Budding poet Neerada uses words to shatter notions about autism
Just 17 years old, Neerada Saseendran has already published two books. This teenager on the autism spectrum is raring to make her mark in the literary world.
In poetry, Neerada Saseendran finds a powerful medium to express her views about life. Through words, this 17 year old writes about current affairs and other topics close to her heart.
Words also offer her a way to shatter the various myths about autism. As a person on the spectrum, this is something especially close to Neerada's heart. The maturity of her published works, Tender Tweets and Dew Drops has left most readers stunned especially when they find out how young she is.
A resident of Kozhikode, Kerala, Neerada was diagnosed with autism when she was about two years old. Her mother Mini Saseendran was determined not to compromise on her education and Neerada joined a special school in the city. The family moved cities often and were based in Chennai, Kochi and then Bahrain. It was at Bahrain that Neerada had the benefit of exposure to therapies and basic life skills that helped her a lot.
Today she is an independent minded teenager who spends her time doing what she loves best, which is poetry. But Mini says getting here was not easy.
I was working with Life Insurance Corporation when Neerada was diagnosed with autism and I used to take occasional breaks from work for her therapies. Soon after I was asked to leave work. I had to file a case against the company which is still ongoing. We moved to Kochi where Neerada was provided with therapies. Since only my husband was working, we faced many financial constraints. - Mini Saseendran, Neerada's mother
Mini says she noticed Neerada's love for poetry when she was as young as nine. She typed out something that sounded interesting on her computer as she had difficulties in writing. Fluent in Malayalam and English, she prefers to write in English.
She has published two books and has plans to publish many more. Her favourite topics are relationships, family, nature, politics and even about jawans and their heroism, says Mini.
Neerada, who loves to read, loves the books of Ruskin Bond. She adores his style and wants to follow his example. However, Mini, Neerada's biggest pillar of strength, is worried about her future.
Like all parents who have children with autism, I am anxious about how to make her independent and secure. There are no NGOs or government facilities that offer a secure environment, says Mini.
Navaneeth Krishnan, Neerada's brother, is also a strong supporter of her dreams. He trains her in computers and introduces her to all the latest technologies so she can become independent.
"I have always wanted to support Neerada and her dreams. I have done research on autism and found that the needs and requirements of each child is different. As a family, we stay together to give her all the best things, says Navaneeth, whose pride in his sister in evident in his voice.
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