Advaith is a gem on the Autism spectrum. He can make beautiful jewellery, swim, play keyboard and guitar, loves basketball and horse riding as well as skating. This youngster of many talents is non-verbal. Let’s get to his wonderful family – Father Rajesh, mother Smrithy and elder brother Adhithya. Together they have created a loving family and a wonderful support system for Advaith, or Addu as he is fondly called. Let’s start off by chatting with his mother Smrithy. Her blog and YouTube channel are a source of inspiration for other special needs parents.
Q) Would you like to share your Autism journey with our readers…
GENESIS- My parenting journey from one of confusion and chaos to that of calmness and confidence
I am Smrithy. I was a Mathematics lecturer in Kerala and after marriage I shifted to Bangalore with my husband.We are blessed with two kids, Adhithya (13 years old) and Advaith (10years old).Advaith was diagnosed with ADHD and Autism when he was 2.3 years.When my son was diagnosed with Autism, I felt depressed and found it difficult to accept it. I was not aware of autism and everyone was pointing to his odd behaviours. Everyone tried to find fault with me, even accusing me of bad parenting and ascribing his behaviour to it.That was the biggest challenge I faced in my life. I myself wasn’t aware of autism and no one tried to understand me. In the midst of all these negative energies that was thus generated, I suffered from severe depression.
After some counselling sessions from professionals, my husband gave me all the moral support and encouraged me to learn about Autism. I began to slowly accept reality and was able to understand the importance of Early intervention. I learned driving and started talking him to therapy sessions. I enrolled myself into a one-year course in Special Education. That really helped me to understand my son and I realized that, “Autism is not a disease, it’s a disorder”.
Prior to this I was trying to cure Autism and that was a very difficult time in my life. Now I don’t try to “cure “Autism. I accept him and try to identify his strength.
I was working as a co-therapist for Advaith from the beginning. I started using visual schedules for structuring his days.My husband,my elder son Adhithya (who is 3.5 years older than Addu) and I sat together and worked on a proper plan for Addu. We were all clear about our roles and started working together for Addu with lots of love.
Addu was hyperactive and I thought of using his high energy level to teach him various sports activities.Physical activities and SI activities were followed diligently and consistently, and he started learning cycling, Scooty and swimming. Then we introduced Basketball dribbling and shooting. While introducing a new activity, he would cry a lot and refuse to cooperate. We introduced visual schedule for those activities and did them consistently. Then slowly he started cooperating. I was breaking down each goal into simple steps and giving him regular practice.This really helped him to achieve those skills and he started enjoying all those activities. Then we introduced Skating and that was a great decision. He showed great interest in Skating and was always moving on skates. Also he got appreciation and medals from Skating competitions. On seeing remarkable progress in him, we started sharing videos and thoughts with other parents.
My YouTube channel
My Blog Explains step by step methods which I used to train Advaith
Addu is using Avaz for communication.He can communicate for his needs,can initiate interactions, can express his feelings and difficulties through Avaz. Avaz is his voice. He learnt to type and can do simple data entry programs.
Q) Smrithy, tell us more about Addu’s little creations.
Addu was stimming a lot with long thread and I was thinking to replace that stimming to a meaningful activity. I introduced jewellery making to him.We started with gifting bracelets to his teachers. Then lots of friends motivated us to try different items. So slowly I introduced necklaces, ear rings, anklets, hair clips etc. I was learning from YouTube videos and I taught Addu to make all these. He was enjoying jewellery making and I created a page for exhibiting his products. Like that Addus Little Creations launched. Then we got lots of support,motivation and orders from lots of people. So we opened an online shop in his page itself. We created an account for Addu and all his customers are transferring money into his account. We are sending items by speed post throughout out India and Abroad. Please visit his page
Addu was not able to write after 8 years old, so I started teaching him typing. When I introduced typing he was not able to identify a single alphabet from the keyboard. So I breakdown the goals into simple steps and was working with him consistently. Now Addu can type using all keyboards including touch screen. Now he can do simple data entry programs and he is learning to store his account details of Addus Little Creations in Excel sheets.
Q) Your advice to other Autism parents….
This is the journey of a child who was in the severe end of the spectrum.
Mothers are the best therapist and love is the best method for children with Autism. It is very important to empower ourselves and to advocate for our kids. Please accept these children the way they are. Give them different kinds of exposure and different experiences. Then we can find out their strengths. Each child is different and has his or her own strengths and difficulties. Provide more focus to their strengths and at the same time work step by step on their difficulties too. Work consistently with proper planning. A structured environment will help the child to reduce anxiety and to calm down.Include sensory breaks in their daily schedule and give lots of physical activities. Art, craft and turn taking games are also very important. Academics is only one part and we need to give equal importance to self-help skills. It is very important to provide tools for communication like AAC. We should give primary focus to communication skills and then automatically other areas will develop.
Now let’s meet the star of the interview Advaith. Addu is answering questions using his communication tool, Avaz.
Q) How old are you?
I am 10 years old
Q) What are your hobbies Addu?
My hobbies are skating,swimming,cycling,scooter ride,playing basketball,jewellery making,badminton and horse riding
Q) Tell us about the medals you won in Special Olympics and other Competitions please…..
- I won two gold medals for Roller skating competitions conducted by Karnataka Disability Department in 2017 and in 2018.
- I won Silver medal in a Roller Skating Competition conducted by Special Olympics Bharath Karnataka in 2017.Special Olympics Bharat felicitated me as a Special athlete in state level.
Q) When did you learn skating? Do you practice everyday?
I learnt skating when I was 8 years old. I practice everyday in my apartment with my brother.I also go to skating classes during the weekends in Decathlon.
Q) You also enjoy music and playing Guitar, who taught you to play guitar? When did you start learning?
I enjoy listening to music and play the guitar and keyboard in my own.I started going to music class with Wesley uncle,when I was 8 years old.
Q) What are the favourite music you like to play on guitar?
I like to listen to the song OhSusanah!on the keyboard and the guitar.
Q) Do you like Horse riding? When did you learn? How frequently do you go for riding?
Horse riding is my favourite hobby. It helps me calm down I always wait for the weekends to come to go for horse riding. Pushpa aunty taught me horse riding. I started riding when I was 6 years old.
Q) Your Little Creations are wonderful.How many designs have you made so far?A few details please..
I like to stim with threads. So I enjoy making jewellery. I have made more than 100 designs so far. I have many customers abroad and in India. I am connected to my customers using Avaz.
In this video you can see all my designs and different products.More than 250 items I already made.
Q) How do you spend time with your brother?
I enjoy playing with my brother at home.We go to restaurants,malls and play gym together. I always enjoy his company.
Now let’s chat with Adhithya, a wonderful brother to Addu. Its not often that you come across a sibling who is so involved in the life of a special needs child. God Bless You!
Q) How old are you Adhithya? What are you studying?
I am 13 years old. I am studying in New Horizon Public school. I am in the 8th standard and I like chemistry.
Q) What are your hobbies Adhithya?
My hobbies are reading stories on science fiction and non-fiction books.
Q) How do you spent time with Addu?
I like playing with him at home. I play badminton, cycling and swimming with him. I like to go out with him for shopping ,to restaurants, play gym etc.
Q) Would you like to share a few memories of growing up with Addu?
Initially I felt jealous because I felt that, Addu is getting more attention but then my mother explained to me about Autism and what all the difficulties he was facing. My parents always try their best to treat us equally. I can tell you that he is the best sibling I could ever have.
Addu, may you reach greater heights and fulfill all your dreams dear. God Bless You!
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