Raising Children with Autism

“Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger. 

…. Finally, He passes a name to an angel and smiles, ‘Give her a handicapped child’. 
…. I will bless her with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realise it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a ‘spoken word’. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says ‘Momma’ for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!” ~ From ‘The Special Mother’ by Erma Bombeck (1927-1965)


Gifted Kids of Special Moms

Shubh – The High Skill Learner 

Shubh with his father Sanjeev, sister Riddhi and ‘Special Mom’ Namrata


“Like any expecting first-time mother, my husband Sanjeev Pathak and I enjoyed my pregnancy. Our ‘miracle’ arrived on 24th December 2007 at Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh. We marked that auspicious moment by naming him Shubh. His beautiful, glittery eyes were enticing, as we thankfully and joyously watched him reach each milestone so perfectly. It was after his first birthday, we noticed he was not reacting when we called his name. Next, he became hyperactive and his playing techniques were different from other children his age,” introduces Namrata. 

“In August 2009 our paediatrician diagnosed Shubh as being on the radar of Autism. We went into denial mode, were frightened, confused and uncertain. Soon, upon accepting reality, life became more manageable. We worried about his abilities, his future, his acceptance within the society, among his peers, and most importantly, questioned ourselves – would he ever become normal?” she adds. 

And continues, “We decided resolutely to focus on Shubh’s improvement, and not emphasise on, or heed to any negative thoughts about him from anyone. His shiny eyes, beautiful, innocent smiling face, childlike actions, enthused us to overcome the challenges ahead, to take a rock-solid step forward each day. His behaviour requires monitoring when he is in a new environment or meets strangers. I regulate his anxiety by preparing him in advance.” 

Physical activities with mobility entice Shubh. At four, he enrolled in skating classes to channel his hyperactive mode. Skating came naturally to him after a few weeks of regular practice. Moving to advanced classes, he competed with pro-senior skaters. Similarly, he mastered cycling skillfully and aced prizes in the South Delhi roller skating, cycling and interschool competitions since 2012 and continued regularly, except since the covid closure. 

Namrata stepped in to aid Shubh on the music front. “Two years ago, I enrolled myself at the Rhythm School of Music, New Delhi. Learnt instrumental music during online classes from Dev Paul, and in turn, trained Shubh. While he can sing, I started teaching him the keyboard by holding his fingers on the keys. Now he is the teacher – correcting me with the accurate tunes of Bollywood and Indian classic songs. Among his favourites are ‘Hai apna dil to awara’ and ‘Har karam apna karenge’. Shubh has performed in his school and at society functions.”    

Another skill set of the 13-year-old is his culinary expertise. Weekend family breakfasts comprise poha, pasta, upma, chole – and the tricky parathas skillfully prepared by him.

In his journey so far, Namrata says, “Shubh is not alone. We are together constantly learning from each other. We guide him with our limited knowledge, and he has always exceeded himself, giving more than his 100% to imbibe anything new and take on challenges. At Cambridge Secondary School, New Delhi, his report shows he is diligent and succeeds at academics.”

The mother describes her son as “the handsome boy with the infectious smile. A strong personality endowed with multiple talents. He is emotional, caring, playful, funny and a great brother to his sister Riddhi, and is extremely close to his Nani, Rama Bajpai”. 

“We have taken many baby steps together, celebrated Shubh’s smallest accomplishment and set new benchmarks for him daily. Our belief in him has made him believe in himself. It is not easy, but it is not impossible either,” concludes Namrata confidently. 

L -All set for a game of tennis
C – Shubh cooking for his family R – Proudly showing his certificate when he won the silver medal in roller skating

Contact:
Tel: Namrata Pathak: +91 95604 18570
Subh The Musical Master – Facebook Page

Subh The Musical Master – Youtube Channel


Amritansh – The Accelerated Artist

Amritansh sitting below colourful lanterns strung to celebrate Vesak Day the birth of Lord Buddha in South Korea


Amritansh was ‘methodically regimented’ while in the foetus. “My baby kick started a discipline for me to follow. I was ‘woken’ up early for my walks. Or kick-reminded to have my meals or to rest. And even leave the office at 6 pm sharp. Sometimes I would purposely delay my schedule to feel the kicks. It was our ‘communication’. Crazy me!’ On 5th July 2008 Amritansh was welcomed by the Singh Family as God’s Blessing,” reminisces Rohini Singh about her pregnancy.

“At about 18 months, during his routine vaccination, we noted a child his age communicating more than Amritansh did. Our paediatrician deduced he had autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Our world began to crumble,” reveals Rohini. 

Rohini, his prime custodian and caretaker, is supported by her husband Yadvender and Kanak Singh, Amritansh’s Nani. Initially, they went into denial, followed by reading up on ASD and finding people who could help. 

“When God gives a Special Child, it is to someone who can handle it. Erma Bombeck’s poem ‘The Special Mother’ sums it all up for me,” emphasises this mother. 

“We soon understood that it would be a marathon – not a sprint. With acceptance, our attitudes changed and little celebrations emanated. Soon we encountered unusual demands. He would wake me up at odd hours at night, wanting to be taken for a drive. He would scratch us or bang his head on the wall. Or rip paper into tiny pieces and hide the shreds in unexpected places! These were his ways of communicating or to bring peace back into his life,” expresses Rohini. 

“Now, at 13, his body is undergoing hormonal changes. Plus, with covid, all outings have stopped. The Principal of HDFC School in Gurugram asked us to take him out as his teachers were not able to manage him. I am sure an action like that is not permissible by the institution, but I did not want him to be in a place where he was not wanted. While aware that enforcing discipline is a priority, but not to confuse his already confused mind further, my favourite dialogue is – ‘I am his mother. Only I have the right to scold him’,” she justifies.  

Art has been the motivational changemaker in Amritansh’s life. From copying Rohini’s line drawings, he has graduated to colour and mixed medium. This young artist doesn’t follow the ‘hut-tree-flowers-river’ concept. Instead, his freestyle expressions become an alluring mystery of powerful, bold strokes and brilliant mergers of unconventional colours. A few sales through word-of-mouth and group exhibitions have happened, while a solo debut is in the pipeline.

As an avid globetrotter, Amritansh has benefitted positively from his trips to UK, Turkey, Dubai, China, Hong Kong and South Korea – where Rohini spent four years working and studying for her master’s degree in Korean modern history. 

Rohini lovingly sums up her son as, “My Guru. At times his comprehension is totally uncanny – beyond the expected. That makes me doubt the extent of his ASD diagnosis. His birthday is my birthday as a mom. What I am still longing to hear, is his first word – Mummy/Mom.” 

L: Amritansh with his ‘Special Mom’ Rohini Singh C: Amritansh in Seoul, 2018, with a statue of Padmapani (lotus bearer) also the Bodhisattva of Compassion, in the background R: Amritansh with his father, Yadvender Singh, in a bazaar in Istanbul
L: Daisies
C: Confidence
R: Night Fragrance

Contact: 
Tel: Rohini Singh: +91 99115 00307
Website: www.Amritansh.in


Amita Sarwal
Amita Sarwal

After an erratic 10-year practice as a homoeopathic doctor, Amita took to writing in 1973.  Her 45+ year career encompasses contributions to a very extensive gamut of magazines and newspapers- in India and abroad-on lifestyle, travel, architecture, personalities, book, and restaurant reviews, etc.  
During her 21 years based in Singapore, she was an Editor with the renowned publisher Editions Didier Millet and completed six pictorial encyclopedias on Indonesia and Malaysia among other coffee table books.  Her personal passion was writing ‘The spirit of SKV’- Chronicle of a Girls’ School to mark the Golden Jubliee (2006) of her alma mater Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya, Gwalior. Now Amita has an increasingly strong focus on featuring Changemakers/Unsung heroes of India who are helping make a difference to society-“because the world needs to know about their exemplary work.”  Yoga, social work to help the underprivileged, reading and collecting forms of Lord Ganesh also keep her busy.


Read more by Amita Sarwal


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Picture Credit: Namrata Pathak, Rohini Singh

20 thoughts on “Raising Children with Autism”

  1. Our wishes and prayers to Shubh and all of you may God shower blessings upon you..
    All the very best to kids and their parents

  2. Very well comprehended article…Good to see positive outcome of efforts of Gifted Children. Thx to all the platforms that support children to show their talent to the public.

  3. Beautiful inspiring real stories. Gives a feeling of hope and acceptance. God bless Amritansh and his beautiful family. I look forward to see him create more magic with his paint brush.

  4. This is a wonderful article and such stories needs to be published more often so that the acceptability and love towards these extremely talented and special kids increases all across the society…. They are a part of our society and have every right to be treated the way all children are…These stories once read by many will make more and more people love these children and specially respect their fabulous parents!!

  5. Very nicely written article, shines a light on some beautiful minds. I have seen the paintings made by Amritansh and was very impressed with his talent and wish all the best to both these brilliant children.

  6. Rohini mother of Amritansh was herself a-bubbly child as a kid . Who could imagine her playing the role of a very responsible mother, not an ordinary mother but mother to a special child. Amritansh in no way appeared to be special until the age of eight except that he was too full of energy. I use to tell Rohini to take him out for maximum physical exercises. She did try that too. I find him to be too intelligent and thus use to call him CHATURI ie very intelligent.

  7. Yes, Amritansh is not only GURU for you…but this gifted creation of Almighty brought to being and nutured by his parents and grandparents is GURU for all of us…teaching us life can be as colorful as HIS CREATIONS…paintings… Our prayers for eternal love and blessings for HIM and his doting family….

    Commendable job by the author too to capture the moments of life of Amrit and his family in most beffing articulation

  8. A Beautifully Written Article.

    Helps us all to get an insight and understanding of all that goes on, their lives and struggles and triumphs .

    While not on the same scale , sharing below the two things that have been of help to us and worth getting skilled at and especially helpful in being able to stand up atleast admist our life’s myriad daily ups and downs :

    1) Repeating to self these four statements (for every situation, experience, perception, cognition, name, action, person, place, thing, state, object etc :

    It is not what it ought to be. It is what it ought to be . It is not what it is. It is what it is.

    *

    2) Just returning attention to the presence of the ability of breathing , just returning attention to the presence of the breath, just returning attention to the breath , just breathing …..

    A lovely whatsapp message (pasted below) helped remind us of this and helped to accept and be home to this ever available ever present gift of this gift :

    ” my brain and
    heart divorced

    a decade ago

    over who was
    to blame about
    how big of a mess
    I have become

    eventually,
    they couldn’t be
    in the same room
    with each other

    now my head and heart
    share custody of me

    I stay with my brain
    during the week

    and my heart
    gets me on weekends

    they never speak to one another

    – instead, they give me
    the same note to pass
    to each other every week

    and their notes they
    send to one another always
    says the same thing:

    “This is all your fault”

    on Sundays
    my heart complains
    about how my
    head has let me down
    in the past

    and on Wednesday
    my head lists all
    of the times my
    heart has screwed
    things up for me
    in the future

    they blame each
    other for the
    state of my life

    there’s been a lot
    of yelling – and crying

    so,

    lately, I’ve been
    spending a lot of
    time with my gut

    who serves as my
    unofficial therapist

    most nights, I sneak out of the
    window in my ribcage

    and slide down my spine
    and collapse on my
    gut’s plush leather chair
    that’s always open for me

    ~ and I just sit sit sit sit
    until the sun comes up

    last evening,
    my gut asked me
    if I was having a hard
    time being caught
    between my heart
    and my head

    I nodded

    I said I didn’t know
    if I could live with
    either of them anymore

    “my heart is always sad about
    something that happened yesterday
    while my head is always worried
    about something that may happen tomorrow,”
    I lamented

    my gut squeezed my hand

    “I just can’t live with
    my mistakes of the past
    or my anxiety about the future,”
    I sighed

    my gut smiled and said:

    “in that case,
    you should
    go stay with your
    lungs for a while,”

    I was confused
    – the look on my face gave it away

    “if you are exhausted about
    your heart’s obsession with
    the fixed past and your mind’s focus
    on the uncertain future

    your lungs are the perfect place for you

    there is no yesterday in your lungs
    there is no tomorrow there either

    there is only now
    there is only inhale
    there is only exhale
    there is only this moment

    there is only breath

    and in that breath
    you can rest while your
    heart and head work
    their relationship out.”

    this morning,
    while my brain
    was busy reading
    tea leaves

    and while my
    heart was staring
    at old photographs

    I packed a little
    bag and walked
    to the door of
    my lungs

    before I could even knock
    she opened the door
    with a smile and as
    a gust of air embraced me
    she said

    “what took you so long?”

    ~ john roedel (johnroedel.com)

    ☝️as Copied from a forward on Whatapp.

  9. The inspiring article is very sensitively written. It fills one with a gush of love & warmth for these gifted children, & admiration & great respect for the parents nurturing Shubh & Amritansh to realise their potential so lovingly.

  10. Don’t Be Afraid of all d failures u have face .The experience gained by them r going to take u a long way.Good luck! All d best Shubh. Do ur best.

  11. A beautifully written article. I have the pleasure to know Ms Rohini, as we used to work in the same company, in early 2000’s. I also know the hard work, the effort , the sacrifices she has made to raise Amritansh and now we can see how those efforts and the hard work is paying off. This is just the beginning. I truly wish and hope, that both the duo of mother and son further reaches new height every single moment and that even the sky should not be the limit. Wish Rohini and Amritansh all the very best !!!

  12. Congratulations to the amazing son n mother duo. Appreciate Rohini for her meticulous planning n patience in bringing up Amritansh. Amritansh has an exemplary eyes for colour coordination n angelic imagination. Wish him the best always.

  13. Excellent article !! It was a pleasure reading such a lovely article. Rohini is an awesome person with a golden 💖
    Congratulations ! stay blessed Amritansh ❤️

  14. A very well written article. It is encouraging both Shubh and Amritansh , especially their mothers and relatives. I know personally Rohini and her mother Kanak. They are doing a lot for their baby. it is no doubt hard work I wish both the kids reach new heights.

  15. The story and success of Amritansh and her mother was bound to happen. As far as I know, Rohini spent last decade of her life only for his son. Many salutes to her motherhood, efforts and never die attitude to identify and nurturing the talent of his son Amritansh is nothing but a child prodigy. Wish him good luck and remain blessed.

  16. An eye opener article for lot of people like me. Kudos to both the mothers, giving a new meaning to motherhoood.
    I wish God gives such strength to everyone. Hats off to all the families, specially Rohini & Kanak aunty (as I fondly call her) who are so beautifully managing everything. Stay blessed Amritansh.

  17. God bless all the special mothers. These children are here to teach us unconditional love. It might be difficult at times but it’s worthwhile. Ashirwad

  18. A very uplifting and inspiring article Amita … Being a mom with a special needs son myself, I can completely relate with the tumultuous, hard yet joyful journey that we are on with our kids. The benchmarks for happiness, successs and love change constantly as new realizations dawn. Amritaansh is an awesome kid and gifted artist. I have seen him grow up into a talented and active youngster. His grandparents are our neighbors and I know personally Rohini and her mom Kanakji are devoted and committed to him in every possible way and one can see the fruits of their hard work . Shubh’s prowress in the field of music, skating and cooking shows with positive support, encouragement and love from parents , teachers and friends nothing is impossible for our kids. They can lead fulfilling lives and give back to the society in more ways than one . The unconditional love and acceptance that only they how to give is a source of joy and wonder . God Bless them both🙏💕

  19. I personally know Amritansh & seen his paintings which reflect his inner world- so pure and honest. He is a sweet handsome boy who, besides mother Rohini is very attached to his Nani and enjoys her company so much. May God bless him and his caring parents.

  20. I being a witness to the growth of the child from layman to heman is top of the world.Needles to say that parents have nourished their child with utmost precision…Great art work from Amritansh displays his strength and attitude towards life personified.

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