Diagnosed with autism, Milan Babu & mother Seena worked together to be empowered
13-year-old Milan Babu from Kochi was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. For his mother Seena Babu, her son’s autism diagnosis was devastating. But she gathered all broken pieces and started afresh just so that she could empower her son. Seena’s journey shows how never giving up on kids with autism is the main step towards their empowerment.
When Milan Babu, now 13 years old, was diagnosed with autism his mother Seena Babu had given up all hopes. But that was due to her lack of awareness about the disability. Today, Milan who is also an aspiring singer, gives so much of hope to Seena and her husband who wants to see their son achieving great heights in years to come. According to the proud parents, never giving up is their mantra towards empowering son Milan.
An autism diagnosis
“He started showing symptoms of autism soon after he began to go to pre-school”, recollects Seena. Milan was unable to read or write and merely repeated what was being told to him. Basically, he couldn’t think or express well which worried his parents. Since his physical development was fine, Seena was unable to understand her son’s needs. So she consulted him to a few doctors. After tests, Milan was diagnosed with autism. “His diagnosis happened at the age of three. So we could start early intervention and therapies”, says Seena.
Though his speech is affected, Milan loves to sing. Currently he is pursuing class eight at Navajeevan Special School in Kochi, the city where his family is settled. Before that, Milan was admitted to a mainstream school where he just could not adapt with the environment.
“Math was extremely difficult for him. He couldn’t calculate or do sums. Teachers made him pass for exams and class tests, but we all knew this cannot go on for long, especially when he had to be promoted to higher classes”, says Seena. This is what prompted her to admit Milan into a special school, “which was one of the best decisions that I made”, she says.
A passionate singer
According to Seena, Milan started showing his love for music from a very young age. Though he wasn’t much of a movie buff, now Milan ardently watches Malayalam movies mainly for the songs so that he can hum it along with what is being played on TV.
He plays the Karaoke and has sung for various events and competitions. He had learnt music for a while along with other children without disabilities. But he was uncomfortable continuing it for long after which he stopped. Seena says that Milan is at his best and most comfortable while singing.
“He is too young to think what he wants to do in the future. But as far as we know, he can make a career in music. For someone like me who was depressed after my son’s diagnosis, there is so much to look forward now. It is important to keep your child engaged. Identify their strengths and support them always. I have noticed that there are many talented youngsters with autism out there, but they are denied platforms”, says Seena, who has a lot of support from her husband and daughter to raise Milan and also to bring out the best in him.
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