Amit Ramkumar with the 'Guinness World Record for the largest magnet number' certificate. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A 13-year-old autistic boy studying in grade eight in Dubai has broken the Guinness World Record for the largest magnet number, by forming a 2D image of the number ‘44’ using 44,000 magnets.

Indian expat Amit Ramkumar is the son of Ramkumar Sarangapani and currently has 18 Guinness World Records to his credit.

Speaking about his son’s achievement, Sarangapani said: “The number 44 has a huge significance since as per the latest statistics from the USA, one in every 44 children being born is diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), which was 1 in 150 in the year 2000. This is a staggering increase of 340 per cent. By creating this world record my son is only trying to bring people’s attention to this fact and create widespread awareness.”

The 2D image of the number ‘44’ using 44,000 magnets. Image Credit: Supplied

He added: “April is celebrated worldwide as ‘Autism Acceptance Month’, and we thought it would be great to prove to the world that even an Autistic person can do wonders if the society provides the right opportunity. We are looking for more inclusivity, acceptance and understanding from the community so equal opportunities are given to everyone.”

The record was attempted at the Primus Private School, Dubai, where he is a student of Grade 8.

Sangeetha Ajesh, head of the SEN department at Amit’s school said: “School plays a major role in giving opportunities for the autistic kids, as these kids have difficulties in socialising with people and school is the only place where they can overcome such difficulties. Amit has been studying at Primus School since KG and the school has been supporting him throughout to overcome the learning barriers and dream big. Primus is proud of Amit’s achievement.”

Savant skill in memory

Amit’s mother Mahalakshmi Sankaran recalled: “Amit was diagnosed with Autism when he was 3. He being a single child, the world turned upside down for us when we found this, but we never gave up. He underwent ABA therapy for 8 years and continuous support from the school has made him achieve wonders.”

She added: “Amit possesses a rare Savant ability of extraordinary memory. In a split second he can say which dress his dad was wearing on a particular day when he was in grade 1. He knows all the birthdays of the people he came across in his life. His memory database already has 500+ birthdays and still expanding. Moreover, his memory skills are extended to many more activities.”

An autistic savant is someone with autism who also has a single extraordinary area of knowledge or ability.

Talking about savant skills, Sarangapani said: “Approximately, one in 10 people with ASD possesses savant skills. It is estimated that one in a million of the total population are Savants and almost half of them are autistic.”

Grateful to UAE

He further said: “UAE stands as an example for other counties when it comes to supporting people with autism. The government has set up autism centres in each Emirate and the Ministry of Community Development provides POD card for autistic people which comes with tons of benefits. They also introduced ‘The National Policy for Autism’ to support and empower persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their parents of all ages. We are happy to be living in a country which truly believes in creating an inclusive society.”

Meera Ramani, Founder of Behaviour Enrichment, a special education school based in Dubai, which has been part of Amit’s journey, added: “Autistic children face social and communication difficulties, but on the positive side, they are also unique and gifted. They rarely tell lies, strongly adhere to rules, are precise and detail-oriented, plus they don’t judge people, don’t have hidden agendas and are very passionate.”