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Friday, August 28, 2009

Aapki Antara: The attempt to explain the life of an autistic girl

Aap Ki Antara is a show that is somewhat unusual. How often have you seen a show about something serious, and an issue that is not known to a large number of people. Hence, the effort to introduce the concept of what an autisitic child is, what is the behavior, how they are not crazy, what are the efforts that are needed to bring up such a child. The serial has tried to show these challenges, but they are introducing many twists that a normal serial does (maybe to increase the drama, but that tend to take away from the serious nature of the serial.
Antara is the daughter of Aditya, a loan manager of a bank. He is married to Vidya, and they have a son as well. Things are fine, and then they discover that Aditya had been unfaithful, and there is a daughter called Antara from the relationship. The woman with whom Aditya had been unfaithful has now died, and Aditya has to take care of Antara, who is autistic. They are slowly starting to learn what being autistic means, and Aditya is facing a lot of problems in trying to do good for Antara (with Vidya being somewhat cut off from him, but slowly starting to accept Antara as her daughter as well). Antara in the meantime is seen as crazy by those who do not know, including other mothers (and the serial unnecessarily shows some of the mothers as being very bitchy). Antara shows off some special skills in terms of artistic prowess.
Currently, Aditya is getting stuck in several problems. He was trying to earn some money on the side, but that is not working out. Further, most critically, Antara is now lost, and Aditya is going mad looking for her. Will he be able to find her, or will the serial go in for a time leap ?

Videos of Aapki Antara on Youtube:

Aapki Antara - 28th Aug 2009 - Part 1 - HD

Aapki Antara - 28th Aug 2009 - Part 2 - HD

Aapki Antara - 28th Aug 2009 - Part 3 - HD

Links that point to autism / autistic resources in India:
Autism Society of India

Zynah Vastani (Antara)
Prabhleen Sandhu (Vidya Verma )
Darshan Pandya (Aditya Verma )
Rupali Ganguly (Anuradha)
Aarav Velhal (Billu Gupta)
Sujata Kumar (Anatara's grandmother)

More about autistic children:
Autism is a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism involves many parts of the brain; how this occurs is not well understood. Although early behavioral or cognitive intervention can help children gain self-care, social, and communication skills, there is no known cure. Overt symptoms gradually begin after the age of six months, become established by age two or three years, and tend to continue through adulthood, although often in more muted form. People with autism have social impairments and often lack the intuition about others that many people take for granted. Autistic infants show less attention to social stimuli, smile and look at others less often, and respond less to their own name. Autistic toddlers differ more strikingly from social norms; for example, they have less eye contact and turn taking, and are more likely to communicate by manipulating another person's hand.
Autistic individuals display many forms of repetitive or restricted behavior such as:
- Stereotypy is repetitive movement, such as hand flapping, making sounds, head rolling, or body rocking.
- Compulsive behavior is intended and appears to follow rules, such as arranging objects in a stacks or lines.
- Sameness is resistance to change; for example, insisting that the furniture not be moved or refusing to be interrupted.
- Ritualistic behavior involves an unvarying pattern of daily activities, such as an unchanging menu or a dressing ritual. This is closely associated with sameness and an independent validation has suggested combining the two factors.
- Restricted behavior is limited in focus, interest, or activity, such as preoccupation with a single television program, toy, or game.
- Self-injury includes movements that injure or can injure the person, such as eye poking, skin picking, hand biting, and head banging. A 2007 study reported that self-injury at some point affected about 30% of children.

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