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Blindness cannot stop a Visionary

Life wasn't easy for this young man, Dr. Chetan Soni, but according to him, there are people whose lives are more difficult than that of his. As for that thought, he is a physiotherapist helping people with their problems, and also provides free service for the poor who cannot afford to go to big doctors. This is his generosity that makes him a shining bright in the list of renowned doctors.

Dr. Chetan Soni was born on 30th of November, 1976 in a small town named Adipur in Kutch district of Gujarat state of India. At a tender age of three months he was diagnosed with blindness due to a disease known as "Retinitis Pimentos".

This was a big blow to his family but they took it as a challenge and did everything possible to get his vision back. "When the doctors explained that the disease was incurable and has no treatment available anywhere in the world my family decided to make me a productive, responsible and respectable member of the society and encouraged me to achieve my goal," he recalls.

He was admitted in a special school with facilities such as resources to learn Braille (a system of reading and writing for the blind with raised dots). Later on, he joined the school where almost all the students were sighted. With the cooperation, support and encouragement of his family, teachers and friends he completed his high school education up to 10th Std and went to Ahmedabad for a certificate course in physiotherapy conducted by an institute named "Blind Men's Association (now known as Blind People's Association)". Since his school days he was keenly interested in science, and medical science, in particular. Moreover, he was an enthusiast by nature and always loved to face the challenges and wished to take part in the process of relieving the mankind from the sufferings caused by various diseases and health problems. This led him to choose physiotherapy as academic qualification and profession.

"I am also interested in music since my early childhood. However, this has been my hobby and I did not wish to opt it as a career," says the courageous doctor.

He completed the "Certificate in Physiotherapy" course with distinction and was awarded a gold medal for the same in 1997. Then, he joined a physiotherapy clinic owned by a renowned physiotherapist at Ahmedabad and worked for about a year and a half.

In October 1998, he started practising at his own clinic at Ahmedabad where he won the confidence of his patients by providing the best possible treatment to their satisfaction. "I and my clinic gained popularity and fame but I decided to settle at my native district Kutch after my father retired from his job in F. C. I. and we came to Gandhidham in the year 2001. I started my practice at my clinic from March 2001 and I am continuing the same," he said as a proud person contented with God's blessings over him.
blindness cannot stop a visionary,challenge
He also completed a one year diploma course in physiotherapy which was conducted by "Baba Saheb Ambedkar Open University" situated at Ahmedabad in 2006. This "Diploma In Physiotherapy" course is an extension of the above mentioned certificate course. Meanwhile, he also completed the "Sangeet Visharad" course in the Indian classical music.

"I did face many ups and downs during my practice but I believe in dedication to the task I perform, firm determination and patient centered approach; and these have led me to overcome all the obstacles and succeed."

Also, he uses a computer to perform tasks such as reading and writing, maintaining his patient's record etc., with the help of a screen reading software which converts the text in to speech. Multilingual word processing software with a built-in speech synthesizer was developed by IIT, Chennai and was distributed during a training by an institute named "Vidya Vriksha". He visited the institute and received the training and the software, with the help of which he provides written instructions to his patients even in Hindi and Gujarati. He also updates his knowledge of physiotherapy by reading books and through internet. "I use similar technology to operate my mobile phone and like every normal person I use it to my ease. With a victorious voice, he alerts us that no one in this world is less capable.
"At the very beginning, when I worked under a physiotherapist, patients did express their doubts about my ability to treat them being a blind person. A well-known physiotherapist explained about my academic achievements and convinced the patients to try me."

His treatment did wash away all their fears and doubts. Later, his patients never let him feel that he couldn't see or treat them as efficiently and effectively as his sighted counterparts.

"At present, patients are referred to me by doctors as well as other patients. This puts on me the responsibility towards the society. I could achieve nothing without the co-operation of the society of which I am a part of," he says gratefully.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 17th June 2014.

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