How My Son’s Autism Showed Me Another Side of Neurodiversity

How My Son’s Autism Showed Me Another Side of Neurodiversity: Embracing Life’s Full Circle

Life often has a way of surprising us with unexpected challenges and revelations, leading us on unexpected journeys that transform our perspectives and challenge our perceptions. For me, this revelation, this transformative journey began with my son’s diagnosis of autism at a tender age of less than two years. At first, the news felt like a whirlwind, turning the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of my life upside down. The journey that followed, filled with early interventions, assessments, and meeting new people, led me to discover an integral part of myself that I had long been unaware of – my own neurodiversity. As time passed, I began to connect the dots and see the bigger picture, realizing that embracing neurodiversity would open up a world of understanding, compassion, and self-discovery.

Today, as I reflect on the path I’ve walked, I see how my son’s autism has beautifully completed the full circle of my life. In this blog, I want to share my personal journey of embracing neurodiversity through the lens of my son’s autism, and how it has transformed my perspective on life and self-discovery.

The Whirlwind of a Diagnosis

The day my son was diagnosed with autism marked a pivotal moment in my life. Yuvaan’s autism diagnosis was a turning point in our lives. The news filled us with a mix of emotions – from concern and fear to determination and hope. Initially, the news left me feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and uncertain about what the future held. I was grappling with emotions of confusion, denial and guilt. Yet, in the midst of this chaos, I knew I had to be strong for my son and embrace the journey ahead.

Yuvaan’s Early intervention was initiated, after we sought multiple opinions from experts and doctors to ensure we were providing the best possible support for Yuvaan’s development. Throughout his assessment process, I couldn’t help but notice most of those traits in myself that resonated with me and what I was learning about autism. However, at the time, my focus was entirely on my son’s well-being, and I put aside any thoughts about myself.

The Shift in Perspective

As Yuvaan’s early intervention continued, I found myself increasingly immersed in a world of autism and neurodiversity. I attended seminars, parent empowerment programs, and various trainings to better understand and support my son’s needs. As I delved into understanding autism and connecting with other parents in similar situations, I started to see neurodiversity in a whole new light. I realized that society often perceives neurodivergent individuals as “different,” but embracing neurodiversity meant celebrating the unique strengths and perspectives that come with it. My son’s autism wasn’t a limitation; it was a beautiful aspect of his identity that shaped the way he experienced the world. The more I learned, the more I started to recognize the extreme similarities between Yuvaan’s experiences and my own. I began to reflect on my past interactions with others and the challenges I had faced in social settings. The puzzle pieces started to fit together, and I realized that I, too, might be neurodivergent.

Connecting the Dots of My Past: Facing the Truth

As I became more accepting of my son’s autism, I started to draw parallels between his experiences and my own journey through life. I recalled moments from my childhood and adolescence where I struggled with every social situation, sensory differences, experiences, or communication styles. Looking back, I could see how my own neurodivergent traits had been present all along but were never acknowledged or understood. Admitting the possibility of my neurodiversity was not an easy task. It meant confronting years of self-doubt, anxiety, and misunderstanding. Seeking answers, I took online assessments and started reading extensively about different neurodivergent conditions. Eventually, I gathered the courage to undergo a formal assessment at a reputable institute. The results revealed what I had suspected deep down – I was severely autistic and also had other co-occurring mental health conditions.

Discovering My Neurodiversity: A New Perspective

While the interactions and the whole assessment process during my own diagnosis initially felt overwhelming, it eventually brought clarity and a profound sense of self-discovery. My journey with Yuvaan had opened my eyes to the world of neurodiversity, and in that process, I had found myself. Accepting my neurodivergent identity was liberating; it allowed me to make sense of my past struggles and embrace my unique way of thinking and processing the world.

Understanding my own neurodiversity not only empowered me but also transformed the way I saw the world. I realized that neurodiversity is not a flaw to be corrected but a valuable aspect of the human experience. Every individual, neurotypical or neurodivergent, has something unique to offer to society. It’s essential to create an inclusive world that celebrates and accommodates the diverse ways our brains work.

The Ripple Effect: Parenting Yuvaan and Embracing Neurodiversity

With my understanding of neurodiversity, my approach to parenting Yuvaan has taken a more informed and compassionate turn over the period of time. In last 4 years, I have recognized the importance of celebrating his strengths and providing him with the support he needs, rather than focusing on “fixing” his challenges. Our home became a safe space where Yuvaan could thrive and be himself, free from judgment. As I continued to grow and embrace neurodiversity, I noticed how it positively impacted not only my relationship with my son but also with others in my life. I became an advocate for neurodivergent individuals, spreading awareness, and fostering an inclusive environment through SpecialSaathi. By sharing our journey, I hoped to inspire others to celebrate their own neurodivergent traits or those of their loved ones.

Finding Peace and Self-Discovery, Reinventing Myself

As I write this blog on 21st July on his birthday, I believe Yuvaan came into my life for a purpose – to help me find, discover, and reinvent myself. Through my son’s autism, I have learned not only about him but also about myself. Embracing neurodiversity has given me the opportunity to connect with a diverse community, advocate for acceptance and inclusion, and discover new passions and talents. With this newfound understanding, I began to find peace within myself. The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of my life were slowly coming together, and I no longer felt like an outsider in my own story. Embracing neurodiversity allowed me to accept and celebrate the uniqueness of both my son and myself. It was liberating to finally comprehend the “why” behind my life’s challenges and strengths.

Understanding Life’s a full circle: The Journey of Self-Discovery

Yuvaan’s autism diagnosis was a profound turning point in my life, leading me to a journey of self-discovery and acceptance. It opened my eyes to another side of neurodiversity, and in doing so, life came full circle for me. Embracing my own neurodiversity has been an eye-opening experience that has allowed me to better understand and support my son. Through this journey, I gained a deeper understanding of myself, my son, and the intricacies of human experiences. The journey from “fear to denial”, from “confusion to acceptance”, from “spreading awareness to advocating” and now actually “fighting for the rights of persons with disabilities” was transformative, and I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness of PWDs more specifically neurodivergent individuals. I have come to appreciate the beauty of neurodiversity and its vital role in shaping our world.

Furthermore, Yuvaan’s neurodivergence has not only taught me patience, resilience, and unconditional love but has also brought a new purpose and meaning to my life. I look forward to continuing this journey of growth, acceptance, and advocacy for neurodiversity, both for myself and my wonderful son, Yuvaan. The journey of acceptance and understanding brought me to the realization that my son’s autism was the missing piece of my life’s puzzle. It was the final connection that completed the full circle, and I saw the beauty in how life had guided me to this point. The challenges, the joys, the tears, and the laughter had all played their part in shaping the person I had become.

As I continue to support my son and advocate for neurodiversity, I hope others can find inspiration in our life’s story. Our life’s jigsaw puzzle may seem chaotic and uncertain at times, but every piece has its place, and each connection brings us closer to understanding the how, why, and what of our lives. Embrace differences, accept neurodiversity, celebrate uniqueness, and witness how the upside-down pieces come together to form a beautiful picture of acceptance and love.

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi
(Actually Autistic)
Founder SpecialSaathi
Superproud Mom of Awesome Yuvaan


Neurotypical behaviors!!

Neurotypical behaviors that a neurodivergent won’t get and its absolutely fine

Well we all as therapists , parents , teachers and other professional are working hard to teach and develop certain important social cues in our neurodivergent children . In this race we forget , we need to respect their individuality and it is fine that they don’t fit in. We on the other hand should work harder to understand our own neurodivergent children

So today I am talking about certain behaviors that we NTS do and what ND would actually feel about it
So today I am talking as a neurodivergent ND.

So, Lets begin

1.Neurotypicals go with the rule , eating different food every day
Well a ND would feel that same food for them daily can be quite reassuring and relaxing experience . This helps them to regulate sensorily as they don’t have to explore a different texture orally. Eating some thing daily makes it predictable and comfortable.So just think eating different food daily could make their life so difficult

2. NTs go with the rule sitting on the chair
Well a ND would feel more regulated and calm on floor as they have and face challenges of poor body awareness , coordination and struggle with muscle tone too. So sitting on chair would actually dysregulate them . So NDs are quite right on not appreciable of sitting on chair because of all the above challenges mentioned

3. NTs consider giving eye contact is important indicator of paying attention and showing respect to a speaker
Well NDs feels that giving eye contact is not a sign of respect but too overwhelming and not so comforting to build a connection . Sustaining an eye contact is more stressful

4. NTs always say how are you and promote this is important
Well NDs project that this kind of social expectation is not really realistic because when you ask or greet a person how are you , you are asking them how are you but in reality you really don’t care how the person is feeling on the other side
Also when NTs give replys of I am fine , thankyou . This socially appropriate answer makes a NDs confused and feel that the person might be broken inside and the answer they are giving is not answered with honesty . So remember NDs are most honest and you cant defy it

5. NTs usually have surface level interests
NDs usually oppose them because deep interest and hyper focussing gives them joy , motivation and satisfaction. They cannot do things only superficially

6. NTs usually do a lot of things in one day
NDs assert here that they have struggle with energy levels , NDs cannot socialise , meet work dead lines and many other things . They will land up with masking and then an intensive burnout . Sothey really don’t like the idea or behaviors of NTs doing lot of things in one day

Well I really don’t know how many resonate with the NDs point of view about NTs typical behaviors , but I do

And if you think , some where they are so correct , do we actually care when we socially greet anyone “ how are you ? “
Well we have to change the mindset and normalise how NDs behave and feel about many social cues and expectations
This can actually park a debate but we must value NDs voice and perspective because we NTs follow the social rule respecting and doing perspective taking

I now end this blog with a message that you can reflect on and do share your ideas , opinions and arguments if any
Read this “ there are many neurotypical forms of behaviors that are really unnecessary”

Thankyou for reading my blog
Creative Efforts and NT but neurodivergent affirming – Heena Sahi

bloggersaathi Junior

Navneet Kulkarni’s thoughts


Decoding “Neurodivergence”

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

There is controversy about the source of this quote. Regardless of the source, I think about this idea many times. For example, when I go to my brother’s house and see the little fish tank, I always remember this saying. The question that I think about is:

What kind of environments are right for neurodivergent individuals?

This is an important question that I will consider in other posts too. Today, I will start by describing one environment that has worked for me. HashHackCode provides inclusive tech education and mentorship. I started with HashHackCode in May 2020. Because of Covid, I started with online classes. I worked individually with the mentor. Now, I am doing an apprenticeship program with HashHackCode.

Why HashHackCode works for me?

HashHackCode (HHC) works for me because it is specifically designed for neurodivergent individuals. In the earlier courses, HHC mentors taught me step by step. Mr. Manu Sekhar and his team gave me detailed practice assignments that are easy to follow.

Now that I am in the apprenticeship program, I go to the HHC office. The office is well designed and comfortable. I work with a team of other neurodivergent coders. Some parents are also part of the team. I feel comfortable and relaxed at HHC.

Over the last two years, I have become more interested in coding. I am hoping to continue working with the HHC team in the future. 

I had tried other coding programs before, but they did not spark my interest. I have become more interested after joining HHC.

My HHC Journey

First, I did ten levels of Creative Coding. Then, I did a course on professional web development.  During this course, I built the first version of the LIFESMART website.  Then I did the Datawhiz course.  After learning basics of mobile application development with flutter, we started working on web development.

Glad I did it!

I am glad that I decided to join HashHackCode. It is not just a coding program. Mr. Manu Sekar creates the right environment for his students. I did not have the right environments for me when I was going to school, so we homeschooled.  I could learn at my own pace and homeschooling was right for me. But now I need environments that are right for me.  HachHackCode is one such environment. 

In addition to classes, we have events such as the Christmas party in 2022.  We also volunteered at a TechDiva event designed to encourage women into coding careers.

I hope to work with neurodivergent coders and others as a team on projects in the community soon.

What kind of environments work for your son or daughter?  Join the conversation here.

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

bloggersaathi Junior

My Mumbai Travel Blog (Part 2) by Lavanya Iyer Bloggersaathi junior

Part 2 : “And the Fun in Mumbai continues.. “

Welcome to my Mumbai travel blog part 2. My travels continued for the second week in Mumbai!

Day 1 : Chitti’s (aunt’s) house to Mani Mamu’s (uncle’s) house : “I love birds! A cockatiel sat on my shoulders”

I love birds! I got excited as we went to Mani mamu’s (uncle’s) house. There were two cockatiels and many budgies in their house. One cockatiel sat on my shoulders. I was so excited and happy. It was fun to meet their daughter Naira. We played with clay there and came back home in Chittappa’s (uncle’s)car.

Day 2 : Chitti’s (aunt’s) house to VVMC park : “Meeting other homeschoolers”

Next day we went to VVMC park. I saw a lot of birds in the park. I love birds, I love to see them flying and chirping. There were a lot of children in the park too and we had a lot of fun. There were slides and swings and wonderful rides. It was a park for kids and we also met other homeschoolers like me there.

Day 3 : Chitti’s (aunt’s) house to tailor shop : “Searching on the streets for a tailor shop”

One day we went to find a tailor shop to stitch a lehenga choli for me to wear in Anu akka’s (sister’s) marriage. We saw several shops but we did not find any tailor shop to stitch my lehenga choli. At last we found one lady who agreed to stitch it. It was a relief to finally find her.

Day 4 : Chitti’s (aunt’s) house to Aaji Aajoba park and Calisthenics training centre : “Kesar Lassi was so yummy”

Next day we went by train to Malad and took an auto from the station to Aaji Aajoba park. There was a drawing day for homeschoolers there. There were also rides in the park. They were fun. Next we went to the Calisthenics training centre as the park got closed. There I did a lot of fun activities like hanging on the bars. When we came back, I ate Pani puri and Kesar lassi in the shop near the station. It was so yummy.

Day 5 : Chitti’s (aunt’s) house to a book exhibition : “My favourite Hanuman story book”

Next day we went to a book exhibition. There we saw many books. There I found a Hanuman story book. I started reading it. It was fun to read the book standing there. We bought some other books and came back home in Chittappa’s (uncle’s) car with my cousin, Anshu.

Thank you for reading my blog! Hope you enjoyed!

Author Lavanya Iyer

Lavanya Iyer is 9 years old Neurodivergent. She loves to read, draw, paint, and do traditional dance. She is a newly incorporated CreativeSaathi junior and a bloggersaathi junior with our team now.

Artwork by Dhairya pal

Creative representation of Lavanya’s blog is done by our extremely talented CreativeSaathi associate Dhairya Kumar Pal.