Autism – Self-Awareness !! – A Guest Post from Radhika the Founder of BreatheYou

Autism Awareness in India
Autism Awareness in India

What And For Whom?
For The Public Around?
But What About The Ones At Home??

To Start With..Shall Like To Introduce My Younger Brother Darshin Who Has Been My Best Friend Since Last 20 Years!!
He Is Nonverbal ..Neither Does He Use Any Kind Of Sign- Language.
But The Person Closest To Me In This Whole World Is Him.
I Can Talk To Him For Hours..I Cry In Front Of Him..
I Tell Him All My Secrets..All My Friends & Family Come Way After Him.
That Great Is Our Bond.
I Can Understand Each And Everything He Feels.
He Is My Adorable Brother With An Abnormal Sister Who Could Have Been Just Nothing Without Him.

Being A Parent And A Best Friend To Him..And Having Met So Many People Of The Spectrum For So Many Years,
What I Found Is That We Parents Ourselves Our Limiting Our Own Child’s Growth !

Why Is Autism / Autistic Traits Always Taken In A Wrong Manner?
Maybe What They Go Through And What They Are Capable Of Is Way Beyond Your Imagination.

You Know What Is Autism But You Are Not Aware About The Reality And The Fun To Be Around Some One With An Autistic Character!!
Did Not Get What I Mean??

We Need To Create Awareness Among People About Autism..Admitted!!
But Why Is Autism Taken As Their Sole Introduction??

It Is Just A Character Of that Being!
It Is Just A Part Of Him!!
When We Try And Introduce Autism ..Why Is Always The Negative Part Focused Upon?

Today, In The Last Days Of The Autism Awareness Month,I Come Forward With The Things I Wish Every Parent Of Someone With Autism Gets Aware Of!!

1] Respect Your Child.
Only If You Respect Your Child ,Will Others Respect Him .
Keep His Position At The Top Of Everything.
We Are So Much Used To Underestimate Our Kids In A Default Manner,
That We Ourselves Don’t Give Them A Chance To Prove Themselves.
If You Won’t Then Who Else Will??
And Please Stop Guiding Him Everytime In Everything.
Just Let Him Be What He Is.
Nobody Likes A Constant Guidance.
Give Him Some Space And Respect His Rights.

2] Let Them Socialize Their Way !
The Biggest Problem Here Is That We Parents Do Not Consider Socializing To Be A Part Of Them.
Who Said So?
Every Part Of Us Is Different.
And The Autism Spectrum Being So Broad,
No One Thing Can Be Related As Common.
If He Does Not Like It, Then Please Don’t.
But Otherwise,
Take Them Out,
Let Them Be What They Are.
Let Him Meet People In Whichever Way He Is Comfortable.
My Brother Darshin Has The Habit Of Holding The Hand Of The Person He Meets.
It Is Wrong, But If He Is Comfortable And His Only Way Of Relating To Anybody Is This,Then Let It Be.
If the Person Is Good And Understanding,He Shall Understand.
And If Not, Then He Is Not Worth It!
Yes , He Should Not Harm Anybody..
If He Does By Mistake , Politely Tell Him, He Will Understand!
But Please Do Not Limit Your Child’s Development Because Of Such Traits.
If Done With A Right Intention, Nothing Can Be Wrong !

3] Know When To Ignore!
You Shall Meet Various Sorts Of People Where It’s You Who Need To Learn As To When And Whom You Need To Ignore In Life .
You Need To Prioritize The People In Your Life.
You Would Find A Hell Lot Of Abnormal People Around Who Would Take Your Kid As Being Abnormal.
Please Don’t Let Any Of Their Remarks Affect You.
Learn To IGNORE.
Will You Do So, Will Your Child Get The Power To Trust And Believe Himself .

4] Involve Them In Everything !
Ohh Wow! You Have Guests Coming Home Today.
Rather Then Being Perplexed About How He Would Behave,
Tell .. Talk To Him!!
Who Said He Doesn’t Understand.
If Yes, Then Maybe You Need To Increase Your Understanding.
Introduce Him To The Guests..Involve Him In The Talks.
Darshin Is Fond Of Sitting Exactly Besides The Guest.
We Take It Casually, So The Guest Takes It That Way Too.
It Is All Upon You.

You Are The Pillar Of Your Child’s Precious Life.

Remember This..Autism Is Not A Disease And Just A Part Of Him!
Respect And Show Immense Love To Them..Never Limit Them From Anything They Do!!
And Trust Me..They Shall Outshine You In The Way You Would Never Have Thought Possible!!

You can read Radhika’s original post here.

A Peak Into Darshin’s Life

Autism :- Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior.

Thank God We Could Not Find Out This Definition Then In Google!!

In 1996 , On The 21st Of February , He Was Born !!
Introducing Our Family First.
It Comprises Of Our 90 year Old Grandfather , Mom(Trupti Shah) , Dad (Bhadresh Shah) Who Is Into Business
And We Three Siblings, Jitali (8 Years Elder) And Radhika ( Me- 5 Years Elder) To Darshin.
And Now Cause We Sisters Are Married , Our Husbands(Kartik And Shyam) Complete The Family.
And Let Me Introduce You To The Youngest Addition – Viara( Our Eldest Sister’s Daughter ) Who Is A Super – Huge Fan Of Him.

Autism Awareness - an Indian Family
Autism Awareness – an Indian Family
So Darshin Was Born And Being The Youngest Kid In The Family , Was The Heart Of All!
He Was A Very Cooperative Kid.
He Shall Do Whatever You Make Him Do Unlike The “Normal” Small Kids.
We Were All Very Happy,
Till When He Was 2 and a half years old.
A Friend Of My Moth
er Asked Her To Show Him To A Doctor As
He Was Not Behaving Normally!!
Maybe Because He Did Not Cry Or Run After Her When My Mother Left The House Or
And Yes, He Was Diagnosed Autistic !

Which In Layman’s Terms Was Taken As Mental Retardation!!
And Then The World Changed !!
Then The World Changed And So Did We !!

We Had Never Even Heard Of Something Like This..
So What The Common Phrase Comes Out Is Mental Retardation !!
Which Still Bothers Me.

Darshin Is Non-Verbal
His Daily Routine Is Waking Up In The Morning , Getting Ready With Assistance And Heading
For An Occupational Therapy Session For An Hour In The Morning Followed By A School Of 5
After Heading Home From School,
He Has Some Snacks And Spend Some Time With Mom Where She Talks
A Lot To Him.
Then Goes For A Walk In Our Society Followed By Dinner,
Spends Some Family Time And Then Goes Off To Bed.

Autism awarenes and the extended family
Autism awarenes and the extended family
For Us, He Is The Greatest Blessing Given To Just A Few Lucky Ones.
He Has Taught Us The Meaning Of Life.
It Is Now That We Can See The
Differences In Our Lives That He Has Made!!

So Today , Being The Luckiest Sibling ,Am Writing An Article Here Just Because I Want To
Change The Way Autism Is Projected !!

1] The Bond In Our Family Is Because Of Him .

We Are A Gujarati Family Living In India , The Bond That We Share Because Of Him Is In-explainable.

In Total, We Have A Huge Family Of 70 – 80 People,
But There Is Not A Single Person In The Whole Family Who Would Not Be Fond Of Him.
Even His 2 year Old Niece Would Literally Run After Him To Hug Him
You Can See The Care , The Love For Us All In His Eyes.
We Understand Each Other Just Too Much.
Love Does Not Need Words.
He Is The Heart Of Everyone.

2] Darshin’s Fan Club
He Is A Too Smart And Handsome Boy.
The Most Contagious Thing About Him Is His Smile.
Whatever The Thing Is , You Would Always Find Him With A Smile On His Face.
He Has The Habit Of Going For A Walk In Our Society Comprising Of Around 500 bungalows,
Everyone Around On The Walking Track Undoubtedly Greets Him
And Yes, Everyone Knows
Us As His Sibling.
If There Is A Party , And He Would Have Missed That,
Almost Everyone Would Have Complained For His Absence.

3] Acceptance On Darshin’s Part

Autistic Trait – They Do Not Accept Change.
Here Is The Problem.
You Do Not Tell Them What Is Going To Change.
Since A Long Time I’ve Known,
He Has Changed A Minimum Of 5 – 6 Schools And A Whole House And The Whole Community,
But He Has Adapted Everywhere Very Well.
If There Is A Change In His Routine,
He Accepts It If He Is Told That He Has To Do This Thing Today Instead Of That.
Who Said They Do Not Understand.
The Problem Is That We Are Not Understanding.

What If You Are Being Asked To Do A Lot Many Things Without Being Told Anything About It.
Maybe They Shall Beat You In The Chart Of Acceptance.

4] High Tolerance
If Something Hurts,
You Speak, I Tell,
He Doesn’t Utter A Word.
They Have The Highest Tolerance Of All Times.
Try Not To Speak For A Day.
You Will Salute Them.

Have Written This Biography On Him Just Because What I Am Today Is Because What He
Has Given Us In These 20 Years . Just To Keep It Short, Now That I Am Married For A Year Now, Just Can Not Tell How Much I
Miss Not Being Able To Meet Him Daily(Though We Manage To Meet Atleast Twice A Week).
And A Big Heartfelt Thanks To Our Parents To Let Him Nurture His Way And Always Respecting
Us. Trust Me, They Are Known To Be The Most Positive And Joyous Couple In Town.

Hats Off To The Two Of You Mom Dad.
I Have Always Seen Every Other Parent Complaint Something Or The Other About Their Kids,
But I’ve Never Seen My Parents Ever Loose Their Temper Even Upon Us.

So,Cheers To Us And Cheers To Every Other Autistic House,
Because It Is Just Us Who Know What The Others Are Missing!!

‘Tiny Rays of Hope’ – Art, Music and Animal-Assisted Therapy for Autism – a documentary by Isha Badoniya

66319-offWe are please to share with you a new documentary on autism by Isha Badoniya.

Badoniya writes “Mentally disabled children and animals. Two highly neglected and marginalized sections of our society. But are there ways in which hope is being rekindled in the lives of both these children and animals? Is there a way in which we could use animals to help children with special needs? How can art and music be used in therapeutic ways to add a healing touch to their lives?

‘Tiny Rays of Hope’ is a humble attempt to address these very curiosities. On one level, it’s a documentary that provides a comprehensive overview about Art, Music and Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) for children with special needs. But on a deeper level, it’s a documentary that celebrates life, seen through the eyes of these ‘special’ children, who lie at the heart of it.

A heartfelt thanks to the staff, children (and their parents) of Sri Sarada Math and Manas Healing Centre Indore, and the mental healthcare community in Indore, without whom, this documentary wouldn’t have come to life.”

If you have any questions for Ms Badoniya please use comments section below!

Celebrate National Blood Donor Month January 2016 – why not become a donor?

Why not make donating blood one of your New Year’s resolutions?

National Blood Donor Month
National Blood Donor Month

January is, as you may know, National Blood Donor Month. So we thought we would kick start 2016 but asking our readers to start giving blood if they do not already do so.

If you are based in the USA check out the Red Cross site here to book an appointment!

In the UK please go to the NHS Blood Donor site which you can find located here.

If you live in Canada please go here for more information. And in India this is a useful resource.

Those you you who live in Australia please see this site. Which is also run by the Red Cross.

For New Zealanders this site is a good port of call for blood donations.

I’ve only covered a few of the major English speaking sites here. If you would like to suggest others that would be brilliant. Please use the comments section below to add any links.

Many thanks in advance and can we wish you a happy and healthy 2016.

National Transplant Week 2014 – Why not become and organ donor? And how to register as an organ donor!

National Transplant Week 2014
National Transplant Week 2014
Next Monday sees the start of National Transplant Week. While UK based (at present) the aim of the week is to encourage people to donate their organs after their deaths.

Why should you do this?

Well perhaps the most obvious it that you can help people to live after your deaths. Indeed the US government suggest that you could help up to eight people! Not just is a life saved but in many cased the recipients of the organ will have considerable improvement in their quality of life.

At the same time the families of organ donors , very often, feel some respite from their grief knowing that their loved ones are helping other for many years after their passing.

So why not register as an organ donor today if you have not already done so. In the UK you can do it here.

To register in America please use this web site.

I have included links for Australia, New Zealand, India, Ireland, Canada, and South Africa.

Obviously there are many other useful links for these and other countries. Please feel free to share any which you think would be of use in the comments box below.

Finally, as you can see, we have a number of useful graphics which have been created for National Transplant Week. Would it be possible for you to share either then of the page so we can encourage as many people as possible to register as an organ donor.

Many thanks in advance.

I want to be an organ donor
I want to be an organ donor

“Autism at Work” – find out why SAP are recruiting people on the autistic spectrum.

Autism Spectrum Condition
Autism Spectrum Condition

I think I keep on mentioning this everytime I write a blog post about autism. Like every parent of child with autism I’m scared for their future. At times there seem to be more snakes than ladders out there. Relationships, living independently, healthy living and , of course, earning money to do any of these.

So I was fascinated then I read an article on the CDS website this morning by Michelle Miller entitled “Software company hires autistic adults for specialized skills”. The company in question is SAP who describe themselves on their web site as “the world leader in enterprise software and software-related services”. Now I have no idea what that means but it does sound, well, very grown up.

She writes that the idea of recruiting people with ASD “is the brainchild of Thorkil Sonne whose 17-year-old son Lars is autistic. He realized that while those with autism might lack the social skills recruiters are looking for, they possess many attributes high on their radar as well: intelligence and memory, the ability to see patterns and attention to detail on repetitive tasks.

“If we could use skills like I saw among people with autism in software testing, data analysis, quality control, that would be phenomenal,” Sonne said. “There is no reason why we should leave these people unemployed when they have so much talent and there are so many vacant jobs in the high tech sector.”

Interestingly the project has been rolled out at SAP Labs in Bangalore in India. SAP have put this fascinating video up on their website which includes an interview with a web browser testing who has been diagnosed with autism. You can watch it here.

From watching the video I had two big takeaways. Firstly the importance of both mentoring by the employer and the need for support from parents and other family members. Secondly the SAP are hoping that by 2020 1% of their global workforce with be on the autistic spectrum.

For SAP and its staff with autism it seems to be a win win. SAP get the untapped talents of the ASD community and the staff get rewarding (and paid) employment.

What is there not to like?

I’d like to throw the discussion open if I may and focus on ASD in the workplace. Please use the comments box to share your experience of “Autism at Work”. In particular it would be interesting if you thought about some of the following questions:-

a) What barriers do you think exist for people with autism to enter the workplace?
b) What support should companies provide specifically for people with ASD?
c) Have you had any experience of mentoring either giving or receiving?
d) Once employed is their a “glass ceiling” for people on the autistic spectrum at work?
e) What are your overall impressions of the SAP programme “Autism at Work”?

These are of course just a guide and I’m sure our readers are interested in any of your thoughts on the subject of “Autism at work”

Thanks very much in advance!

PS. A message for Thorkil Sonne. If you are in london I would be very happy to buy you a drink to say thanks for thinking up the programme.