and intervention and treatments are started early, the child would grow up to be better equipped to deal with their problems.”

Archana says that kindergarten teachers especially are in a position to detect the signs of neurological problems among school children.

“These children may not be fond of touching sand, may not mingle with other kids, and may fall frequently. There are various signs like these. So, teachers should attend such workshops to identify children in their class and let the parents know about their condition.”

A Harsha Vardhan