I am Smrithy, born and brought up in a village in Kerala. I completed my post-graduation in Mathematics and was working as a lecturer. After marriage I shifted to Bangalore with my husband. I was enjoying my life as a housewife. When my younger son diagnosed with autism, I decided to do a course in Special Education in Autism and now work as a Special Educator to assist children with autism.
INTRODUCING MY SPOUSEMy husband, Rajesh is an engineer and he is working for a software company. He is my best friend and a loving and caring husband. He is a loving and responsible father. He is always calm and provide me great support.
HOW MANY KIDS DO I HAVE?We are blessed with two children, Adhithya who is 12 year old studying in seventh standard and Advaith who is 9 year old and diagnosed with Autism.
The bond between my kids is my greatest blessing. During my course, I did my dissertation on ‘Understanding sibling’s thoughts about Autism’. This helped me a lot to build a deep bond between my sons. They are the best of friends and always together.
WHAT DO WE DO FOR FUN?My family is my world and we always enjoy ourselves together with lots of outings, long drive, visit to resorts, malls, amusement parks, various restaurants and indulging in many outdoor activities.
WHO IS THE STRICT PARENT?
Both of us are friendly with our kids and not strict. All the same, I set rules to ensure better learning for them and independent life skills. At home we discuss everything with each other and take decisions mutually for every activity that we plan. All of us follow similar methods. While my husband is busy at work during weekdays, he manages activities with Advaith during weekends, thereby giving me a break from my daily schedule. Adhithya is a responsible child and a loving, caring brother.
WHY IS MY SPECIAL NEED CHILD SO SPECIAL TO THE FAMILY?
Both Advaith and Adhithya are special to us. Advaith is a very loving child and always our pet. Adhithya is a brilliant student and is excellent at music as well. I am trying my best to ensure that he achieves greater success in future. In Advaith’s case, the three of us work together. Both of them are special to us and they are blessed with different skills. Advaith is very good at sports activities like Skating, Swimming, Cycling, Basketball and Horse Riding.
WHAT ARE OUR CHALLENGES?
When Advaith was diagnosed with Autism, I felt depressed and was unable to accept it. Everyone tried to find fault with me, even accusing me of bad parenting and ascribing his behaviour to it. That was the biggest challenge that I faced in my life. I myself wasn’t aware of autism and no one tried to understand me. Instead, the blame was pinned squarely on me. Comparisons to his peers were being constantly made and everyone pointed to the oddity in his behaviours. In the midst of all these negative energy that was thus generated, I suffered from severe depression. This created more issues for my younger son. At every stage I faced a different set of challenges, but that was certainly the most difficult phase.
HOW DO WE OVERCOME THEM?
My husband always stood by me and we both decided to work together. He gave me all the moral support and encouraged me to learn about autism. I began to slowly accept reality and was able to understand the importance of early intervention. I learned driving and started therapies for my son. Under the able guidance of Dr. Preeja from Octave, I enrolled myself into a one year course in Special Education and got Advaith admitted to Bubbles Centre for Autism.
I divided my time equally between both kids. When I started working this way, my husband started supporting me a lot more. We decided to work together for our kids. With my husband’s support I was able to successfully complete my course and that in turn helped us to understand our son better. Now I don’t try to “cure” Autism; I accept him and try to identify his strengths. So Advaith is more confident and improving in all areas of learning. We are a happy family, enjoying each moment of our Life.
My Favourite memory ….
We taught him skating at home during holidays and Advaith got a gold medal in a skating competition. He was very proud of his achievement and felt very confident. That moment was very special to me, when I saw the happiness in his eyes.
Communication is the major difficulty for ASD kids. I started with PECS and then moved to Avaz. Now Advaith is able to communicate for his food, feelings, toys, activities, rhymes and about himself using Avaz independently. I believe, that is the best thing I did for him.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gEclP5ueWc
What do I have to say to other families with special children?
My son was diagnosed with severe autism. After putting in lots of hard work consistently, he is now at mild to moderate autism as per the most recent assessment. Structure and visual schedule assisted in reducing his anxiety levels immensely. Instead of complaining about his hyperactivity, I thought of using his high-energy level to teach him skills like Skating, Cycling, Swimming, Basketball and Badminton. Now that he has mastered these skills, his confidence level is very high. Mothers are the best therapists and lots of love is the best method to handle kids with autism. Consistent work will give us amazing results. Consistency is the key to success. Be positive ….
I created a YouTube channel where I regularly upload videos in different areas of learning in order to help other families. I dedicate my channel to all parents of special needs kids.