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AshwinThat encounter with the 'normal' world hasn't deterred Ashwin one bit. His quest for a job continues. Because Ashwin had Cerebral Palsy he couldn't go to a normal school and spent his early years at The Spastics Society of Karnataka, where he underwent development therapy and completed his education. Hip downwards Ashwin is impaired and hence the wheelchair. That apart, he's as normal a kid as any other. He can use the computer; he's intelligent, enthusiastic and raring to go. All he needs is an opportunity. And he knows he'll get one someday.

The pity is that many still believe Cerebral Palsy is an illness or some sort of infectious disease. That it is hereditary and something which one can 'catch' from another, just like a common cold or the sniffles. It isn't. It's a physical impairment that basically effects body movement, when a part of the brain's ability to develop is disrupted at the time of birth or soon after birth. And since the brain controls muscle tone, the brain-muscle co-ordination is inadequate resulting in their being unable to walk, talk, eat or play. In some cases children have problems associated with learning difficulties. The extents to which these functions are impaired vary and depend on how chronic the spasticity is. However, their mental abilities are not always impaired. As in the case of Ashwin, many persons with Cerebral Palsy are in fact, extremely intelligent and most can do or work just like any normal person can. Though there's no cure for Cerebral Palsy, early treatment and proper therapy can help improve their motor skills. Most however, will always need assistance or support in some form or the other.

Latha is another past student of the Spastic Society of Karnataka. Never in her wildest dreams did she expect to work for a software company considering her physical disability. She was overjoyed when MindTree Consulting, a Software Services firm headquartered in Bangalore, took her in as an employee to handle their front office work. She trained for six months and today she's an extremely confident person. "I've changed totally," says Latha. "Initially, I made some mistakes but people here have been so good to me. They helped me a lot to gain self-confidence." Latha's ambition is to train others with similar disabilities so that they too can be independent as she is today. In fact, Latha did just that. Vipin, who was with her at the Spastics Society trained under her and today, he's employed with General Electric Software Services (GE). "He called me this morning," says a smiling Latha. "He said he was enjoying his job and he's so happy."

While Latha, Vipin and a few others can consider themselves fortunate, Ashwin was a victim of the attitudes of normal people. They have this silly notion that a disabled person cannot contribute. Surely, his day will come as it did for the Lathas and the Vipins of this world. It's their willingness to accept responsibilities for their own lives from which emanates the source of their self-respect.

Give them their rights...
They can! if given a chance...
Spastics Society of Karnataka...
"He's extremely brilliant"...
They make it happen...
Help boost their self-esteem...
Grounded in reality...
Making a point or two...
What's it like as a parent...

"For me it's a Mission..."
Meet Mrs. Rukmini Krishnaswamy
Director, The Spastics Society of Karnataka

Buy from a range of interesting products made by Spastic children.


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