The Art Event for Autism- Kabir Vernal’s Solo Art exhibition

Celebrating Creativity and Inclusivity: The Art Event for Autism- Kabir Vernal’s Solo Art exhibition

In a world where every stroke of a brush, every splash of color, and every artistic expression holds the power to transcend barriers and connect us on a profound level, the recently held Art event for Autism organized by the Maqaam Foundation, in association with SpecialSaathi and several other organizations dedicated to the Special Needs community, was a testament to the magic of art and the strength of unity.

This extraordinary event was a celebration of talent, inclusivity, and the remarkable journey of a young Neurodivergent artist, Kabir Vernal, who at the tender age of 12, showcased his fabulous artworks to the world. The event took place in the vibrant city of New Delhi, where art enthusiasts, advocates for neurodiversity, and supporters of inclusion gathered to witness a truly remarkable solo art exhibition.

Artwork by Kabir Vernal

Kabir Vernal’s journey as an artist is nothing short of inspiring. His artworks, displayed at the event, were a vivid reflection of his unique perspective on the world. Every stroke on canvas seemed to tell a story, convey an emotion, or offer a glimpse into theintricate workings of his creative mind. His pieces of art not only left a lasting impression on the viewers but also challenged preconceived notions about the abilities of neurodivergent individuals.

Chief Guest with Guests of Honor

SpecialSaathi team, led by the dedicated Founder Shilpi Mayank Awasthi, and the other team members including Ms. Shivanie Kapoor Founder and Head Motivation and Kabir’s mother Triveni Goswami Vernal herself played a pivotal role in making this event a resounding success. Shilpi, a Guest of Honor, a support partner, and a speaker in the awareness program, brought her insights, experience and passion for the special needs community to the forefront. Her presence was a testament to the collaborative spirit that defined this event.

Shilpi Mayank Awasthi and Shivanie Kapoor

The awareness program held during the four-day event (16th- 19th September) was a crucial component. It aimed to shed light on the challenges faced by individuals with Autism and the importance of fostering an inclusive society. During this program, various autism advocates, with their deep understanding of these issues, delivered a heartfelt and impactful message, reminding everyone that true progress lies in our collective efforts to embrace diversity.

Guests at awareness program

As we celebrate the success of the Art event for Autism, it is imperative to pause and express our deepest gratitude to Triveni Goswami Vernal. Her tireless efforts, boundless dedication, and sheer determination have been the driving force that has propelled us forward on this journey. She’s been the woman behind the scenes, running the whole show effortlessly. You have tirelessly worked behind the scenes, ensuring that every detail of the Art event for Autism fell into place seamlessly.

As we move forward, let us thank other extremely important individual Niyaz Hussain, the Founder of the Maqaam Foundation. With his unwavering commitment to empowering underprivileged children of Delhi Slums and individuals with various disabilities and other special needs, he orchestrated and curated this event to provide the platform for Specially-abled artists like Kabir to shine. By doing so, Niyaz demonstrated that art knows no boundaries and that talent can flourish regardless of one’s neurodiversity. So, on behalf of everyone who has been touched by your presence, your dedication, and your support, we at SpecialSaathi extend our heartfelt thanks and deepest gratitude. You are the embodiment of strength, resilience, and love, and we are privileged to have you as a guiding light on this incredible journey.

Niyaz Hussain and Shilpi Mayank Awasthi

The Art event for Autism was not just about appreciating art; it was about recognizing the immense potential within the special needs community and the need to create a more inclusive world. It served as a reminder that when we come together with a shared vision, we can create transformative change.

As the colors on Kabir Vernal’s canvas blended to create masterpieces, so did the efforts of Maqaam Foundation, SpecialSaathi, and other organizations unite to paint a brighter and more inclusive future. This event was a beacon of hope, a celebration of diversity, and a powerful statement that when we celebrate uniqueness, we unlock boundless creativity and potential.

Niyaz Hussain, Triveni Goswami Vernal and the artist Kabir Vernal

The Art event for Autism was a resounding success, leaving an indelible mark on all who attended. It celebrated the creative spirit of a young artist, showcased the power of collaboration, and ignited a flame of awareness and inclusion that will continue to burn brightly. It was a testament to the fact that art, unity, and compassion can change the world, one brushstroke at a time.

We thank the media partner of this event Voice4ability for the coverage of the event.

The brilliant artworks of Kabir in a beautiful Catalogue (PDF format) can be viewed here-

Thank you for Reading!!

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi
Founder SpecialSaathi


Main SpecialSaathi Awareness Mascot- Avnish Tiwari

Avnish Tiwari is a young boy with Down syndrome, a genetic condition that presented unique challenges in his life. Avnish had been left in an orphanage by his biological parents after the birth. However, he was further adopted after a long legal fight and raised by Mr. Aditya Tiwari who has been making a big difference in the world around him alongwith his son. He was renamed Avnish by Aditya, and with his newfound family, Avnish’s life took a remarkable turn.

SpecialSaathi is delighted to feature Avnish Tiwari as a ” Main SpecialSaathi Awareness Mascot” for the month of July.

Aditya’s family initially disapproved of his decision, they later supported him as they saw how dedicated he was to caring for Avnish. Aditya had no prior experience with taking care of a child, let alone a child with Down Syndrome, so he had to learn as he went. Avnish had health issues, including feeding problems and digestive disorders, but Aditya provided him with the care he needed, and Avnish gradually improved. After several surgeries, Avnish was healthy enough to attend school, play, and even learn to play the drums.

As Avnish grew old, he developed a deep love for adventure and the outdoors. He found solace in nature and discovered that it brought out the best in him. Avnish’s passion for climbing mountains wasn’t get unnoticed by his father and with his support, Avnish embarked on a rigorous training regimen to prepare himself for the ultimate challenge – conquering the mighty Kala Patthar Mount Everest. At 18,200 feet high, this daunting peak would test Avnish’s physical and mental limits like never before.

Aditya wanted to support Avnish’s dreams, so planned an expedition to Everest Base camp. He took Avnish to various different locations like Kashmir and other small treks to acclimatize him.

The journey to reach the summit of Mount Everest was filled with hardships and setbacks. Avnish encountered treacherous terrain, extreme weather conditions, and physical exhaustion. However, his unwavering determination fueled his every step. With Aditya and a team of experienced mountaineers by his side, Avnish pushed through the pain and setbacks, inching closer to his goal.

News of Avnish’s extraordinary quest spread like wildfire. People from all corners of the country became captivated by his story. Avnish’s determination and courage began to raise awareness about the capabilities of differently-abled children and the need for inclusivity and support. His climb symbolized the heights that individuals with Down syndrome could reach with the right opportunities and encouragement.

Finally, after weeks of grueling effort, in 2022, Aditya and Avnish successfully reached the summit of Kala Patthar Mount Everest, which was 18,200 feet high, standing proudly at the top, and unfurled the Indian flag, a symbol of his unwavering patriotism and the triumph of the human spirit. This achievement raised awareness about differently-abled children and the issues surrounding Down Syndrome. The nation watched in awe as Avnish’s achievement captured their hearts.

Avnish’s incredible feat not only inspired countless individuals with disabilities but also ignited a national conversation about inclusivity, acceptance, and the limitless potential within each person. Avnish’s climb garnered national attention and several organizations and stakeholders felicitated Avnish’s achievement. The Honourable President of India recognized Avnish’s remarkable achievement and awarded him the prestigious “Shresth Divyang Bal Puraskar” (Best Differently-Abled Child Award).

Together, Aditya and Avnish have become a powerful force for change in India and beyond. They have traveled the country, speaking at conferences and events, and sharing their message of inclusion and acceptance.

Avnish has become a beloved figure in the community, and his infectious enthusiasm and positive attitude have inspired countless others.
But Avnish’s impact goes beyond just raising awareness. He has also become an accomplished athlete, competing in the Special Olympics and bringing home numerous medals. And he has shown that people with disabilities are capable of achieving great things, and should never be underestimated or marginalized.

Aditya’s advice to future generations is to accept what they have, explore the world, believe in themselves, and do their best for their country. He encourages his son to think of himself as a citizen of humanity, not just of his nationality or religion. Avnish’s and Aditya’s story serves as an inspiration to others to fight for justice and the rights of all people.

Avnish’s story is a powerful reminder that every person has the potential to be a changemaker, regardless of their background or circumstances. By embracing their own unique abilities and using them to make a positive impact, they have shown that anyone can make a difference in the world.
Through their advocacy and activism, Aditya and Avnish have helped to change attitudes towards people with disabilities in India, and have inspired others to join the fight for greater inclusion and acceptance. Their work serves as a model for all of us, and shows that by coming together and working towards a common goal, we can create a better, more inclusive world for everyone.

Avnish’s journey marked the beginning of a new era, one where differently-abled individuals would be seen for their abilities rather than their disabilities. Avnish, with his infectious smile and indomitable spirit, became a symbol of hope and a testament to the power of determination.

Read more on Avnish Tiwari here

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi

Founder SpecialSaathi


The roles I play in life…

Embracing my roles: an independent woman with visual and hearing impairment- by Shrutilata Singh, Advocacy Officer at Sense International India

When we hear the word “Independent” most of us relate it with freedom. For me and those who are like me, it is about being able to do things without being dependent on others.

Like any other teenage girl, I was also lost, unsure of what I wanted to do. When I was growing up, I always knew that I wanted to do something meaningful in life and not be confined to my home all my life.

Unlike others, I wasn’t sure what will be possible owing to my low self-esteem as I had grown to believe that no one wanted to be friends with me, given, I was both visually and hearing impaired. I was always scared to go out of my home alone. Even today, I do not explore much when I visit my parents’ home.

Living independently, living alone or with friends away from home was a distant dream that I thought I would never have in life. I always knew I wanted to experience it all. I wanted to live life just like everyone else. 

Today as I turn 30, I reflect back to the 30 years of my life and how I transformed from a timid, introvert girl who was dependent on family to a fully independent woman who can take care of her friends when required and take up bigger responsibilities at work as well.

The transformation did not happen overnight. It took a long time. It was a very slow process. I had to work first on myself, my self-esteem, my belief, and my fear and convince my family to let me be independent.

Today, I can now manage my finance, move around independently for work and visit friends, shop around for what I like, and feel responsible for myself. It does make me a lot happy to know that I can live on my own without the need to depend on others. 

Recently I had to miss a day of a team meeting that happened in Goa due to some personal reason and so I joined them the next day but what makes me happy is to know that I was able to make the whole trip on my own.

I do need some support as communication still remains my biggest challenge but I always find ways to deal with it. I like it when I have a “sense of responsibility” because it pushes me to try harder and better.

I remember the day two years back when I was given the responsibility of accompanying another young girl with deaf blindness right from India to Bern in Switzerland to attend a conference on the World Data Forum. Although it was difficult for me also, it was not impossible. It was my biggest responsibility till date but it made me realize that I can also support others and help them in contributing better and I am not the one who only needs help and cannot contribute.

I dislike it when people treat me like a baby and become overprotective because they think I need support all the time. I want to remind people that we do not need to be spoon feed. We can also do things our way. We just need you to teach us how to handle things and ensure that there are safer and more accessible ways to do it. 

Ten years back I was worried if I would ever be able to travel alone or not. Girls who were only visually impaired were much more independent as they did not face any communication challenges. I could hardly go anywhere on my own and needed someone to go with me to the shop because for women like me with the most important senses to receive information is affected to such an extent that we do not get information the way others do, safety remains the biggest concern after accessibility.

Today I can travel to most places thanks to GPS tracking system and e-auto and bikes that makes me feel safe and independent. I commute to and from the office 7km (one way) daily. Sometimes it is difficult to communicate with the driver but I always manage because I have to try. I can even pick up or drop off my colleagues when needed when we have to travel for work. It gives me the feeling that I am just like any other individual and not a subject for “pity” by others.

I play different roles both in my professional and personal life. I am a girl, daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt, and friend and someday I will also be a wife, a mother, and probably a grandmother too. I will have a lot more roles to play and I want to experience it, live it just the way everyone else does. 

Being an advocate for people with deaf blindness, I encourage all, especially girls to be as much independent as possible. I know that the parents of most of them will not allow it because of the concern of safety but that overprotection will only turn those deaf blind people into “vegetative” making them more vulnerable after the parents are no more around.

Life is short, the world is small. We all must start encouraging others to be independent, be the individual they wish to become, and be an example for others. That day when I was traveling by myself to Goa, I sat there waiting to board, and the only thing that I could think about was those girls out there who long want to be independent, and travel alone but are forced to stay at one place within the watchful eyes of family and relatives because they all have this dual sensory loss that makes them think they will not be able to do anything.

Yes, we are vulnerable that is why we want the place to be safe and accessible. I wondered how we can teach all those girls to start taking the support that is available to us and be as independent as possible.

If I reflect on my experience, I see that I learned because I had to, I needed to travel as everyone cannot be there all the time. All we need is opportunities and the will to try to be independent. Two years back on August 15th, I celebrated independence day when for the first time I was able to find ways to communicate with a fruit vendor and buy those which I liked, and that I did without any friend’s help. These are small achievements I cherish in my life. 

Nothing is impossible. We just need to go for it, grab it and prove that we are no different. 

Author Shrutilata Singh

Advocacy Officer at Sense International India

Artwork by Dhrov Tikoo

Creative representation for this blog is done by our extremely talented CreativeSaathi associate Dhrov Tikoo


Main SpecialSaathi Awareness Mascot

Joanne Rodrigues and Brydan Rodrigues

To commemorate the “Autism awareness month”
We are thrilled to announce our next “Main SpecialSaathi Awareness Mascots”. This campaign aims to raise awareness about individuals with disabilities by featuring them as mascots on our website.

We are proud to introduce our second Awareness Mascots, siblings Joanne Rodrigues,15 years and Brydan Rodrigues,13 years. They are an inspiration to all of us at SpecialSaathi, and we are honored to have them as our next “Awareness Mascots”.

Through this program, we hope to showcase the unique talents and abilities of people with disabilities, and break down the stereotypes and stigmas that often surround them. By featuring these individuals as mascots on our website, we hope to promote a more inclusive and accepting society, where everyone is valued and respected.

We believe that Rodrigues siblings’ feature today will inspire and educate our audience. You can learn more about Joanne and Brydan below in their numerous achievements and credentials.
Despite their ongoing Challenges with Autism, they have proved that with Consistency , Perseverance and Dedication we can break barriers to be best of our abilities.

At SpecialSaathi, we are committed to creating a more inclusive world, and we believe that this initiative will help us achieve that goal. We hope that you will join us in celebrating the unique abilities and talents of all individuals, regardless of their differences. Together, we can build a better, more accepting future for all.

Joanne Rodrigues :

Brydan Rodrigues:

Story and video coverage below source by Humans of Bombay and Brut India :-

Creative representation for this story is done by our extremely talented CreativeSaathi associate Morpheus Nag


Main SpecialSaathi- Benzy

Main SpecialSaathi: Awareness Mascot

Meet Benzy, a young 27 year old woman with autism who has achieved more than what most people could ever dream of. Despite being diagnosed with a mental development disorder, Benzy has become an award-winning singer who has performed in numerous countries around the world. Her incredible musical journey is a testament to her determination, talent, and the unwavering support of her parents.

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Benzy was born prematurely and was kept in an incubator for 40 days. When she came home, her parents noticed that she was not like other babies. Her body was stiff, and she had hardly any movements. Even her eyeballs did not have any movements, and her blinking was rare. After consulting with a doctor, they learned that Benzy had a mental development disorder and was declared ‘mentally retarded.’ Doctors even declared her to be bedridden for life. However, her parents did not give up on her, and they helped her become independent.

A documentary film on Benzy and her mother Ms. Kavita Kumar’s journey

Despite suffering from partial paralysis and not being able to talk fluently, Benzy developed an incredible talent for singing. Her musical journey began when she was two years old, and it took four years for her to sing her first raag. At the age of five, she started training in Indian classical music. Many teachers gave up on her because she could not sit in one place for long and focus. It was only when a 79-year-old music teacher agreed to recite the basic notes and raagas to her without expecting her to sit at one place that she started learning music.

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Within two years, she became well-versed in a few of the raagas, and at the age of seven, she gave her first-ever stage performance. To further augment her talent, her parents decided to record her music and send it to singer Shubha Mudgal for feedback and guidance. Ms Mudgal recognized Benzy’s talent and encouraged her parents to continue her training. While recording in studios was not an easy task for Benzy, as wearing headphones and singing on a track were new concepts for her, she recorded her first album titled ‘Basic Raagas’ at the age of nine.

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At the age of 10, Benzy recorded her second album titled ‘Koshish.’ She won her first national award from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE). Since then, she has won many other honors, including two appearances in the Limca Book of World Records. In 2005, she became the first autistic child to release a music album, and in 2014, she became an autistic person with the maximum number of music albums in the world. So far, Benzy has recorded 11 albums.

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Benzy’s story is a true inspiration. She has overcome tremendous odds to become an award-winning singer and performer. Her parents’ love and support have been a significant factor in her success. Benzy’s journey shows that with determination, hard work, and unconditional love, people with disabilities can achieve great things. Her story is a reminder that every person has the potential to make a significant impact in the world, regardless of their challenges.

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Read Benzy’s full story here published in

Above information, video and print story is provided by Ms.Kavita Kumar mother of Benzy.

Artwork by Dhrov Tikoo

Creative representation for the story of Benzy is done by our supertalented CreativeSaathi associate Dhrov Tikoo