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(New Delhi) “From the beginning we knew that something was different about our first born son. But we realised it with certainty when he started going to play-school in Gorakhpur. He was able to respond verbally to everything but he was not able to do well while writing. We were advised to take our son to Delhi as our town was not equipped to deal with such cases. It was a good decision since people around me in Gorakhpur constantly told me that my son was “mad” and it was emotionally very difficult for me to hear it. So we moved to Delhi permanently and started to consult one doctor after another; from there my son’s real struggle began.

He had squint eyes and problems in walking as well. He was treated by eye specialists and physiotherapists. He received help from psychologists and also received classes from a special tutor who taught him to hold a pencil. After a while, things started getting better and he started going to regular school. But when he reached class 5, he had a bad teacher who showed no patience with my son. My son became very quiet. When my husband and I tried to discus the matter with the teacher, the teacher rudely told us that she cannot deal with children like my son. So we took him out of that school and sent him to another school for vocational training. The class teacher in his new school was very supportive; on her suggestion we went to a spastic society where the tutors helped and motivated us a lot. My son cleared his class 10th exams through open boards and he will finish his class 12th exams soon. For last one year he has also been working at a cafe where he takes order through computer and is very efficient. 

People stare at us and my son has to hear comments like “are you mad?” or “are you blind?" from complete strangers on the street. People tell me, “What is the need to worry about your child when he doesn’t have brains?”. This really hurts me a lot. I know my son has brains. Some people refuse to understand that my child is special to me because these children are very sensitive and more caring than others. For instance, if I have a headache, my son will come and ask time and again if he can massage my head, or request that I eat something. These are the things that other people can’t see.

Earlier, I used to get angry and cry a lot because people in our society think it’s a curse to have special children. There is no acceptance that he is also a person. He is different but he has a brain and he can use it but takes a little more time to do things. Our society can be really cruel; I guess they need knowledge.” 

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