Candid with Anbudan Autism
Candid with Anbudan Autism
We are excited to bring to you this candid conversation with Mrs. Sakthi from Anubudan Autism. Mrs. Sakthi is the founder of the micro-blog “Anbudan Autism” on Instagram. Mrs. Sakthi talks about Autism, neurodiversity, and much more in her blogs. Read on for candid with Anbudan Autism. Let’s hear it in her own words.
“As a parent, we always want the best for our children. So, when we learn that something is not right, we start blaming ourselves.”
I am Sakthi, 31, Stay-at-Home Mom of 3 and founder of Anbudan Autism, an English/Tamil -micro-blog on Autism, Neurodiversity, and Inclusiveness. I am based in Singapore. My older daughter was diagnosed with Autism in 2019. I had heard of autism earlier. I had never experienced it up close. This is until I saw it in my daughter. Initially, I felt devastated. As a parent, we always want the best for our children. So, when we learn that something is not right, we start blaming ourselves. I blamed myself for a long-time. looked for ways to ‘cure’ her.
“I learn new things every day about how life is different for Autistics, beyond just therapies and diagnostics.”
The more I researched and read on online forums from other autistic adults who have been put through the same process of ‘cures’. I learn new things every day about how life is different for Autistics. Especially beyond therapies and diagnostics. I asked myself, do I really want to put my daughter through all that to make her ‘normal’? All she needs is some help to navigate this world! Because the way she experiences it is different. Sometimes, the expectations that we have for our children are what lead to disappointment and unhappiness. Once I decided to let my child lead the way and meet her needs. I realized that both my child and I were happier. I now perceive autism not as a problem but as a neurodiverse condition. It just needs a different perception.
“We can build a better and more inclusive society”
I started Anbudan Autism in 2020 because there is a lot of misinformation. Additionally false ‘cures’ are touted for autism. Not many first-hand parents share their experience or knowledge. Especially in Tamil. So, I decided to share my journey through social media. This has allowed me to better support my own daughter and offer insight to other parents who may be new on the journey. With the changing of parents’ mindsets that Autism is not something to be feared, we can build a better and more inclusive society.
1) What is Anbudan Autism? What does it stand for?
Anbudan Autism is an InstaBlog to spread awareness about Autism, neurodiversity, and Inclusiveness. It stands for ‘Autism, with love. Because inclusiveness is based on a mutual love for everyone.
2) Why did you start this page? Why in Tamil?
After the initial diagnosis, the first thing I did was to look on the internet. After months of reading, I realized that the first information that I had received was totally misleading. A medical diagnosis looks at autism from the point of deficiencies. The outlook given is not so encouraging because it’s not so easily predictable. The social concept of neurodiversity embraces autism. And other mental health conditions as a spectrum of conditions that make us unique. It likens neurology to be different just like we are physically different. I wanted to build awareness. This is because that is the first step to building acceptance. Only with acceptance can the neurodiverse receive the support that they need to thrive in this world.
Tamil resources from the point of view of a parent were rare. Further, so far I have only come across one blog in Tamil.
3) What are some challenges parents face?
- The first thing parents face is the realization that their whole life has just been overturned by this diagnosis. Theirs and their child’s life is going to be tremendously different. And difficult from what they have imagined. Navigating every scenario requires a lot of forethought. Decisions cannot be taken on the fly. They have to put the child’s needs first.
- They feel lonely because they feel disconnected from other parents whose journeys are totally different. Therefore, getting the right information to navigate the system. And understanding their child’s needs takes a lot of time. Only after they have gotten to a level of understanding can they move to accept their child fully.
- The biggest hindrance to reaching acceptance is the mental block that their child is going to be a burden to society. The thought that after they are gone, the needs of the child may not be fulfilled is their biggest worry.
- Guilt. – for putting the needs of the neurodiverse child above anything else, for being unable to manage the emotions in times of stress
4) How can we as a society learn to be more inclusive?
- Personally prefer ‘Autistic’ over ‘person with autism’
- Identity-first rather than person-first because Autism cannot be dissociated
- Further, functioning labels are not so useful in identifying the person. Especially their strengths and weaknesses. In other words, autistics have different triggers. The same person may react differently under different circumstances
- Disability is not a choice.
- Inclusiveness- Offering the same opportunity to everyone regardless of disability. How can you make facilities more accessible?
- Parents: you are not alone. Help is always near, just ask for it.
- Generally: Don’t have any preconceived notions. Each individual has their own strengths and weaknesses. So, focus on that rather than the diagnosis.
5) As a parent/caregiver of a child with autism, how do you take care of yourself?
- Be kind and forgiving with myself if I have not been the ideal parent. Also, the hardest thing to do is manage my own emotions. So meditation and yoga occasionally if I feel I am anxious.