Shivani Singh, Delhi, whose son has dyspraxia
When your child was diagnosed with dyspraxia, how did you deal with it?
Singh: It obviously meant a huge change in our life. Neil became the focus of everything, our top priority. I had to balance his needs with the rest of my responsibilities, and he needed all my attention. Everything that was not Neil was relegated to the back burner. I was at the height of my writing career but I had to give it up. And it’s not only parents who have to make the adjustments – it’s the school as well. His school said that they had a special educator and that Neil would be fine in six months. But I felt he needed more extensive and comprehensive care. So I sat in with him in all his classes, until he was in class two.
What about people around you? How did they react?
The biggest problem you have to face is people’s attitude towards special children. Social stigma for such things is huge, especially in India. We have a skewed vision of what is perfect. That needs to be changed.
What advice do you have for other parents whose children have special needs?
Please be proactive about your child’s disability. Take complete responsibility. Understand your child. It’s a challenge. You can’t forget about it or sweep it under the carpet. Stop grieving and crying; don’t whine. Help your child. Work in an environment where he or she is treated with dignity. You might feel guilt, or anger, upon hearing the diagnosis – but it’s extremely important to remember that things like this are nobody’s fault. The least you can do is support your child and get him the help he needs.