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Celebrate Autism Pride Day, every day

Today is Autism Pride Day, a day that recognises the importance of feeling a sense of pride in people with autism as well as to bring about a positive change in the way we look at our world and the different kinds of people who inhabit it. We bring you stories - courageous, motivating and funny - of people who remind us why in fact every day is a day to feel proud and celebrate these differences..

Alvin Jerson was just three years old when he could write the names of Malayalam movies in different ways. Music too was an early passion. So, what if Alvin couldn't sit through formal music lessons, he simply taught himself!

Every year, come 2 April, the world lights up blue to mark World Autism Awareness Day and this column by one of our most eloquent writers and mom to a child with autism, Anupama Bakhshi reminds us of the myriad meanings in that shade of blue.

Some other moms to share their stories were Nalini Srivastava, a Lucknow-based teacher, who is a major source of support and motivation for many other parents with children with autism. Another mom's story, loved by many Newz Hook readers, is that of Pratibha Bhatnagar, whose son Akshay Bhatnagar is a national award winner, sportsman and dancer.

What do you call a boy who swims and runs like a champion and cooks like a Masterchef pro? Well, you call him Varun Sawant. This 21-year-old Mumbai lad's hyperactive nature has led to him developing some incredible skills!

Equally versatile in the music space is Mohammed Usaid Shaikh, a drummer, singer and pianist, who is adept at the keyboard too. This 19-year-old took to music at the age of four and has not stopped exploring. Also a skilled dancer, Usaid has ambitions of becoming a graphic designer.

Art is Basil Joseph's field of interest. Just 21 years old, this young man from Kerala has held many painting exhibitions. His work was even displayed at the Kochi Muziris Biennale this year.

Along side Basil's display at the Kerala event, was that of Niranjan Ravi, a budding photographer who is also exceptional at sports. Niranjan has won three gold medals in skating at the Special Olympics

He may have had it rough after being diagnosed with autism but today Thrissur-based Arun Prasad, has a thriving business running a photocopy shop in this Kerala town. His charming and friendly nature makes him a popular young man.

And finally, the young adults who got their fingers inked for the first time in this election. Take a bow - Brian Varghese Pradeep, Akshay Bhatnagar, Marwan Munavvar and Yash Premrajan. Some of these youngsters had to overcome some hassles to vote, but they finally triumphed

These stories remind us that differences are to be cherished and celebrated.

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