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Samiksha’s journey evidence of how early intervention makes a difference

Unlike earlier days, awareness about developmental disorders is much more amongst parents now. With right therapies and special education, children with developmental disorders like autism, attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD), Down syndrome or cerebral palsy can lead an independent life along with their peers. Samiksha Nair, a 16-year-old girl with autism from Pune is the ideal example to how diagnosis, early intervention and right therapies can help in the growth of a child.

Samiksha's mother Jyoti Nair remembers how her daughter used to have extreme behavioural changes and mood swings as a child due to autism. Since Jyoti herself was unaware on how to handle it, it was quite stressful and difficult. Jyoti points out that giving Samiksha early intervention and therapies at the right time was the best decision of her life. Today, just like any other girl of her age, Samiksha leads a happy and fun life.

It has been an incredible, difficult and exciting journey to see Samiksha grow and improve over the years. That huge change is truly inspiring and that is what makes the journey unique. Everyday used to be a task for us together. I tried and understood what her likes are and I realised she loves music. So she started focusing on it. That made a huge difference-Jyoti Nair

Samiksha has been following her love and passion for music. Recently, she completed the first level of her Hindustani classical music with a score of 71%. This teenager has decided to keep learning music which has a positive impact on her in many ways.

Samiksha is now studying in class 9 at Vidya Jyoti School for slow learners. Initially, she used to have difficulties coping up with her lessons. But in due course of time, she has ensured to become number 1 in her class too. Her school follows the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and Samiksha is all set to gear up for her board exams next year.

In spite of her busy schedule, Samiksha ensures to stay fit too. A passionate runner, Samiksha participates in marathons along with her mother who is also a runner. Samiksha recently completed her 5kms run and the teenager cannot hide her excitement.

"When she was younger, I never thought that she will improve so well. Now she has better social skills and does not have any temper. She keeps trying her hand in new things and wants to explore. For me, this is something great to watch her grow so well. I keep telling parents of children with autism to never lose hope. Do not think of their disability because they are children, just like their peers who want to lead a happy and carefree life. Try and teach them new things and focus on their strengths. Children with autism are innocent and loving, says Jyoti Nair.

Jyoti also says that since autism spectrum disorder is a wide area, each child is unique and different. Their needs also keep varying. A child with autism can do well in life only if they have constant support and love from their parents.

"Samiksha is a very lovely young girl, a typical teenager whose hobbies and idols keep changing with the trends. I have had a few sessions with her and I found her to be diligent, attentive and always striving to put in her best in whatever task she undertakes. She presents her work meticulously. She is my role model and she always inspires me to take part in the many runs that she participates in, says Nandita Paul, a special educator who takes sessions for Samiksha at Artsphere.

ALSO READ: Down syndrome has not stopped Anita from chasing her modelling dreams

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