Spectrum of Hope – Vaanya
Spectrum of Hope – Vaanya
We are very excited to present this amazing interview with Mrs. Keerthana. She is an Autism advocate and a loving mother of an exceptional daughter. Mrs. Keerthana shares her unique neurodivergent life with her daughter Vaanya. We bring to you this story of spectrum of hope – Vaanya in her mother’s own words.
Be that parent to love your child unconditionally, because love might not come easy to them!
Being a mother in India is tough… You are constantly judged, questioned, and suggested about how to be the right mother for your child.
Now… Imagine being a special needs mother in the same “India”. Shaming you is not enough. Now the child will be shamed too.
“Your child will be excluded and you will be avoided.”
Be that friend to enjoy their life with because they strive for a company just like all of us!
After fighting with ignorance and lack of awareness, in my own societal circle, I got my daughter Vaanya clinically diagnosed at the age of 2.5 years. I always knew there was something amiss with her. And it was neither her upbringing, nor her horoscope.
Vaanya was diagnosed to be on the Autism spectrum.
Autism Spectrum Disorder refers to a broad range of neurological conditions characterized by challenges with social communication skills and repetitive or restrictive behaviors or thinking.
Every child on the autism spectrum is very different from the others. Vaanya is a verbal child but cannot communicate, which means she can’t use her speech to communicate her needs or feelings. She sings in five different languages and yet asking me for a cup of water has still been a difficult task for her.
Though she is constantly overwhelmed by the whirlpool of sensations inside her body caused by sensory processing disorder and struggles to communicate her needs and feelings, she never ever gives up and rises like a warrior every single day to triumph. To face our demands and to learn to survive in a world not designed for them is not an easy feat. It is that relentless spirit the whole world can learn from.
The initial days following her diagnosis were really tough. It broke me inside and crippled my heart. Not that she was “Autistic”. But the fact that I couldn’t reach her. She was trapped inside this body. Neither could we understand her world nor did she have any clue about ours… When similar parents around me were running around finding cures for autism, I was striving to find a connection with my child…
Only when I could let all those ideas behind me could I actually embrace my child for exactly who she was and connect with her.
And I did. I finally did… It was a slow process. But it was the biggest unlearning journey I ever experienced. Unlearning everything, I was taught about parenting or about living life in general. Only when I could let all those ideas behind me could I actually embrace my child for exactly who she was and connect with her. And it was just magical. To be able to see those smiles on her face again. To be able to provide her with a safe space. That was the biggest milestone for us in our parenting journey…
This wouldn’t have been possible without listening to the actually autistic community who helped me understand the autistic experiences and what my child was feeling internally.
By knowing this I couldn’t erase her struggles I could definitely give her the much-needed support and more than anything the ACCEPTANCE that she is wonderful however she is…
This journey of parenting a disabled child wasn’t the easiest. It’s like a roller coaster ride of emotions and adaptations. Giving up on a life we had imagined in our head about how family and future would look. To accept the new reality…
But the reality is just different.
It’s not bad or less…
It’s just different…
Be that advocate your child needs to fight against society and grow to their fullest potential against all misconceptions!
Every day we learn so much from our daughter about perseverance, patience, and the joy in little things that we have started embracing this different life of ours….
The whole world is talking about therapies and prognosis and development, but there are rare conversations about our disabled children’s mental health, well-being, and autonomy. This is exactly what I wanted more people to be aware of and conscious of through my blogs. I want more and more parents to find acceptance towards their autistic children and see them for the beautiful souls they are.
Our children’s disability is already making their life much more challenging. Parents and society are both unknowingly making it even more difficult by snatching away all privileges a typically developing peer easily enjoys.
Our children are constantly instructed, restricted and directed in the name of therapies by careers. And society rubs isolation on their face through their discrimination and ignorant judgments.
I believe strongly that it’s not success in life that matters but the happiness in our hearts and soul that makes this journey called life so worth it.
So, though the world is filled with parents forcing their autistic children to be normal. Therapists that show off their success rates, I only hope to make my daughter a happy and peaceful person. Because…
There is absolutely no learning or success without HAPPINESS!
Please drop us a comment if you liked this Spectrum of Hope – Vaanya story!