Asphyxia at birth rendered Aditya Sharma with sensory neural hearing loss and Cerebral Palsy for the rest of his life.
While sitting tight, blaming fate and crying over a badly dealt hand seemed like the easiest option, Aditya’s mother Aparna Sharma refused to accept defeat over Cerebral Palsy. Instead she faced the challenge head on. Until then and even now a Home Science teacher, she formally trained to become a Special Educator. It was a calling that eventually changed her life for the better along with Aditya’s and many others like him too.
Today thanks to her untiring and incessant efforts, at 22 years of age Aditya has started responding to sounds, names, etc. A child that doctors had declared unable to survive beyond 6-7 months, has today passed his Class X CBSE examination with 78%. Aditya now in Class XI has opted to pursue an interesting mix of subjects from Commerce and Humanities. He studies Fine Arts, History, Informatics Practice, Physical Education and English.
Aditya’s life and his gradual evolution opened up new dimensions of learning related to all types of special needs children. Aparna began putting those lessons to work at her own centre called ‘Learning Steps’. Herein, at any given point in time she cares and trains 20-24 special needs children.
Aditya’s life took a turn for the better around 8-9 months back when he tapped into his creative side and became what he likes to call an ‘eco-preneur’ and launched the SliceofArt.org (SoA). Along with another special needs friend Sahej Singh, Aditya creates Shagun envelopes and eco friendly paper bags. They consider this their own little, contribution to Mother Earth.
Their creative venture has taken off in a very big way with the love and care of both the boys’ families. Its called SliceOfArt.org and is the brainchild of the boys’ mothers. They wish not just to train their kids in leading as normal and as regular a life as possible but also one that keeps them gainfully occupied in a financially self-sustaining way. The vision of ‘SliceOfArt’ just feels so apt given their circumstances, “Do Not Let The Fear Of Falling Be Greater Than The Bliss Of Rising.”
The Firm Family Foundation
While Aparna has been the very ground on which the foundation of Aditya’s independence lies there are two other very important pillars of support in his life. His father Anupam Sharma and younger sister Parnika who is now studying in Class XII. His father has been his backbone and constant support while Parnika has been the perfect companion, best friend and partner in crime.
And for those of you who think that Cerebral Palsy is a curse that chains your feet and anchors you down, you need to meet Aditya in person. He is as charming, fun loving and gregarious as any other boy his age would be. He cannot hear us clearly, cannot walk on his own feet without support or speak clearly either, but his spirit soars high above any of us ‘normal’ individuals. Aditya Sharma teaches us all how to live and face life without preaching a word.
Leading A Regular Life
Unlike most youth his age Aditya is extremely methodical and systematic and strictly does not encourage deviation from set plans. Aparna endeavours to give him a regular and routine life just like any child his age.
His school too, the Eicher School is a safe haven for differently abled children and kids with special needs. Inclusivity and compassion is deeply ingrained into the ethos of the school and is imbibed by the students too. Aditya being social by nature has a class full of buddies who dote over him and embrace him with open arms, his disabilities not withstanding.
In fact so strong is his popularity that his classmates organised a surprise birthday party for him on his birthday. Incidentally Aditya celebrates his birthday along with India’s on 15 August.
Aparna’s Sage Advice
Aparna considers his birth a blessing in disguise that positively altered the course of her life. A firm believer in the dictum, ‘You shall never inherit that which you cannot handle’, she is a true inspiration to all parents struggling emotionally with special kids.
Do not repent or look back. Do not inundate yourself emotionally with ‘Why me?’ Keep your attention only focused ahead and see what best you can make of the given situation. These kids shall teach you patience, compassion, discipline and hard work. Imbibe it and be the best you were destined to be. In turn inculcate into them a sense of independence, confidence and pride. Never spoon-feed or make presumptions on behalf of the child. Do not be over-protective, over-bearing and stifling towards him/her. Your job is to only teach him to fly. But to do so you must award him/her the space to spread his wings and take-off. S/he shall stumble and s/he shall fall. LET him. Wait for him/her to get back up on his feet. S/he shall only learn to rise if you let him fall and fail.
Written by: Delshad Master