CADRRE in Kerala capital upload short videos to create awareness about autism
In 29 videos, mother and father of youngsters on the autism spectrum converse about the journey with their baby
“The next time we talk to parents who are raising children with autism, let us be more kind in our use of words, and remember to encourage, motivate and validate their efforts,” says Sulekha AK, mom of 17-year-old Ruywada.
“If a child has a problem, let us accept that and stop keeping it a secret from others. Instead of worrying about how they will live after us, let us teach them to be capable of handling themselves,” says Sabitha, mom of five-year-old Neeharika.
“She is autistic and talks, many people are unable to believe [that]. This shows an inclusive ambience can make a difference in our children,” says Rajeev Kamath, father of 33-year-old Pratibha Kamath, a sitar participant.
Coming from totally different walks of life, these mother and father of youngsters on the autism spectrum spoke about the journey with their baby in short videos uploaded by The Center for Autism and different Disabilities Rehabilitation Research and Education (CADRRE), Thiruvananthapuram, to mark Autism Awareness Month in April.
Candid and pragmatic, the 29 uploaded videos contact upon totally different points of mentioning an autistic baby. They are aimed toward supporting mother and father with particular kids and elevating awareness. “Every year we observe Autism Awareness Day on April 2. From April 2 to 30, there is an activity or session to create awareness about autism,” says G Vijayaraghavan, honorary director of CADRRE.
For 2021, Radhika SB, government, communications at CADRRE, advised short videos of oldsters speaking about mentioning a baby on the autism spectrum — the challenges, parenting hacks, coaching, societal acceptance, education, and so forth.
“I was never sure how a parent of an autistic child would react to questions about their child. It is a sensitive subject. That is why I thought it would be best to have the parents themselves talking about what they expect from society, peers, family and friends,” says Radhika.
Lekshmi Nair, principal adviser, CADRRE, factors out that some mother and father do discover it troublesome to settle for their baby is autistic, initially. And so step one is acceptance; the following step is to learn how finest you possibly can assist your baby. So, workers members of CADRRE select mother and father who had been keen to share their expertise with viewers.“I have learnt that there is more acceptance when parents of a special child themselves talk about how they help their child. For instance, my daughters are hearing-challenged, and parents listen to me when I talk about opening up opportunities for these children,” explains Vijayaraghavan.
So Lekshmi and Malini G Unnithan, centre coordinator at CADRRE, selected mother and father with kids in totally different age teams and with numerous ranges of skills. “Some are parents of students at CADRRE, some have children who are role models for others on the spectrum, while some have gone on to become guiding lights by forming organisations, Facebook pages and support networks,” says Malini.
The mother and father converse about totally different points of taking care of a particular baby, their aspirations and issues. “They speak about family, siblings, extended families, peer groups, medical interventions, employment opportunities, rights of the child, his/her space… unknowingly covering several issues that families face when taking care of an autistic child,” says Lekshmi.
Empathy, not sympathy
The spotlight of each video is the mother and father’ candour. One of them, Reena Babu, remembers feeling heartbroken when her daughter was identified with autism on the age of two. She touches on the monetary, emotional and social toll it takes to carry up a particular baby, and the way she determined to see each step as an journey and refused to be overwhelmed by it.
In the case of Hari Gopal NS, a resident of Thiruvananthapuram, he remembers the difficulties he and his spouse confronted when taking their son Srihari to public locations and gatherings. “Extremely sensitive to certain sounds, he gets easily irritated by some noises. He would start making noises to drown out that sound. We had to make our relatives and friends understand things from Srihari’s perspective,” he says.
Hari hopes the videos will assist viewers higher perceive the world of youngsters with autism, including that the inspirational videos give hope to mother and father. “Parents talk about children who are holding jobs, pursuing the arts and earning an income. A lot of patience is needed when taking care of a child with autism, and we want empathy — not sympathy — from society at large,” he says.
Rajeev shares with viewers how peer acceptance helped his non-verbal daughter Prathibha flip right into a chatterbox. “Each autistic child is unique. Their challenges and abilities are different. There can’t be one formula for every child,” he says.
The lockdown has been a interval of nice challenges for caregivers of younger kids on the autism spectrum, as a lot of them take time to get used to new routines. “Earlier, trainers used to teach our children. Now, since it is all online, trainers include parents in the therapy sessions and we have to teach the child. We are coping well now,” Hari provides.
Ruywada, in the meantime, started a Facebook web page, Thumbi by Ruwi, through the lockdown to promote her handmade merchandise equivalent to fridge magnets, bangle holders, key-holders and so forth.
As the mother and father assert in the videos, society has to develop into inclusive to settle for and embrace folks on the autism spectrum to assist them blossom and dwell their life to the complete.