This inspiring news comes to us from Dehradun, India.
When up against rejection, different people react in different ways. Some curl away to escape the pain while a chosen few brushes back the tears and make a determined stand. Saswati Singh is one of these people. A mother, fighter and a teacher, Saswati faced rejection many times in her life. Each time she picked up the pieces to emerge stronger and her culminating achievement is the Dehradun based Centre and Group Home for Children and Young Adults with Autism and other developmental challenges.
A trust, NavPrerna Foundation runs the center, and it provides a safe space for individuals with special needs. It also provides these individuals to tackle the challenges they face in their daily lives and helps them to lead fulfilling lives.
Saswati Singh is a true woman of grit, having devoted 24 years of her life to this noble cause. She has helped more than 2000 children and young adults with developmental issues. Also by spreading awareness and holding training programs, she has left her mark on over 15,000 individuals.
Saswati’s journey started when her son was born. There were a few complications at birth and when the family moved to Delhi, the weather change made her son’s health deteriorate and he suffered 2 attacks of epilepsy within one month. These two attacks left a massive trauma on the brain and body and pushed her on into Autism. Before this, her son had been attending school as a neurotypical child and Saswati was worried as her child was hyperactive.
Owing to her son’s hyperactive nature and severe behavioral issues, schools after the school rejected the admission. In total 42 schools in Delhi rejected her son. After a lot of struggle, a special educator helped her and suggested that she check her son for autism. At the age of eight, her son was diagnosed with Atypical Autism by doctors.
Then Saswati decided to quit her job as a senior biology teacher and dedicated her time to home-school her son, at the same time educating schools about Autism. At that time, the knowledge of Autism was not widespread and she would see how the low level of awareness did not recognize the condition.
Taking note of the situation Saswati decided to start a school of her own whose aim would be to allow the children with special needs to grow up amongst their peers and overcome their respective conditions. Saswati began the school in 1995 from her flat in Delhi. She started with 3 children, initially, there was a low response but the next year the number grew to 12 with a long waiting list.
This made Saswati realize that she could not stay bound to her home and approached Kiran Bedi for help. Looking at the inspiring work she was doing, she was allotted space at the Community Center in Tilaknagar in 1998. There are now 80 students at the school and the number is growing every year. After running the school for 10 years, Saswati moved the school to Dehradun and notes how the changed surroundings have a profound impact on Autistic kids.
Saswati has received a lot of felicitation for her efforts and the school looks to be going from strength to strength.
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