This incident happened about two years back. We were on a road-trip from Delhi to Nainital and enroute we stopped to have chai at a small tea stall. While we had chai, the tea stall owner asked Gopan if Dhruv had any issues!
Gopan very candidly said yes; the tea stall owner sighed and said that his 12 year old daughter too had some issues!! He had taken her to many doctors, but sadly nothing had worked. She was going to school yet kept getting distracted and forgetting things a lot.
I heard him speak but said nothing as there was no way I could help him. I sensed his sadness and realised in that moment he was actually unburdening and connecting with Gopan, one parent to another.
I looked at Dhruv sitting peacefully on a chair and thought, yes, he has Autism but he is lucky we can provide him with therapy and the support he needs vis-à-vis that poor man’s daughter who would flounder through life as she would never get a diagnosis or the therapy/ intervention she obviously required.
The tea stall owner reiterated some important lessons.
First, however much you try to hide your child’s disability, people will observe it and there is no denying it. The tea stall owner was a simple villager, so he cut right to the chase and asked about it point blank, others would perhaps be more politically correct.
Second, despite being poor, the tea stall owner was quite progressive in his ideas and thoughts than many other parents I had met. He was actually trying his best to figure out how to help his daughter.
The most important thing for any child with a disability is acceptance by the parents that there is an issue and getting the right intervention for the child. Life is super tough for a child with any kind of disability and as parents, the best gift one can give such a child is unconditional love, positivity and acceptance, this goes a long way in building the child’s self-esteem and preparing him for the future.
I have friends in my social circle whose kids need intervention but the parents are either ignorant or turn a blind eye. Some do get an assessment for their child but then refuse to accept the diagnosis and live in denial, thus making it next to impossible for the child to progress while others try their best to hide their child’s Autism from friends and family, after all, one has to live in society, right? Another friend once attended a symposium on mental health and then was worried her social circle would find out and hence tried her level best to hide the fact.
I hope this post touches some of you and if something about your child does not seem right, you would deem it fit to get an assessment rather than ignore or hide it. I also hope that we accept our child just the way he is and work towards making him independent. Also, society is pretty much irrelevant, the people who really care will be there for you, no matter what!!! So, why bother with the people who don’t.
Disclaimer:- This is a personal blog and the views expressed are my personal thoughts and are not meant to offend anyone’s beliefs and sensibilities.