(Acceptance and Inclusion- 6 )

SOCIAL SKILLS (Acceptance and Inclusion- 6 ) by Jaya Sudhakar and Siddhanth Palaparti

Siddhanth’s school has been a big blessing in his life. The educational institution practised inclusivity in its true sense, nurturing Siddhanth’s strengths and supporting him in his challenges.The entire human resources department from the top management to the teachers and support staff followed the school’s policy of inclusion in its true spirit. In this blog, I would like to touch upon one of the many heartwarming incidents which remain ingrained in my mind.

In his pre – primary and primary school years, the children’s magazine ‘Magic Pot’ (a Malayala Manorama publication) topped the list of Siddhanth’s favourite things. The colourful magazine had many stories, comic strips and lots of activities which not only interested and stimulated him but also proved to be a big boon for enhancing his fine motor skills.The delightful gifts we received on subscribing to the magazine were an added attraction. Siddhanth loved receiving every issue of the magazine by courier and would get engrossed in it.The surprise gift of either a school bag or a pencil box or a water bottle would always add to the sparkle in his eyes.

When Siddhanth was in the 4th grade, once he had slight fever and had to skip school. He hated missing school and as on the third day he looked much better we decided mutually that he could attend school the next day. He had just finished his lunch and taken his medicine when an issue of ‘Magic Pot’ was door delivered. Siddhanth’s excitement doubled on seeing a set of stickers attached as a freebie. As he settled down with the magazine in his room, I got busy with my lunch and clearing up.

When I went back to his room a while later, I saw him working at his study table. He had stuck the stickers neatly on a drawing sheet and was busy creating multiple colourful arches around each sticker with crayons. Catching me admiring his work, he smiled and quipped, “I am going to give this to Indrayani Miss (his clss teacher) tomorrow”.

Well he did carry it to his school the next day but the story doesn’t end there. Two days later when I went to attend a Parents-Teachers meet, I was pleasantly surprised to see the same sheet prominently displayed in the class notice board.

Childhood and schooling for our children is all about such small moments of joy which add up to their life experiences and as parents, we meet many such individuals like Siddhanth’s teacher who light up our lives, in their own special way.

Author 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.

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