Stories That Inspire

M. Kasim: SPASTN is my extended family

My son Mohammad Kasim was about 8 months old when I noticed that he could not do most of the things others children would do at his age. This worried me; why wasn’t my child rolling his head, babbling, clapping hands and crawling like other kids? There was also constant pressure from my own family for being responsible for Kasim’s condition.
This was when I came to SPASTN Ayanavaram. The team helped me understand Kasim’s problem and trained me to work with him. The motivation provided by the SPASTN team gave me the feeling of working with one big family. Now at 1.5 years of age, Kasim can walk sideways with support and do a lot more than before! I’m happy to say that SPASTN is my extended family.

- As narrated by Kasim’s mother

Ruthreash: Marching into the future

As a child in grade 2, Ruthreash repeatedly told us about how he wanted to join the army when he grew up. As parents, we wondered if we could help him achieve his dreams when he had a disability in his legs.
Through the Institute of Child Health in Egmore, Chennai, we came to know of SPASTN’s Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program. Here he goes through therapy and remedial education support so he can eventually catch up with mainstream schooling. Since then there’s been no looking back; the Padianallur CBR centre is his second home.
Ruthreash now uses his willpower to stand and walk with support, hoping even to play football with his friends. Today, he tells us and his teacher at SPASTN, “As my legs get better, I will join the army and march smartly like a soldier”.

- As narrated by Ruthreash’s mother

Jayapradeep: Channelling positivity

My son Jayapradeep initially went to a mainstream school. Given his behaviour issues, the school authorities suggested a special school for him. I took him to a therapy centre hoping it would help, but he would only get agitated, shout, run around or wet himself.
We discovered SPASTN in 2014 and that is when we realised Jayapradeep was autistic. Teachers at SPASTN told us that agitation was just his way of communicating trauma and anxiety. Jayapradeep was delighted to be at SPASTN. His teachers helped channel his energy into skating, swimming, and yoga. SPASTN is the best place for him because of their holistic approach to combining the 3Rs and extracurricular activities.
Knowing he was taken care of here at SpasTN, I gained the confidence to pursue a teacher education program in 2019. Today, I am a Special Education Teacher thanks to my son, who helped me find my passion in teaching.

- As narrated by Jayapradeep’s mother

Dinesh Kumar: Skill to win

Dinesh Kumar came to SPASTN in 2011. His family background was not very strong; a broken home and a disabled mother. Dinesh was a shy young man, but a determined and self-motivated student. He got through the SPASTN vocational training program and was placed through the work experience program in Copper Chimney, a fine dining restaurant. In just a year, Dinesh became a full-time employee and moved into the pizzeria division. Today, Dinesh can toss a pizza with much panache; he was awarded for Best Performance and Service.

Dinesh’s supervisor Srinivasan says, "Dinesh is a fine young man and a most dependable employee.”

Dinesh: Finding true potential

I am Aishwarya and my brother, Dinesh is two years younger than me and autistic. It took my family and me a long time to understand that he was different. We just kept hoping that he would become normal one day. SPASTN opened our eyes to the fact that Dinesh needed a different type of support to reach his potential. My brother is very sensitive and can recognize my deepest emotions and empathize with me as no one else can. Today, Dinesh is 21 years old and is representing Tamilnadu in swimming competitions. The brother about whom I hesitated to talk about in my childhood has now turned out to be a role model for me.

Heena Kauser: Her mother’s strength

I am Jabeen Banu, my daughter Heena Kauser was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and intellectual impairment. I walked out of my in-law's house when I did not get the support I need for Heena. Though I did not have a supportive family, I did find a supportive community in SPASTN’s Svastya Perumbakkam Community Rehabilitation Centre. SPASTN helped me understand Heena’s problems and how to deal with them. My husband works as a daily wager while I work as support staff at the SPASTN centre and also do tailoring to earn for Heena.
I bought Heena here at the age of one when she could do nothing but lie on the floor. Today, Heena at 10 is the source of my inner strength - she can reach, grasp, sit up with support and communicate her needs.

Jabez: Changing the perception

I am Jemmimah Rajesh, mother of an 11-year old son, Jabez who is autistic and Rufus who is 2-years old. With Jabez, it has been a huge learning curve every day for me, more so during the COVID lockdown. I discovered my son’s true potential during this period. An incident at home made us realize how autistic children are aware of what is happening around them. When Jabez and his little brother got locked accidentally in a room, we had to break open the door. My worry that the kids would get hurt was sorted when I saw Jabez holding back his little brother away from the door! SPASTN helped us and Jabez through a journey of discovery; holding a pencil, writing and counting till 10, independent toilet training and more. We have together busted the myth around autistic children - that they lack adaptive response and executive functions.

Shivani: Smiling through adversity

Shivani is 8-years old and lives in the Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu. When the pandemic hit the world, it was a double blow to Shivani’s parents - a homemaker mother and a lorry driver father. Not only did the father lose his job, but they also found that their little girl was underweight, appeared lost and had delayed speech. At SPASTN’s Community Rehabilitation Centre, Thiruvallur, Shivani was found to have a mild intellectual disability. She soon found a new life through our Early Intervention program where she was trained, along with her mother in self-grooming skills. With a customized education plan, Shivani was trained in age-appropriate functional skills - literacy, numeracy, communication and more. With her obedient nature and self-determination, Shivani has worked her way into an inclusive school and is enjoying it!

J Rohin: Overcoming hardship

12-year old Rohin lives with his father who is a mason, his mother who is a house-help and his younger sister. Taking care of him as a special child was a difficult job, especially during the pandemic when the parents were out of jobs. This is where SPASTN pitched in with their COVID support - they sponsored the family groceries and other aid. The family including Rohin’s younger sister pitched in with online classes of physiotherapy and speech education with SPASTN. Despite the pandemic, Rohin has shown a lot of improvement in speech and movement. The family is encouraged and is looking up and ahead!

Kanishka - Together as a team

Kanishka is a 4-year old living in Pulianthope, Tamilnadu. She has been coming to SPASTN’s community rehabilitation centre for two years. Her family - father is a watchman and her mother is a house-help and her elder sister take turns looking after her. With the pandemic, the family was hit hard but is happy that Kanishka was looked after well through SPASTN’s online therapy sessions. Today, Kanisha who could never sit down to do a task is happy matching shapes, colours and identifying objects. The family works happily together as a team with Kanishka at its centre!

Madhavi - A story of determination

Madhavi is the youngest child of a daily wage-earning couple. When Madhavi’s mother entered SPASTN two years ago, she was filled with anxious questions about why her child could not walk or eat on her own. As a house-help, Madhavi’s mother living on the outskirts of Chennai, she could only come to SPASTN twice a week. In the 2 years that they came for the therapy sessions, Madhavi has made phenomenal progress; she can stand up on her own, walk with the help of a walker and even feed herself! Madhavi’s parents made up for their lack of education with their persistence in seeing their daughter be an independent girl.

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