Author Gopika Kapoor in Conversation with 1SpecialPlace

Author Gopika Kapoor in Conversation with 1SpecialPlace

Picture credit: Ms. Gopika Kapoor

Beyond the Blue: Love, Life, and Autism (https://www.amazon.in/Beyond-Blue-Love-Life-Autism/dp/1636697186) is an inspiring book written by Ms. Gopika Kapoor. Ms. Kapoor is an author, Autism consultant, and a mother to a son with Autism. Ms. Kapoor was awarded the Young FCCI Ladies Organization (YFLO) Woman Achievers Award for her brilliant writing. In this book, she takes her readers on an amazing journey of discovering Autism through her personal life experiences with her son Mr. Vir. Through her book, she aims to inspire, spread the message of hope and positivity for everyone who’s embarked on their journey with Autism.

 

 

 

 

Picture: Author Gopika Kapoor

Q. Please share with us your idea behind the book “Beyond the Blue”

The idea of Beyond the Blue came to me at many different stages in my journey. Starting out as the mother of a child newly diagnosed with autism at the age of three, I was eager to read about the experiences of Indian parents living with the condition. To my disappointment, I didn’t find a single book written from an Indian perspective; everything was written by people from the West, mostly the US and UK, which was useful for me to get information, but there was nothing I could relate to.

Cut to many years later, when I was working as an autism interventionist at Ummeed, by then I was comfortable sharing my son’s diagnosis, and was asked to write an article for the Mumbai mirror for World Autism Awareness Day (April 2nd). I sent in a piece, but the journalist decided to add to it, and one day, a huge article appeared in the paper, with me and my son Vir smiling out at the world. There was a tremendous response to the article, and our story seemed to have inspired many, because for weeks after its publication, I got phone calls, emails, and messages from parents saying that it had given them a lot of strength.

All this made me think that I had more that I could offer parents – I had worked with children on the spectrum and their families for 10 years, and I was also a parent. I was also at a stage of acceptance with regards to the diagnosis, and also wanted to help other parents feel positive and empowered to help their children. That is how Beyond the Blue was born.

Q. How did your personal experience help you in writing “Beyond the Blue”?

Having lived with autism in my family, in my house gave me a unique perspective on the condition, different from any researcher, doctor, or therapist. As I wrote, a lot of my emotions just came out and I was able to express myself with absolute honesty. Almost everybody who has read the book has told me that it is very raw and honest and that I have been so candid about my emotions. At the same time, a lot of people have also said that I have explained the concepts of autism, therapy, behavior, and communication very clearly and simply, which makes it easy for even a layperson to understand the condition. So, I think having professional experience, as well as a person living experience with the condition, helped with the writing.

Q. What is the message you wish to convey to the readers of “Beyond the Blue”?

The main message I would like to convey through Beyond the Blue is to never underestimate the potential of an individual with a difference – any difference. We all are capable of contributing meaningfully to society, including people on the spectrum. By underestimating them, we do not allow them to fulfill their potential, and that is doing a disservice to them. I also hope that after reading the book, people are a little bit kinder, accepting, and more inclusive to anyone with a difference.

Q. What is your favorite part about being Vir’s mother?

(I have to say that I love this question!)  Writing this book has been wonderful because in re-living our entire journey, I have fallen more deeply in love with my son and accepted him even more than I used to! My favorite part of being Vir’s mother is that we don’t have to always talk to each other. There are many times when we are sitting together in silence, but we are together. He is very restful to be around – there are no expectations, no pretenses, no roles that we have to play.  He is absolutely genuine and I love that about him.

Q. What would you wish to tell other caregivers?

I would like to tell parents of individuals with autism or any other developmental disability that they must prioritize self-care. By this I mean eating properly, getting enough fresh air, exercise, rest, and mental respite. This is important, as they will have to be present and look after their children for the rest of their lives, and so they need to make sure that they themselves have enough energy – mental and physical – to do this.

To contact Ms. Gopika Kapoor:

Website: https://gopikakapoor.com/

Instagram: @geeveekaay

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gopika-kapoor-61395981/

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Ayesha Anjum
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