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#BeingMom - Vinayana Khurana's creative side was enhanced by mother Neerja

In our month-long campaign, #BeingMom, we bring you the story of Neerja Sharma Khurana, mother to budding poet and writer Vinayana Khurana.

When daughter Vinayana was diagnosed with a disability at six months, relatives urged Neerja Sharma Khurana and her husband to visit temples and approach babas to "cure her daughter.

Advice that Neerja ignored, She knew exactly what Vinayana needed and made sure she got it, starting with the correct diagnosis. Vinayana was taken to a few doctors after her parents noticed the difficulty she had in undergoing some physical movements. Neerja decided to take Vinayana to the Spastics Society in Delhi and it is here that she was diagnosed properly.

I realised that cerebral palsy is not curable and that affected her physical activities only and not mental. So, I decided to focus on building that. She loved reading books and I introduced her to the world of literature and would give her puzzles occasionally. She did all of that with enthusiasm. Once you are fully aware of your child's disability, you can focus on their strengths and help to empower them.

And Neerja has done that in many ways, be it in supporting Vinayana in her desire to finish her education and later to venture into the literary world.

Vinayana passed the National Eligibility Test (NET) thanks to her hard work, determination and lots of support from family. Neerja says everyone at home has been a part of Vinayana's success. "We have never considered her as a disabled child. She was like any other child fighting with her brother and loving us unconditionally. She has always made sure she works towards her interests and areas where she know she can excel. Neerja is firmly convinced that family atmosphere plays a major role in a child's development.

Neerja, school teacher, quit her job so she could be with Vinayana full-time. She started taking tuitions at home where Vinayana would also join in. She would interact with the other kids and help them with their projects and this early inclusion played an important part in developing her personality.

"Every child is gifted. It all matters how you give them a platform to showcase their abilities. There is no need for parents to feel guilty about their child's disability. Whether you have a disabled child or not, you have to cross certain milestones. Work together with your child and pay special attention to them. Most importantly, don't make them feel cautious of their disability, says Neerja.

Uma K, a close relative and special educator, says watching Vinayana and Neerja work together is truly an inspiration for all families who has a child with a disability.

"Neerja left her job to spend time with her family and give special attention to Vinayana. When she started tuitions at home, Vinayana used to be with her. When Vinayana started developing interest in literature, Neerja used to write down what her words. Our family has never seen Vinayana as a child with a disability. We knew she was talented. With Neerja's support, Vinayana could bring out the best in her, says Uma.

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