Sherin & Neerada’s deep bond of friendship is rooted in understanding & respect
Young poets Sherin Mary Zachariah and Neerada Saseendran with autism have beaten all odds to publish their own books. They share many things in common which led to a deep bond of friendship between the two teenagers. On Autism Pride Day, we explore on how they help each other to become better each day.
Sherin Mary Zachariah and Neerada Saseendran, both of whom are 17 years of age, are budding poets who have published their own books. In spite of having autism, these teenagers have beaten all odds to chase their passion. Their biggest asset are supportive families who stand by them throughout their journey. But even thicker is the heart-warming friendship between Sherin and Neerada that has helped them become better individuals. Today, on Autism Pride Day, their mothers talk about their blossomed friendship and how this beautiful bond has helped both of them grow.
For every young girl, a friend to whom they can confide everything is important. For teenagers with autism, it is not any different. But since most of them do not know how to express themselves, expressing their friendship can be different. Sherin’s mother Sangeetha John says that since both the girls are minimally verbal, they express themselves through their writings, most of which is poetry.
Sherin and Neerada have been friends for over seven years now. It was their mothers who bonded first and spent time together. Neerada’s mother Mini Saseendran and Sangeetha have been thick friends for nearly a decade now.
When Sherin and Neerada were children, me and Mini had no awareness about autism or did not know where to reach out for help. Both of us were searching in the dark. But we were also glad that we had each other to share what we went through. Nobody was ready to accept what we had to say. We used to keep reading articles about autism and that is how we really came to know about the disability and its needs. We supported each other and stood by through thick and thin-Sangeetha John, Sherin’s mother
Until a few years back, Sherin and Neerada used to send long e-mails with their poems and writings. In fact, they loved to discuss everything under the sun varying from topical issues, nature, politics, cinema and what not! “But now they have shifted to WhatsApp. They exchange their writings there. It is lovely to see how they share their excitement with each other after writing something new, says Sangeetha.
While Sherin lives in Kochi, Neerada is from Kozhikode. It has been a year since both of them met. But Sangeetha says that has not changed the bond that they share with each other. Both Sangeetha and Mini agrees that this communication between the girls have helped them a lot. “I always tell parents and therapists that children with special needs must communicate with each other. In fact, there are sessions in western countries where children with special needs sit together and share things. I feel Sherin and Neerada’s friendship is God’s gift. Young girls must have friends during their teenage, and I’am glad they found each other says Sangeetha.
Mini recollects how they noticed the in-depth friendship of the two girls and both the mothers couldn’t be happier.
“The only friend Neerada ever had is Sherin. Both of them do not know to express their emotions. But we know that there is a close bond between both the girls. Even though they do not meet occasionally, they know that they are there for each other, says Mini.
In spite the limitations due to a disability, Sherin and Neerada loves each other’s company. What makes it even more special is the respect and love showered on that friendship by their families.