Autism is just like a left-handed person adjusting to a right-handed world.
April is a special month for those raising awareness about autism, and Taarana School, as we do every year, ensured that we honour Autism Awareness Month.
The school commemorated the month with a heart-warming celebration where students showcased their talents and creativity through various activities. Our objective was to create an inclusive event where everyone can come together to learn, grow, and embrace neurodiversity.
The event included inspiring speeches, performances by students, a yoga session, and several emotional moments where parents shared their personal journey of raising children with special needs. The celebration truly captured the essence of the event in promoting knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of the Autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
While ASD may impact communication, social interaction, and behaviour, it is a unique neurological condition that can strengthen creativity, attention to detail, and problem-solving. With understanding and support, children with ASD can lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.
The Chairperson of RYTHM Foundation, Datin Sri Umayal Eswaran, set the tone for the day with a speech on the acceptance and inclusion of all differently-abled children. RYTHM is the social impact initiative of the QI Group and manages Taarana.
“Everyone besides the dedicated teachers and parents must help create a better world and environments for differently-abled children.”
Speaking to an audience of families, teachers, and the Board members of QI Group, she urged the parents to keep working with the school to develop their children’s abilities. “We are here for your children and will do our best no matter what.”
Datin Sri Umayal also paid tribute to Taarana’s teachers and therapists. “I feel saying ‘thank you’ isn’t enough. The Foundation is extremely grateful to the Principal, Dr Sunitha Sivakumaran, and all of you for doing everything possible for our students, the school, the Foundation and the community.”
The celebration began with a fantastic yoga segment by the students that left everyone amazed and proud. Their seamless poses could have been mistaken for that of seasoned yoga enthusiasts!
Later, the students and guests formed groups for the puzzle art activity. The puzzle piece is an iconic symbol for ASD, representing the complexity and diversity of the condition. Each puzzle piece is unique, just as each individual on the spectrum is exceptional in their own way.
The participants let their creativity soar as they fashioned their masterpieces, all while bonding and engaging in a heart-warming display of closeness.
Guests eagerly awaited the day’s highlight – a fashion show by the students in their finest traditional outfits, walking down the makeshift runway with poise and grace.
Later, two parents shared their stories about raising a child with autism. They spoke about their experiences with sincerity and emotion, which touched the audience deeply.
Nurul Aini Osman, the doting mother of the 13-year-old Ishaan, recounted how Taarana has remarkably facilitated his holistic development and transition through the various stages of his life.
“When my son enrolled at Taarana in January 2016, he was semi-verbal, which means he knew a few words but could not communicate well. He is also hyperlexic,” Nurul explained. (Hyperlexia is advanced and unexpected reading skills and abilities in children beyond their age.)
“We have experienced so many firsts at Taarana. He began using a spoon, eating, brushing his teeth, and using the bathroom – all on his own! It all happened here at Taarana, and we can’t thank you enough. His achievements might seem trivial to many, but they are tremendous accomplishments to us.
“Autism is not a disease or an illness, so there is nothing to cure. It is just like a left-handed person adjusting to a right-handed world,” she added in an inspiring metaphor.
Another parent, *Diana, shared a deeply personal and heartwrenching testimonial about her journey with her son *Harry. The single parent left many guests visibly moved and touched. (*Names have been changed to protect their identities)
“Three months after my divorce, I learned my son had autism. But, sadly, some, even among our nearest and dearest, are unwilling to embrace our children wholeheartedly,” Diana said teary-eyed.
“Needless to say, I struggled with the financial burden of caring for Harry and his high therapy costs, more so during the pandemic. The difficulties I faced affected him too. Thankfully, he has found his happy place at Taarana. He has friends of diverse races and cultures.”
Diana is grateful for the changes she has seen in Harry and works closely with Dr Sunitha and her staff to help him achieve his potential.
The celebration was capped with a prize-giving ceremony for the kids, who beamed with pride and joy. The day was a beautiful reminder of the significance of embracing and celebrating the unique abilities of differently-abled children.