Life Can be Bigger

When a child has a diagnosis we see a shift in the mindset – the family’s dreams and hopes shrink, and stereotypical past life experiences take center stage and disability becomes the nucleus. Navigating the maze of this new area of disability becomes the primary focus and somewhere the vision for the child gets blurred with the surrounding circumstances and disappointments. No doubt, sometimes the condition of the child also acts as a deterrent to the family’s capacity to see beyond the basic life activities. Yet, with just a few changes, life can change for the better.

The stories of two children on the autism spectrum are shared below. Their families had lost hope and faced difficult situations but eventually things got better with time.

Soumya was 5 years old. He was referred to the counselor with an advisory note of safety. He spoke using one or two words, stayed at home, and was known as “destroyer.” When the counselor proposed that he be admitted to a school, the parents reacted as if it was absurd. However, six months later and with support, the parents returned with a new story.

Soumya is now a student of the upper primary class in a government school. He is more vocal, confident, composed. He has two good friends at school, is doing well in academics, and is the school playground drummer! And who discovered his drumming talent? None other than the principal of the school. And what a transformation. Life just got bigger and better!

Rick1Rick started going to school at the age of 6 years. He goes to the local shopkeeper in his village and gets his favorite snacks. He goes out to the local playground in his village to play with other kids. Parents are proud of him as his academics are better than other kids at school. His English skills amaze many. Neighbors say this is a “new Rick.”

Things were a lot different a year back. He had social anxiety and stamped his feet continuously whenever things were not in accordance with him. He spoke rarely and mostly screamed. He looked at picture books and wrote alphabets in 3D design. His parents’ strong belief and support helped Rick get a life that is bigger and better. He is going to an English medium school, is exploring more, has more opportunities and is enjoying it. The world has opened up for him.Rick2

The best way to move forward in life is the typical way. Support and conditions need to be provided to continue on the typical path. Once on it, and with reasonable expectations from the person, competency and performance follow. Then they can feel and experience the change around them: change in people’s reactions, change in situations, improved confidence, enhanced self-identity, steady development, and improvement in their performance. And life just gets bigger.