Meet Akash, the musical genius who is amazing on stage
On 14 November India celebrates its future - our children. Here at NewzHook, we are celebrating them right through the month with profiles of children who remind us how special and unique they are. And how with the right support and encouragement, they can shine brightly.
Just 10 years old, Akash is always bursting with questions and quick to sing a song. He is so musically gifted that he has to hear a song just once to learn the lyrics.
Akash suffered from a speech disorder characteristic of autism
Its a remarkable ability in any child and its even more so in the case of Akash, given that he had ecolalia or repetitive speech, which is a typical feature of autism. He was diagnosed with autism fairly early, when he was less than two years old.
"I was devastated when I got the news", says his mother K Sri Bindu. "I even thought of doing something drastic like commit suicide but I had an older daughter and thankfully good sense and reason prevailed. "
Akash underwent speech therapy until he was six years old, when he started speaking. Today he is in Class 5 and attends an inclusive government school. He is a popular child, with many friends, and does not hesitate to take to the stage to show his musical skills. He takes lessons in Carnatic music and is also learning to play the keyboard.
"When I see him today, my heart is filled with pride". He is so curious about the world around him and always wants to know what is going on" - Bindu, Akash's mother
Akash also has a great sense of direction and knows the route to different cities, although he has never traveled outside Coimbatore.
"He knows how one can get to Chennai from Coimbatore, even though we have never been there", says Bindu. "And I know only one way to get to our home in Coimbatore, but Akash knows of alternative routes and guides me when there is a traffic jam", she laughs.
Akash shares a close bond with his older sister
Akash is very close to his older sister and cannot bear to be parted from her. He is also very punctual and wants things to follow a schedule. So if his sister is not back home from college at 4.30 PM as expected, he starts worrying.
"There is something very special about him", says Akila Vaidyanathan, founder-director of AMAZE Charitable Trust, which runs a centre for children with autism in Coimbatore. Akash spends a few hours here everyday after school.
"Compared to other children on the spectrum, he is very curious. He always wants to know the reason when something does not happen according to schedule, or why the menu has changed, etc. Given that he came to the centre five years ago knowing just one word, it is lovely to see this outgoing, self assured and confident child today" - Akila Vaidyanathan, AMAZE
As for Akash, he has just one route in mind for his future. To travel to the United States and work there!Read about the other children in the Children Who Inspire series: