Gopika Kapoor, the author of well known books likeÂ Spiritual Parenting: Wisdom (and Wit) for Raising your Child in a Stress-free and Spiritual Environment, asks all the mommies to spend their time doing activities that they enjoy rather their following certain norms that restrict them to do so.
When my son Vir was diagnosed with autism at three, among my many worries and fearsÂ was how he would behave with people around him, and how they would be with him. BothÂ my husband and I have huge families and a large and varied circle of friends, and soÂ naturally, I was worried about how they would all react to him, especially when they heardÂ his diagnosis.
I started out being somewhat neurotic and paranoid (understandably so), then extremelyÂ defensive and ridiculously protective, till I have managed to reach a state of acceptance, andÂ even joy about the little manÂ he has grown to be, autism and all.
One of my worries was that I would get asked questions about whether Vir would turn out toÂ be like RainÂ Man, the only well-known portrayal of an autistic savant at the time, amazinglyÂ played by Dustin Hoffman. But most people with autism are not savants (individualsÂ withÂ autismÂ who have extraordinary skills not exhibited by most persons) like Hoffmanâ€™sÂ character was, and as the saying goes, â€œIf youâ€™ve met one person with autism, youâ€™ve metÂ one person with autismâ€_x009d_.
Fortunately, we have been blessed to have amazingly supportive family and friends, butÂ there was the stray case of the neighbour who would invite all the other kids to her place forÂ pizza while excluding my two, or the mom who told her son not to play with Vir, that too whileÂ I was watching. Did my heart break? Of course it did, but I brushed these episodes under theÂ carpet, and where and when people showed even the slightest inclination, tried to enlightenÂ them about what autism is and what it means for kids like Vir to be living with it.
Which is why I was thrilled when all of Facebook was agog over the news that the popularÂ kidsâ€™ show Sesame Street had introduced a new character this season â€“ a little girl calledÂ Julia, with autism. And to get the world to embrace Julia and autism, theyâ€™ve launched aÂ storybook, a series of flash cards, and short but insightful video stories of several kids withÂ autism, told from the perspective of parents, siblings and friends.
As with everything new that is launched in the world today, this too has its fair share ofÂ detractors, from people writing on the Sesame Street website saying that they wanted to seeÂ something for autistic adults, to one momâ€™s rant on how none of the kids is being â€œabeledâ€_x009d_ byÂ giving them a voice to talk about their own condition.
Image Source:Â eisforerin.com
How do I see it? This is a resource that addresses kids by using a medium andÂ speaking a language they understand. I havenâ€™t seen anything like this in India, except for aÂ short-lived TV series called â€˜Aapki Antaraâ€™, which included a child with autism in a convolutedÂ family drama. With the introduction of Julia, I see this as one more step towards education,Â one more towards acceptance, one more towards inclusion. And that is why, I think Juliaâ€™sÂ presence on Sesame Street is just â€˜au-someâ€™!
Image Source:Â www.healthaim.com