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Beating autism: With therapy, Bhavik managed to swim against the tide

15-yr-old has won accolades in freestyle swimming category

Beating autism: With therapy, Bhavik managed to swim against the tide

Parents of an autistic child, Bhavik Atwal (15), are a bit apprehensive these days. Because of the pandemic, Bhavik has to miss out on his important therapy sessions, as a result of which he is suffering frequent meltdowns.

Aakanksha N Bhardwaj

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 18

Parents of an autistic child, Bhavik Atwal (15), are a bit apprehensive these days. Because of the pandemic, Bhavik has to miss out on his important therapy sessions, as a result of which he is suffering frequent meltdowns.

Vikram Atwal, Bhavik's father

I have been making all-out efforts so that my son could participate in various championships. With his participation, his training in swimming becomes more refine. I was looking forward to him participating in a national championship that was to be held in Mumbai. If he managed to win gold in it, he could qualify for the World Olympics. He had been practising hard for it. But now, it seems difficult for us to get him back on track.

After his parents got to know that Bhavik was an autistic kid, they took him to several hospitals but found relief only in Ahmedabad, where he had been studying and getting treatment. They realised how he was drawn to water and saw visible improvement in him after he learnt swimming. He was living with his mother for the past three years, but because of the lockdown, had to come here. Since then, he has not been attending any therapy sessions.

Bhavik had won two gold medals at a national-level swimming championship held in Pune from August 25 to 26 in 2018.

The 15-year-old swimmer bagged medals in the 50m freestyle and 25m freestyle category. The national-level swimming competition was held for children suffering from autistic and Down’s syndrome.

Bhavik has also won a silver medal during the 20th Punjab State Special Olympics. In the national-level Special Olympic Bharat Maharashtra National Championship 2016, he also bagged a medal in the 25m freestyle event.

Apart from this, he has also won two silver medals in special Olympic Punjab state level compilation in Patiala 2017 in 25m and 50m freestyle swimming events.

Pandemic hit his rhythm

Notably, Bhavik’s father Vikram Atwal said this year, two big events were to take place. But because of the pandemic, it got stalled. He said for players like Bhavik, such breaks affect their rhythm and it becomes highly difficult for them to perform like before.

“I have been making all-out efforts so that my son could participate in various championships. With his participation, his training in swimming becomes more refine. I was looking forward to him participating in a national championship that was to be held in Mumbai. If he managed to win gold in it, he could qualify for the World Olympics. He had been practising hard for it. But now, it seems difficult for us to get him back on track,” he said.

While talking about his son, he said Bhavik now solves mathematics sums and remembers tables too. “I am hopeful that he will become a role model for other children suffering from such ailments in the future,” Atwal said.

Bhavik’s father Vikram Atwal wants to convey the message to all those parents whose children are suffering from autism that if proper attention, care and therapy are given, children can get better with time.

He also shared that most of the people are not aware of the disease and they see no hope of revival for such kids. But this is not the case.

Bhavik’s father Vikram Atwal runs a small dhaba in Maqsuda and because of the pandemic, even his dhaba is lying shut.

Despite such adversities, he hasn’t given up on his son. He is going to Ahmedabad to see if the therapy could be continued or not.

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