I was the chairman of one of our schools, Indus World School in Hyderabad, between 2006 and 2008. We were scouting for a principal and eventually narrowed down to one gentleman, lovingly called JP, a father figure, who had a strong grounding at JIDDU Krishnamurthy’s Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh. Since IWS has been envisioned as child-centric and learner-centric school, we co-opted JP to be the principal of the school.
Soon, we came to meet a young man into his 20s, JP’s son, who was very sharp in thinking yet child-like in behavior, at times seemed to be very adamant. We realized that he was autistic. He loved being with other children, and was very active too. JP, his wife and daughter took good care of this child-like young man. Our schools made sure that we follow inclusiveness and help such children to get integrated with the normal children. We succeeded in integrating quite a few children, with tender care.
This morning, I received a mail from one of batch-mates of class of 1996, IIM Bangalore, sharing his journey with Autism, when his family realized at the age of two, the condition of his child. The last five years have been a great challenge, and they are facing it with a great resolve, which made YASH write a book on how to face Autism, from the perspective of a dad! Here is his mail….
I have authored a book – yes, an actual book. A paperback.
Many times life throws a curve ball and we try to deal with it. My kid, now seven, fell into autism at age two. He is a lovely child. He was lovely and sociable before age two and is lovely now and getting there.
This is my story – from the eyes of a dad facing autism. This was something I was unprepared for in 2006, when autism came home to us. If you see one of the videos in the book, it shows my kid as a gregarious one year old in Singapore. He was the darling of all. All that changed in a short time. The last 5 years have been tumultuous for our family. Initially there was disbelief and heartbreak. Then of course, we started on the arduous task of getting him back on track. As usual, Vijnan, my dear friend, played his part in helping me.
To cut to the chase, I wrote this book primarily to pass on the guidance and help I received from various parents in similar situations. In some ways autism is worse than cancer. It strikes the young. It changes families. Then there are parents who have taken their kids totally off the spectrum using therapies and other techniques. I know of at least one kid who is now excelling in mainstream school. However, the spectrum is broad and something which helped one kid may not apply to another. That is the challenge thrown to parents. I cannot tell you how many times I have felt my brain exploding just thinking about what to do and how to do it..
It’s my heartfelt wish to get this book in the hands of all the fathers who feel powerless and unsure of what to do. It is neither a panacea nor intended thus. Even if it helps one kid through the parent, I will be glad. I am positive it will. We have come quite some way in our struggle to understand, accept and move forward with determination. I am waiting for the day when autism will be found, tried and exiled. Till then the kids need all the help they can get.
My work is available at Amazon.com, Amazon.in, Amazon.jp and across the world as “Autism and a dad”. It took me 4 years to write it with everything else that was going on.
Autism and a DAD, listed on AMAZON., the brief states…
The book explores the role of Dads as the focal point in the struggle over autism. Since most books are by mothers, I felt the need to write down my experiences as a father with a child on the spectrum and share the guidance received from other fathers.
Dealing with autism needs to be considered a race. Many times dads seem to think better on those lines – Something akin to the Iditarod in Alaska – A project to be embarked upon with the ultimate challenge to be not only completing the race but most important, planning for the milestones in advance. These are Insurance, Biomedicals, Special services and Therapy. Dads need to aim to get a coterie of important professionals around them early on and believe in them to avoid information overload in terms of therapies and biomedicals.
All of us are autistic. We differ only in degrees. It is difficult to tell at what point in our upbringing our caregivers should have intervened to broaden our vision. However, when we do see a young child of two struggling to make a connection, we cannot sit back and let nature take its course. We have to rise to the challenge nature has thrown to the child’s parents.
There are many aspects of dealing with autism. Running away from the problem is a way out. Why not take up the challenge instead, as for a long-playing activity. The benefits are too many to enumerate.
We all are with Yash and Neera in this challenging journey! God Bless !
(thanks to the www and the original creators of these beautiful quotes, that have embellished my post)