“Only those who confront unusual challenges can flaunt unusual success.” ― Vincent Okay Nwachukwu
International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. And on this special occasion, Asian Literary Society decided to cover the thoughts of some strong women, who are mothers of people of determination. These women are true warriors, and need to be celebrated every day for working relentlessly with the challenges their children face in day-to-day life.
Uma Sriram is the mother of Skandhaan, who is seven and a half year old, and was diagnosed with Global developmental delay at birth. The biggest challenge Uma faced with Skandhaan initially was his mobility and communication. With continued efforts, she overcame these through rigorous physiotherapy with proper guidance, and has started using AAC (Augmentative and Alternative communication). He is currently attending art sessions and thoroughly enjoying them.
Fauzia Bahadur, the mother of twenty-two-year old Mubashir, is a hands-on parent. Mubashir was diagnosed with autism and speech delay. The main challenge faced by Fauzia was understanding the disability of her son, since the abnormalities with autistic children are not visible. She found it a Herculean task to balance the needs and attention of her special child with the requirements of her other family members. Another challenge for her has been sailing through financial crisis without compromising on the needs of her child. The most challenging phase for her was when her nonverbal son was undergoing metamorphosis entering puberty. Despite these challenges, Fauzia feels that a constant smile on the face can create positivity that works in favour of her special needs child as well as others around him. She feels it’s better to keep stress at bay and provide opportunities to the child that make him happy.
Akila Swaminathan, living in Dubai, is the mother of Rishab, who is now ten and a half year old, and was diagnosed with autism at the age three and a half year . He is non-verbal but a very happy and jovial child. Initially, her son had to face a lot of difficulties in communication, while interacting with people, and in maintaining eye contact. The parents are trying to slowly overcome these difficulties by providing him series of relevant therapies for a better life.
Jinu Rachel John is the parent of a beautiful six-year old Johanna Jerry Thompson, who is different in every way and falls into the sensitive rare disease, “RETT SYNDROME”. When questioned how they take this journey, Jinu’s honest answer is, “We just pray, hold on strong to our faith, capture all options possible for our child, and believe in her blindly.” Her experience with parenting differs from many of their family and friends, but they try to share their experiences, unveil the journey of diagnosis, acceptance and understanding with others in the groups.
She feels that their life has been sparkling, rewarding and meaningful as that of any “typical parent”. At times parents encounter several different experiences and emotions in response to caring for a child with a rare disease. As all anticipate and assume, this journey has not led them to a depressing situation. She feels it’s just a different blessed place. Jinu says, “One must not spend their life mourning the fact that they are a special parent, instead, enjoy the very special and lovely moments of life. One must express their love and render support. The child and his needs need to be respected and taken care of.”
Shikhil is twelve-year old, diagnosed with ADHD. The challenge Shyna, his mother, faced with him was his hyperactivity. It was difficult to hold Shikhil in one place. This challenge was overcome with lot of therapies, and by engaging him in different activities to channelize his extra energy. Shyna is happy and content to see this positive change in her son.
Shameera is the mother of eight-year old Neysha, who has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome. As a PoD mother, one of her main challenges has been her daughter’s behavioural issues, along with the rejection of PoD kids in mainstream schools. After many rejections, finally a nursery was kind enough to accept her, as the Principal was also a PoD mom who understood Shameera’s struggles. Her daughter attended the nursery for six months, which was an excellent experience for her. Now Neysha attends a special needs school, and that has shown a lot of positive change in her, which is a relief for the parents. In the school, all her educational and behavioural needs are being met. Currently, Shameera is focusing on improving Neysha’s behavioural issues as well as academic needs. With the help of her special school, Shameera is confident that Neysha will move towards independence. Shameera also wants to ensure that more capable PoD kids be included in the mainstream education.
It was heart-warming to know about the journey of these special mothers. No matter what support the community renders, it’s the woman who must fight this battle with determination. We need to salute and celebrate such women, not only on Women’s Day, but every single day of the year.