For 24 years, Renu Suri stayed away from her city, social life, and promising career to raise a gifted child with autism, now an ace electronic keyboard player.
Expected to break down against the neurodevelopment disorder of her son, Rohan Suri, and give up on him, she instead discovered his strength and backed it unconditionally. “We are from Kolkata. Rohan was born there, and when he was of 20 months, we got worried that he had not started teething or crawling yet. Doctors said it was hypothyroidism. They diagnosed him with autism at 13, when it was too late,” says Renu, who with her husband, Yogesh, lives at Pingalwara, Amritsar’s home for the destitute, and teaches at a school for the hearing impaired. Rohan (24) is in a special school.
The courageous mother dedicated herself to the institution where she offers honorary service as a psychologist. Not for a day in the past 24 years, she has thought of her own comforts and neglected the child. “There were times I had to deal with his behavioural changes, temperamental issues, aggression, and anxiety but with patience, I made it work,” said Renu.
Rohan is a student of the Calcutta School of Music, an achievement in itself. He had to clear a tough entrance examination, while the training cost more than what his parents could afford. Rohan also cleared two rounds of auditions for appearance on television show ‘India’s Got Talent’. He has performed on reality show ‘R2T2’ as a wildcard entry and is a favourite with the organisers of Durga Puja shows in West Bengal.
One of Rohan’s strength is memory. “You give him your birth or anniversary date and he will calculate the day in a minute. That’s another one of his gifts,” says Renu. The couple does honorary service at Pingalwara for the mental and physical well being of their child.
“The rest of the family wanted to send him abroad for better facilities but we declined. After us, we expect Pingalwara to look after our child,” says the reassured mother.