Get-hooked November 26, 2020
#FutureChamps- Art & color make up 11-year-old Ayman’s world
In our #FutureChamps campaign, today we feature eleven-year-old Ayman Shakkeem from Kochi. A young and budding artist, Ayman was diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome at a young age. But his love for art and colors is what makes his life fulfilling.
When you take one look at eleven-year-old Ayman Shakkeem’s art-works, the color combinations and beauty cannot be missed. Diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), a severe kind of epilepsy that starts in childhood, Ayman gets regular seizures owing to which he has to undergo rigorous treatment. But all the physical limitations hasn’t affected his love for art and colors. Ayman is truly unstoppable.
A disability diagnosis
Nifiya and Shakkeem, Ayman’s parents, are established architects based in Abu Dhabi and Kochi. During Ayman’s early years, the family was living in Abu Dhabi. They started noticing not just behavioral issues but developmental delays in their son. He used to get occasional seizures too. Within a few months, Ayman was diagnosed with LGS that causes learning difficulties and developmental delays which can be severe to moderate. Behavioral problems are yet another symptom of LGS.
Though Ayman received early intervention and therapies in Abu Dhabi, Nifiya and Shakkeem felt that their son could prosper better in India and they moved to their hometown in Kochi which Nifiya says was one the best decisions. According to them, parents with disabilities get more support and the child has better exposure in India.
Ayman regularly gets around ten seizures due to which he falls often. So he needs constant support. “Since childhood, we knew something was different about Ayman, but we did not know what it was. He had difficulties to read and write. But we lacked any awareness about the condition. Now that we know, we can reach out to him in a better way”, says Nifiya.
Ayman is currently studying in class three at an inclusive school in the city. He loves going to school, thanks to his supportive teachers and peers who always keeps a watch on him.
“Though Ayman is eleven years old, his cognitive skills are that of a five year old. So we need a support system in school that reaches out to him. We are glad to have found this school”, says Shakkeem.
Tryst with art
Ayman always loved coloring and painting since childhood. But it took to the next level during lockdown. He had a lot of time in hand and Nifiya decided to experiment with Ayman’s skills. As soon as he was given colors and papers, Ayman painted his heart out. Now, he has over 30 works to his credit, all of them abstract.
“We have given him the freedom to paint what he wants. We do not want to teach him anything. Let him do what his heart says”, says Shakkeem who points out that most of his works are on acrylic, crayons and pencils.
Ayman has also received training for a while with a clay artist just so that his fine motor skills could be improved. “He was taught the basics. But the teacher has asked us to let Ayman do what he wants to. Giving him a formal training doesn’t work well”, says Shakkeem.
Ayman recently won a gift hamper for his work from ‘Dabble PlayArt Crayons’. An ardent fan of football, Ayman loves sports too.
“We do not want to force him to do anything. In fact, even the process of painting, let him enjoy what he does. His younger brother Ahyan is also very supportive of Ayman”, says Nifiya and Shakkeem together.
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