Autism Unveiled Project Week 1
Amrit’s mom submitted this on Amrit’s behalf.
AM I DIFFERENT
Am I different? I often wonder? I look like you but I think so differently. My world and your world-look the same yet they are so different. Why?
I don’t understand your world.
Abide with me, as I journey
take my hand, I dare not walk alone.
Lean on me, when life gets weary,
I will help you, ’til we’re grown.
Sometimes I won’t know your sorrow,
you may not always see my tears,
if you stumble on your journey,
I will lift you… calm your fears.
One day we will know the answer
to that searching question….Why?
Yet for now, we’ll walk together
hand in hand, as life goes by.
Our pathway is not lined with roses
but there is magic in a smile,
this road we travel may be lonely
but there are rainbows once in a while.
Help me as I climb my mountain,
in the valley I have grown
put your weary hand in my hand,
we cannot, dare not, walk alone.
(an excerpt from the book One More Blessing the story of a small boy and his struggle with autism)
Little did I know then that my daughter will not only be able to climb one mountain, but several mountains given that each obstacle in her path is no less than a mountain. Autism defines Amrit but it does not limit her. Being our first born, like all first time parents, we too hoped to live our life with our daughter in the conventional sense of the word ‘Normal’. Today when I look back, I realize that everything was ACTUALLY NORMAL but it was normal in the world of autism. Amrit achieved all the milestones initially but in the third year she began to depict signs of delayed speech and it wasn’t until we sought intervention from a speech therapist that she uttered her first word ‘Water’. Today it seems easy to narrate those life altering moments but back then it was that one moment that gave us the strength to move on. I waited patiently for 4 years to hear the word ‘Mummy’.
Right from her early childhood, Amrit has had a fascination for colors. She has a pictographic memory and as a young kid she would often translate her minute observations into picture perfect drawings. As time passed her drawings became more of a memorabilia of her experiences of the world as she saw it. Academically, coping with Math and science got more n more difficult and we decided to remove her from mainstream education in grade eight and put her solely under the guidance of the art department of the school that I worked in.
Amrit has been very lucky to find support in many lovely human beings who have not only touched her life but have in a big way become instrumental in shaping her into the confident young lady that she is today. Today her art is a powerful medium of her expression. She sees human beings and objects around her from a different perspective which is quite evident in her art form which is very different from the stereotype art works. Her virgin imagination and unadulterated mind creates images in a truly fresh form where you do not see any signs of copied works. Her color combinations have a unique expression of vibrancy which is very much a part of her individual innocent persona. She is sensitive to the world around her and behaves according to the situation and environment. Her minute observation of people around her is visible in the expressions of her images which she puts on canvas.
Amrit has come a long way but the journey by no means has been easy. The future too will not be easy and it is in this journey ahead that I am now seeking help from individuals, organizations who can lend a thought, who are willing to empathize and not sympathize with her disability. We would like to see our daughter gain independence; we wish to see her future secure, we want her to feel wanted.
With the help and support of Action For Autism, Amrit has had three exhibits at the India Habitat Centre, Open Palm court gallery. We would now like to put up her solo shows and are looking forward to sponsors who can support us in our endeavor. Autism is not a disease and autistic people are not mentally challenged. Disability is not a confining factor; we would like to spread awareness about the same.
We hope that some day future will not be so bleak for people with disabilities and that they too will get the recognition that they deserve. Amrit has her own website that runs on amritkhurana.com. Amrit’s blog is amritkhurana93.blogspot.in
Aarti Khurana on behalf of Amrit Khurana, India
Amrit Khurana is part of a six-week advocacy project Autism Unveiled Project commencing on April 2, 2015, World Autism Awareness Day.