TRYST WITH HANDWRITING by Jaya Sudhakar and Siddhanth Palaparti


As with many children on the spectrum Siddhanth faced many challenges when it came to writing. At the kindergarten school that he was attending, writing the alphabet was taught to the kids in Junior KG. Right from the outset it was an area of difficulty for Siddhanth. In the previous year in nursery class they only had play activities and oral recitation of basic GK and nursery rhymes which he enjoyed thoroughly. He was an active participant at school thoroughly involved in whatever was done in class. At that stage we could not figure out the cause for his writing challenges as he was diagnosed only in Senior KG. It was pathetic to see his little face clouding with disappointment and frustration after trying sincerely. He always wanted to take bigger challenges and wanted to try writing the letter ‘M’ first. Nevertheless his spirit persisted and slowly and steadily he learnt to write the capital letters.

Once Siddhanth was diagnosed and Occupational Therapy(OT) sessions commenced, we were regularly practising fine motor table top activities with him which helped him to a certain extent. The occupational therapist also suggested tracing slanting lines, sleeping lines and curves which he was regularly practising. Siddhanth was addicted to the children’s magazine ‘ Magic Pot’, a Malayala Manorama publication. As the issues had many fine motor activities, Siddhanth loved learning in a fun away. Based on the print material that I had access to at Forum for Autism’s library (those were pre-Internet days), I tried other stuff with him like grouping letters – based on strokes which had to be written below the line, above the line and so on.

Though there was individual improvement in Siddhanth’s handwriting, he was always one step behind his peers. He was still on capital letters while others moved on to small letters and by the time he reached small letters, his classmates had moved on to cursive writing. Writing in small font to fit into the lines or writing in red and blue line notebooks were all challenges for him. When I started attending workshops on Autism, I started gaining insights on fine motor activities which could help and how even visual perceptions come into the picture such as the colour appearing brighter or faded, or the depth of a line appearing different.

Around the same time during one of our routine visits to the Developmental Paediatrician , Siddhanth was fascinated by her laptop. Observing his interest she encouraged him to type out answers to her queries and to our surprise we found him doing that fluently, way better than his verbal answers. On her suggestion to encourage him to type, my husband asked Siddhanth to type out about the day on our return home. To our delightful surprise, he typed beautifully about the whole day in sequence and left us amazed with his detailed observations including the hoardings and banners that he saw from the local train on the way to the developmental paediatrician’ s centre.

So in a way, Siddhanth’s typing abilities increased his self – esteem and motivated him and us to keep working on his handwriting. After his first grade, we went to his occupational therapist for a review meeting. Armed with the knowledge of her recent training session with Action for Autism and with the experience she had gained with more kids, she made a detailed assessment . She went on to point out that Siddhanth had weak shoulder muscles and suggested exercises to strengthen them such as crawling, wheelbarrow walking and stretching exercises. This was a turning point for Siddhanth in his tryst with handwriting. On doing those exercises regularly, within a few days his handwriting speed increased . His inclusive school had already permitted him to write in print letters. Now he was able to write in cursive letters also. A special educator at school gave him a small plastic strip to place after each word with his left hand to increase the space between words. This habit weaned off quickly when the desired effect was learnt. The font was still big and it was suggested to him to write on alternate lines to make the handwriting look more presentable.During his entire primary schooling, vacations would include regular copy writing by him.

Mid school gave rise to 3 hour long exam papers with long essay-type answers . This again proved challenging for Siddhanth. His hands would pain and in every paper he would begin with small handwriting and move on to bigger and bigger writing until it turned into a scrawl. Permission to use a computer for exams helped him to overcome this challenge.

It was only when Siddhanth was around 16 that we could find access to swimming classes for him as by then they had been started for individuals with special needs by persons specially trained for the same. In his younger days all our efforts to find a swimming pool or a coach did not bear fruit. So again though he still had weak shoulder muscles , swimming helped him in many ways including in his handwriting.

My purpose of writing this blog is only to underline the fact that autism is a hidden disorder. There can be various reasons for the challenges faced by our children to learn any kind of skill. Dedicated professionals, supportive educational system and a loving , encouraging atmosphere at home can assist our children in mitigating the hardships they face while continuing to keep them motivated to do their best in learning any new skill.

By Jaya Sudhakar

Jaya Sudhakar has done her Masters in Physics and was employed as an Asst.Manager in a PSU. Her son’s diagnosis urged her to seek voluntary retirement from service . She is actively involved with Forum for Autism, Nayi Disha and The Spectrum Autism. Friends,tending to plants, reading, writing, music, movies, travelling and a little bit of spirituality are her perennial energy boosters.

Typing of story in Word and Creative graphics done by CreativeSaathi Siddhanth Palaparti, Jaya’s son

Siddhanth is a budding graphic designer, coder and music lover. He has graduated in computer applications and completed several certificate courses. His work trajectory includes internships, freelancing and voluntary work for social causes. He derives immense happiness from remembering birthdays and wishing everyone for it. Swimming, travelling and playing music on the keyboard are his other passions.


Occupational therapy with easy games at home

A video blog by Pinki Kumar on Occupational therapy with easy games at home.

Author Pinki Kumar

Pinki is a special educator, play therapist and a mother of a neurodivergent kid. She has a YouTube channel Play and learn to teach different methods and strategies. These videos are a great resource for the parents to help their child learn various skills.


Step by step techniques to teach writing skills

A video blog by Pinki Kumar on Step by step techniques to teach writing skills to our children.

Author Pinki Kumar

Pinki is a special educator, play therapist and a mother of a neurodivergent kid. She has a YouTube channel Play and learn to teach different methods and strategies. These videos are a great resource for the parents to help their child learn various skills.



Triveni Goswami Vernal
(Registered Special Educator, CRR No. A64010)

It is widely known that engaging in creative forms of expression can have a profound effect on one’s body and mind. According to Christianne Strang, a former President of American Art Therapy Association, “Creativity in and of itself is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and connected to the world” (


Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross, the authors of the book “Your Brain on Art” have cited several studies that have shown how engaging in some form of artistic endeavour, can improve the overall well being of an individual (both mental and physical). They state, “When you experience virtual reality, read poetry or fiction, see a film or listen to a piece of music, or move your body to dance, to name a few of the many arts, you are biologically changed…There is a neurochemical exchange that can lead to what Aristotle called catharsis, or a release of emotion that leaves you feeling more connected to yourself and others” (

Keeping this in mind, the development of a relatively new form of “therapeutic art”-Neurographic Art, makes a lot of sense. The term “Neurographic Art” was coined by psychologist, Dr. Pavel Piscarev in 2014. According to an article, The benefits of Neurographic Art on the Vancouver Visual Art Foundation website, “neurographic art is a technique, which comprises drawing freeform lines or ‘neuro lines.’ These are meant to enable the connection between the conscious and unconscious, gaining access to the inner self by using a specific algorithm or method. The algorithm utilized in neurographic art enables us to transform and process the emotions that might have guided our freeform line drawings and turn them into new mesmerizing art”(

Neurographic Art by Melinda Knott

So, what does Neurographic Art entail?
Neurographic Art is much more than simply Doodling. There is a technique behind the method as well as the interpretation of the art. According to Celeste Wilson who has penned down an article on “Neurographic Art: A Therapeutic Art Form” in , one of the basic algorithms of Neurographic Art, includes the following:
“•Draw loose crisscrossing lines on a piece of paper using a pen or marker. By using an ink pen and not a pencil, you are forced to commit to the design. You can’t erase it.
•As you draw, think of the things that trouble you.
•Don’t focus on structure, just let your pen flow across the page.
•Where the lines cross and make sharp corners, round them out. Softening these edges is calmative.
•You can add shapes to your drawing.
•Now add color. Instead of adding shapes, you might want to use color to highlight shapes.
•Study the drawing and see if there are any recognizable shapes. Perhaps you see a leaf or a butterfly. Then color them in as if you were coloring in a coloring book.
The website has a detailed post on the materials required and a description regarding how one can create a piece of neurographic art.
Lesson Plan on Neurographic Art:

Examples of Neurographic Art




Thus, we see that Neurographic Art connects the unexpressed with an expressive art form. It allows an individual to express their deepest thoughts, anxieties and feelings through free flowing, free form lines that take various shapes, allowing one to create a safe space to let go off their innermost turmoil.


Author Triveni Goswami Vernal

Triveni Goswami Vernal is an Autism advocate, registered Special Educator (CRR A64010) and an Independent Researcher. Her areas of interest include Autism, Disability Rights, Gender, Art and Northeast studies. She is a mum to an 11 year old on the Autism Spectrum.

Creative representation for this blog is done by our extremely talented CreativeSaathi associate Kabir Vernal

Inspired by Jackson Pollock’s style
“Flowers” by Kabir Vernal
Acrylic Painting on 2ft x 2ft Canvas

Why should neurodivergent children and adults learn theater?

Recently, I became an ambassador for RASA (Ramana Sunritya Alaya) and TAHD (Theater Arts for Holistic Development). TAHD was developed by Dr. Ambika Kameshwar, founder and director of RASA (Ramana Sunritya Alaya). In theater arts classes, I do dance, storytelling and drama.

Why should neurodivergent children and adults learn theater?

Theater arts is relaxing. Theater arts is enjoyable. Theater arts provides opportunities to express ourselves in different ways. Theater arts helps us develop many skills.

Expression and Abhinaya
In Indian natya, there are four forms of abhinaya or expression. These include body language, speech, attire and props, and emotional expression. In Indian natya, body language is called angika, speech is called vachika, attire and props are called aharya, and emotional expression is called satvika.

My TAHD experiences include these forms of abhinaya. For example, I narrate stories and record them every month. My first story was the white peacock. I narrated it on my birthday. This narration includes all four forms of abhinaya.

Angika abhinaya: Body movements (e.g., bharatanatyam mudra and hand movements) are used throughout the presentation.
Vacika abhinaya: Story narration is the speech part of the abhinaya.
Aharya abhinaya: Thanks to Manu Sekar’s mother (Manu is the Founder of HashHackCode, an organization where I learn web development) for stitching the attire for my birthday. Originally, I wanted a maroon kurta. Then, I decided to choose colors that would work with the peacock story!
Satvik abhinaya: Facial expressions and hand gestures were used to communicate how the characters feel.

TAHD in Daily Life

Communication in life also involves these four modes of expression. We use these four modes of expression throughout the day as we play more roles. TAHD teaches all four modes of expression and prepares us to communicate better in life.

TAHD is not a drama program. It is a program that uses Indian natya to help us develop our communication and other skills. Practicing TAHD daily develops skills for daily living.

Ananth’s Adventures Storyboard
I am creating a planner and storyboard to describe my learning journey. My storyboard is organized according to the 4Es of TAHD:

My storyboard is available here

In this article I introduced the four forms of expression. I will discuss other elements on my storyboard in future articles.

TAHD in enjoyable because we can practice and use all four modes of expression. I hope you will explore TAHD too!

Visit my Youtube channel Ananth’s Adventures. The list of videos on my channel is available here.–FiXZpa3vO1-zCHg/edit?usp=sharing

Author Ananth Raghunandan

Creative representation for this blog is done by our extremely talented CreativeSaathi associate Vinayak Raj