It was 13 years ago that Rashpal Kaur realised that her son, who was five then, is slow in his reflexes and is a child with special needs. She was shocked at first and also sank into depression, but slowly she become more concerned of her son’s future. Soon she realised that she would had to become a pillar of strength for her son and wailing at destiny would provide no solution.
Today, her son – 18-year-old Parvesh Singh – is self-dependent and employed at the Suvidha Centre canteen of Ludhiana administration, where four others like him and of his age, work along with him.
Parvesh is pursuing his studies through correspondence from BCM School in the city and hopes to run his father’s shop in the future. His new vocation at the canteen is providing him with a first-hand experience of dealing with public. “When he was born, he did not cry as the supply of oxygen to his brain was disrupted. We sensed something was wrong. He was a normal child initially, but was slow in everything he did. He could not speak smoothly and had a delayed response for things. When he turned five, we were sure there was something wrong. The doctors then told us that he was a child with special needs,” she said, wiping off her tears.
Faced ridicule in school
After overcoming initial trauma, Rashpal took upon the daunting task to give him the very best. “We first got him admitted in a normal school. But there was public ridicule everywhere. As he grew bigger, he began to realise that there was something wrong with him. He began to fear visiting public places and crowded areas due to the fear of being questioned. He could sense that everyone who is known to me or even unknown passers-by would come and inquire about him from me,” she said.
When Parvesh turned 10, Rashpal got him removed from a normal school and he started going to Ashirwad – a school for children with special needs. “He was happy there, but I always feared how he would equip himself in the future? We as parents would get old and die, his three younger brothers, who are normal would get busy with their lives. My husband used to get worried thinking what would happen of him,” she said. “Parvesh then told me that he did not want to go to school and then was when I realised that public ridicule was affecting him psychologically,” said Rashpal.
Stepping into outer world
“Taking care of him requires a lot of energy. He can understand everything said to him, but cannot speak fluently. I have never left him alone and have accompanied him everywhere. I even go to the canteen with him every day.”