Friday, November 26, 2010

Neighbours All

                                Leaving in a society, in an apartment complex, one cannot do away with your neighbours. When I say neighbors, I mean it in a very general manner of speaking, my next door neighbor, to my neighbors on my floor, to neighbors in my block to all of them in our housing society. Fortunately the first two categories of our neighbors have been very good to us, maybe even fantastic but  the 20% living in our complex have been giving me those minor pin pricks and probably some amusement when I recall these events. This is so with other parents, living in apartment complexes who also say the 80% are generally fine.
                                 Recalling these events, one of my “neighbors” in the adjacent block, apologized profusely beforehand telling me not to mistake her if she was wrong. Thinking it must be the usual questions about Ramam’s behavior/problem I asked her to go ahead. She said she dries her clothes in the common terrace and few of her clothes are missing. She was wondering if it was Ramam, by any chance who was throwing the clothes down. She recently lost some good bed sheets. I told her that there was a circular in the notice boards that the management has taken some action against some housekeeping staff who has been pilfering the clothes. I asked her, have you not read the notice? I also told her he does a whole lot of things he does but not definitely throwing clothes from the terrace. She still gives me the looks when I am with Ramam on the terrace. I think of it sometimes and brush it off as one of those many incidents.
                              We live on the 6th floor; the lift ride everyday also offers some interesting insights. There are some who maintain a much studied indifference to us, these silences are so loaded, and I wait for the lift to stop. Some try to have a word with my daughter. The domestic help party sometimes look at me is askance of his behavior. There are a myriad of expressions varying form sympathy to a frown to very rare instances of an expression bordering on disgust. Recently, Ramam was clapping his hands in the lift and an old man ordered me “teach your son manners”. I immediately rose in defense and said he was challenged. He immediately apologized, but I regretted much later having said that because Ramam kept pushing me away all the way to his therapy. I could have probably smiled and ignored that old man. Anyways the morning was ruined for me. Very few are actually friendly to Ramam and wish him a goodmorning or a  hi. 
                                           The award to the worst neighbor undisputably goes to this lady. She has an autistic son, probably very high functioning, but still in a state of denial to the point of being abusive to others. Another lady had told me the boy was autistic, and so I started observing this child. One day I walked upto her and told her my name is so and so, and my son is autistic. She immediately retorted my son is not.  Why am I hell bent on labeling somebody? I told her sorry; I do not wish to hurt your feelings. I walked away. An hour later she calls me up on the intercom and started howling at me. I asked her how do you know my apartment number. She went on I am a trained therapist; my husband is an IT professional. Do you know Bill Gates is autistic? I then asked her does it take away that man’s greatness. She then told me I have observed Ramam. He is quite ok. Why are you tarnishing his image and that hurt real bad.  She is entitled to her opinions about her son but has no business passing a judgment on my upbringing of Ramam. She stays away from all social gatherings in the society. I do not understand how this benefits her son. She told me wait and watch,” I shall make my son a world champion”. I wished her well and hung up. To this day when I hear the boy’s bike wheels crunching sound on the gravel, I walk a mile away. Then I think there is rejection within your own autistic community and then what to speak of the world? 

More GFCF Receipes:

Here are some of the recipes I tried this month
 Guava smoothie:
1 Guava
1 Banana
1 cup orange juice
1tsp lemon juice
1Tbsp honey
 2 Handful of ice.
                                Peel and slice the fruits in bite size chunks, add the juices and honey, put them in a blender and blend.

Protein mix:
                            Tried my hand at making a homemade protein mix for Ramam. I used finger millet, (500g approx), 50g ground nuts,  whole green gram, groundnuts, chick peas, roasted gram, 2-3 tablespoons of  horse gram ,black gram , boiled rice (250 g),3-4 small cardamom pods. I did not add almonds, as it may reduce the shelf life of the powder. Fry all these ingredients separately and bled into a fine powder. The powder has to be fine, otherwise it leaves a sediment layer when mixed with hot water. Take a tbsp of the powder; add required qty of sugar, and hot water. This mix is ideal when you wish to give your child a hot beverage substitute and not the usual tulsi tea. As Finger millet is the main ingredient it may have a cooling effect, and hence not so ideal in winter


Creamy Carrot soup:
                                    Cut the potatoes and carrot both 2 in numbers, into chunk sized pieces, I onion roughly chopped, substituted skimmed milk with almond milk, 1-2 garlic pods, pinch of saffron , salt and pepper to taste. Pressure cook the carrot and potatoes. Saute the onion, garlic in a skillet with ¼ tsp oil and cook for about a minute or two. Transfer the contents to a food processor. Pour the mix into a saucepan, and heat it up. Add the almond milk and saffron. Stir for a minute or two and turn off the heat. Garnish with pepper. The soup is delicious and taste awfully good.For more GFCF soups,check this post out http://care4autism.blogspot.com/2009/02/soups.html

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Voices For Autism

The ALFAA (Assisted Living for Autistic Adults) and the autism society of India together organized a day of fun and frolic for the autistic children at the ASHA (army) centre for developmental disabilities, commemorating the children’s day celebrations. More importantly, an update on the disability act, (RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT 2010 – INCLUSION AND FULL PARTICIPATION) and census were also taken up and discussed at length. A new law for disabled persons is being chalked out and is likely to be formalized sometime early next year. A lot of thought has gone in to drafting the recommendations that have been sent forward to the Centre at Delhi. The purpose of today’s agenda was twofold, one primarily to educate the parents on the far reaching consequences of the law once it comes into effect; and secondly to encourage active participation of parents at least at the state level.
                                       There was a sense of urgency as the new law that would be enacted would be valid for the next 25 yrs. It is very important for the autism community, that Autism be included as a disability in the Act for only then can they get the amenities that are sorely lacking. Presently, the census has not included autism under the main classification of disabilities. This is a major disadvantage, as the autism community is not able to voice its concerns. As the law is too lengthy to be discussed in one sitting, it was decided that two chapters on education and rehabilitation be taken up. Smaller sub groups were formed of parents, to help attend to requirements of education and age related issues.
                                           The session concluded with everybody partaking lunch and planning with renewed vigour for more cohesive action. For further enquiries and suggestions   the Autism society of India, Bangalore chapter can be reached at autismsociety@gmail.com      

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

“WHY” AND ME?

Back in my school days a simple question to a friend, “Why is there no class today” would be answered with a glib, prompt reply “because the sky is so high”. Now, what kind of answer would be that? I would have loved to wipe the smirk on my friend’s face that accompanies this rejoinder. It was considered cool then. So then, I must say my tryst with the “why” questions began quite early in life. It continues to bother me even now in the form of language building exercises for Ramam.
                               The therapist would shoot off a question, how comfortable is he with the “WH” questions. I would give a vague answer, he is ok with what questions, not so ok with the where questions and an absolute no-no with the why questions. By now, I almost apologetic for the state that he is in. Recently a therapist asked me the mother of all questions. Is he comfortable with the cause and effect questions? I almost fell off my chair. I pronounced it more deliberately c-a-u-s-e and e-f-f-e-c-t questions, hoping it strikes a chord somewhere. I told her no way, could you elaborate? Here I was still groping in the dark with the Wh questions and somebody throws a googly at me….
                                     The therapist explained, cause and effect as simple as it sounds, does he relate that when I tell him to switch on the switch for the  fan, the fan would rotate or it is hot and switching on the fan would make it cooler….. Something on those lines. Aahhhhh,  now the C and E questions made sense to me.
                                       On one hand I am struggling with the wh questions, make a list of all possible questions that I can think of . Shooting an impromptu question to Ramam when he is having his bath, why are you using hot water to take bath, counting on all those lost opportunities where I have failed to ask the right Wh question at the right time. On the other hand is my daughter with her never ending questions, the why ones singularly dominating, that at the end of the day I tell her stop “whying” me. A simple ok just to pacify her and my over wrought nerves is met with an equally defiant and challenging “What ok,ok,ok?” And so I give up for the day, only to face the never ending barrage of questions the next day. And so it continues……..but then what would my life be without these two kids to brighten my days and life?
                                        This is wishing all the readers a very happy and safe DIWALI.

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