This Article is From Aug 31, 2014

Now, My Brilliant Autistic Son Rahul Will Go to School

(Deepali Mathur D'Mello is a teacher by vocation and a full-time mom. She has just moved to Gurgaon with her family.)

It is overwhelming... Rahul has got admission!!

After more than two months of running around, after so many schools, principals, entrance tests - and always hearing a "sorry", we were in despair, trying to pull ourselves together, trying to figure out what next. The toughest call was to make Rahul understand that he would not be going to a school and would have to stay at home and study, knowing well that it was not the right thing for him. (Rejected by Dozens of Schools for Being Different, He Finally Finds One That Accepts Him)

Then one day, everything changed. I had never dreamt that one phone call could change Rahul's life and turn it around completely. My cousin, who is actively involved in a group trying to bring a positive change in various social issues in Gurgaon, sent me a number. And I called.

Ruchika and I spoke as if we were old friends and as soon as we finished our long call, she forwarded Rahul's story to her friends in a Delhi-Gurgaon parents' e-group called 'Saath' or VVSpecial parents. The rest, as they say, is history! ('Within Her is a Life Waiting to Live'. But She Has Been Turned Down by Every School)

She connected me to Madhusudan Srinivas, a gentleman whose son also has autism. I had never imagined that this 'via-via' connection would become such a dear friend and would lead me to secure admission for my son in THE premier school of the country.

Madhu, dear friend... God Bless you!!

Madhu, who works with NDTV, pushed me to write a blog on our tryst with schools in Gurgaon, our earlier experiences in Mumbai and what we hoped to achieve for Rahul. We had moved to Gurgaon after a lifetime in Mumbai with the hope that this Millennium city, with so many progressive schools, and a deep understanding of special needs, will be a haven for both our children. We were shocked when every school turned Rahul away. (No School Wants Rahul, My Brilliant Autistic Son)

The response to the blog was tremendous: diverse, intense supportive and far reaching. In fact, Abha wrote in from Canada of her trials and travails when she had come down a few years ago for the same purpose. But the response which just made me stand stock-still was a message on Facebook from a lady connected to The Shri Ram School - TSRS. The director of the school had read the blog and wanted to reach out to us and help - 'No promises, no commitments, but we will do whatever we can to help Rahul' - Thank you God!! Thank you NDTV!

The next step was to put us in touch with an amazing group of parents who have older children on the spectrum. We hit it off so beautifully that I felt like I have come home. What lovely people... ready with a solution for every problem! They are so positive and gave me a feeling that WE CAN DO IT! If TSRS has called on its own, it will work out. They are the best and if they take him in, there will be no looking back.

We met with the school on Monday morning and after some very, very positive discussions, Rahul was asked to come back for an entrance test. On Tuesday, Bhairavi and Thulasi from NDTV came home. They too had read the blog and wanted Rahul and Ruchika's daughter Manavi's story to be told so that we could reach out to more and more schools like the TSRS and find a place for Rahul and Manavi and the many, many children out there who are still not being admitted into schools because of their disability.

The test was conducted on Wednesday and then came a waiting period of almost two days. There was a minor concern about the paperwork - a deadline which had to be met - which, in typical mom fashion, set me in panic mode. Thursday passed without any news and so did most of Friday.

Friday began with mixed feelings. Rahul's best friend -- the one with the long trunk and big tummy who loves to eat modaks, he who has large ears so that he can hear all our prayers, his hand raised in blessing, the one who takes away all the  worries and obstacles from our path. -- Ganesha came home on his annual visit. And, being a working day, everything was running late. Sthapna, pooja, aarti, bhog and prasad. But just as we started our pooja, the much-awaited call came.

How opportune! What an auspicious day! But again, my experiences came in the way and I wondered why there had been so much delay? Why had they not called earlier?? Was this going the wrong way? Little did I realise that the Vignaharta (remover of obstacles) was amidst us and would ensure the BEST for Rahul.

Meeting Manika ma'am was an amazing experience. I was blown away. Here was a set of educators, not just ready to help my son, but actually proud and thankful that they had been given a chance to have Rahul with them. Can any mother ask for more?

Rahul will begin school on Tuesday, September 2, an auspicious day, after we complete all formalities and get him his books and uniform. Sudha ma'am, you are right, it is destiny. God Bless.

There are many I have to thank. Friends, family, teachers, educators, TSRS, and of course, Ganpati Bappa Morya. He has stood by his friend all these years and I am sure will guide him henceforth as well.

Bappa, you have been with Rahul always. Please help the other children find their place as well and give them a new beginning. My prayer to you, as we bid adieu.... Pudchya varshi laukar ya (Do come back next year)

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