Mental disability no bar to his hidden talent
He was born with autism and was unable to speak till he was five.
KADAPA: He was born with autism and was unable to speak till he was five. But today, thanks to the ‘never-say-die’ attitude of his parents, 20-year old Kamisetty Venkat of Proddatur has bagged several awards. The sheer determination of his parents helped him overcome the mental disability. K Radhakrishnaiah, a double graduate (BA, BEd) of Jammalamadugu married Visalakshi, a postgraduate in 1997 and later shifted to Proddutur. The couple gave birth to a son after three years, but to their dismay, he was born with health problems.
It is common for a newborn to cry, but Venkat didn’t make any sound let alone cry. Shortly after his birth, the boy’s skin shrunk and he became an ‘ugly’ infant. For the next five years, he could not utter the word ‘Amma’ (mother), which is generally the first word children say once they start speaking. His parents were helpless as Venkat could only cry.
They consulted different doctors and experts, spent large amounts of money, but there was no change in Venkat’s condition. Visalakshi and Radhakrishanaiah were heartbroken hearing the taunts and comments of neighbours and relatives. Many discriminated the boy for his ‘ugly’ appearance and inability to speak.
Meanwhile, she gave birth to a daughter, Vaishnavi. She fell ill unable to bear her son’s agony and hear the neighbours’ taunts. Her husband seeing his wife and son’s condition was distraught, but didn’t give up. He nurtured his bed-ridden wife to good health, while taking care of their child.
After she overcame her illness, Visalakshi continued to consult experts in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, but to no avail. One of the doctors advised the couple to teach their child how to speak. Her efforts yielded results, when Venkat after his sixth birthday was able to utter ‘Amma’ with much difficulty. The couple’s joy knew no bounds. Within no time, he became an expert in lip-reading. He used to catch his mother utter different words and repeat them and started to understand what they referred to.
From a child with inability to speak, he became a singing talent. The couple now faced another problem. No school came forward to admit him, but fortunately for Venkat, Gowtham School in Proddatur agreed to admit him. His parents were allowed to accompany him. In the next two years, Venkat was able to speak clearly and fluently. He even sang 400 songs.
To inspire others like him, she made Venkat give a programme. For two years from 2007, he participated in 300 different singing contests and won prizes and awards. In 2015, he received the National Child Award from President Pranab Mukherji and Prathiba Puraskar from the State government. His name also entered the Guinness Book of World Records among others for his talent.
“Due to Covid-19, he isn’t performing anywhere. I am contemplating producing a biopic film on him, so specially-abled children can benefit. I have prepared a script for the same,” an animated Visalakshi said, and urged any big-hearted film producer to lend a helping hand.
His mother’s efforts finally yielded results, when Venkat after his sixth birthday was able to utter ‘Amma’. His mother continued to teach Venkat how to speak. Within no time, he became an expert in lip-reading. He used to catch his mother utter different words and repeat them. In a short time, he became a singing talent. For two years from 2017, he took part in 300 different contests and won prizes and awards. In 2015, he received National Child Award from President Pranab Mukherji