KOZHIKODE: When Neerada Saseendran started responding ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to her parents’ queries through a mini laptop, Mini and Saseendran were full of excitement. And now, rising above all their expectations, the 13-year-old autistic child is talking to the world through her second book - ‘Dew Drops’, a compilation of short poems, stories and scribbles on contemporary issues.
Overcoming all the limitations, the young girl, who can barely speak, shares her opinions, perceptions and ideas through her writings. She even expresses her concern about autistic persons in her two books,‘Tender Tweets’, her first poetry collection published in 2013 and ‘Dew Drops’, to be published on Friday.
“High citadels are needed/ For hiding the autistics/ When the world around/ Laughs at them;” she writes in ‘Dew Drops.’ She also advises parents and teachers to help autistic children communicate as well as appreciate them as fellow beings.
“With communication being a major problem with autistic children, we were trying out different methods like showing multiple choice questions and the like to interact with her before realising her linguistic skills. And now when Neerada talks to us by typing, we even have to rely upon dictionary to get the meaning of the words she writes,” says an excited Mini, Neerada’s mother.
Neerada, who communicates her needs and wants in single words, depends on laptops for further interaction and during her casual talks with her parents and brother, her imaginations and creativity take the form of poems and stories. She writes in English with the training received from two years’ schooling at Bahrain and can also read Malayalam. “After finding out her innate talents, we often ask her whether she had something to write and at certain times she scribbles out some three or four lines and completes the works in the meantime when we again ask about it,” points out Mini.
Be it the Peshawar massacre, or the Israel-Palestine war, or the Endosulfan issue in Kerala, Neerada is aware of everything and has shared her feelings on them in her writings. Her concern over environment destruction and atrocities against women is also evident in her works.
And when asked about the hot issues in Kerala, the girl who keenly observes the day-to-day happenings, says, ”The bar bribe issue” and adds that NDTV is her favourite news channel.
Meanwhile, Neerada does not like the schooling system and often demands freedom from it. She has even expressed her dislike in both of her books. “She often used to ask us to stop the boredom in her life and we relieved her from it,” says Mini.
And when Mini warns of wasting quality time when Neerada sits idle without reading or writing, she says, “I am dreaming of poems and not simply wasting time.”
Saseendran K T, a chartered accountant in AlSalama Bank, Bahrain, and Navaneeth, a CA student, are Neerada’s father and brother.