Never give up
Raising a child with multiple disability is not an easy job, it did give us vast and immense experience both in terms of failure and success for the last 28 years. It was over time that we learnt our lessons through these experiences. Having said that, we as parents know what it would be like to lose all the golden years in our child's life in search of that right path that could be the change that our child needs. In most cases by the time the parents arrive at the right path, medically development that child can undergo is very meagre. . Thus, from our personal experience, we found that early intervention is very vital in such kids. Though every child's need in unique, as parents it is very important that we identify them, enable them and develop them in regard and most importantly support them through their rough patches.
Never give up
Sriram Srinivas is a person who was diagnosed with multiple disabilities. He is identified with 90% Loco-Motor disability and 83% Mental retardation, as per his disability certificate. This means he will not be able to stand or walk without any external support and his movements were severely restricted. As a child his developmental milestones were delayed and during his early childhood until he was 10 years old, he was bedridden. With the intention to strengthen his legs we introduced him to swimming. He vented his frustration, anger and disappointment on his parents, especially when he started to realise that he cannot run around or play like every other child. Though he often vented his anger on his parents they realised it was important to understand the amount of mental torment he must be undergoing with his self realisation. Like most parents of such children, they lost our hope over his uncertain future and their helplessness. However, they continued to train him in swimming and cycling with the intention to strengthen his legs physically. It is when they identified that he was interested in swimming. They introduced him into competitive sports under his category. He soon got his 1st recognition in the year 2013 for swimming 50mtr across the pool. Though it was only a 4th place, the amount of joy, happiness and confidence that instilled in him had so much impact and importance in his life that it drove him to work harder, determined and perspire towards success in all the upcoming events that came his way. It became a lot easier for his parents especially when he decided not to sit back but fight for acceptance and recognition in this society.
With his credentials in swimming he was selected in the probable list of swimmers who will be short listed to take part in Special Olympics 2019 to be held in Abu Dhabi. With Sriram winning gold medals at the qualifying competitions, his parents pinned their dreams and hopes that he would represent our country at the international level. However, he did not make it to the 2nd stage owing to unsaid reasons. All of a sudden, their dreams and hopes were shattered. To them days seemed darker and hopes were sinking but they knew they can’t go down. After reading about a famous personality swimming across the Palk Straits, they decided to throw him a bigger challenge, to swim at sea. To swim at sea, he had to brave dangers right from marine animals to under water currents. Also, he had to train 10 – 12 hours a day alternating between gym workouts and swimming practises at sea. However, his undying spirit to rise above the bar made him work tirelessly despite such severe workouts. Though his parents were reluctant initially they needed to believe and support in him and his quest to succeed at the highest level.
During his training phase, he got the opportunity to swim 5km during the “Samudra Pheri – Ocean Sailing Expedition 2018” conducted by the NCC Directorate of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry & Andaman and Nicobar (Ministry of Defence, Govt. of India) on 21st July 2018. He swam the distance in 3hrs and 18minutes. He was awarded “ACHIEVER AWARD” by the NCC Directorate of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry & Andaman and Nicobar (Ministry of defence, Govt. of India). His parents are extremely grateful to Commodore Vijesh K Garg, Colonel Jeyachandran, Colonel Peter Celestine & Commander Dinakaran. They had lit the uncertain path in Sriram’s life and had showed him the way forward.
There is also edited a short video on him with the videos taken when he swam 5km at sea during the OCEAN SEA EXPEDITION conducted by the NCC Directorate of TN, AN & P. You can find the video through the youtube link below
Today his parents are immensely proud of his achievements. On this very day, he has several laurels and recognitions in the fields of athletics, swimming and open water swimming to his name. Having said that, he has thought us all one very important lesson. He has fought many battles emotional and physical battles across his life. Some were so intense that it threatened to bring him down. But every time an obstacle came his way, he was undeterred by the setback. He was determined and focussed to prove to everyone around that he too can and he will rise above the challenge thrown at him. What makes him stand out of ordinary is his undying determination to succeed at the highest level through his NEVER GIVE UP !!! attitude, no matter what come may be. He has proved it with all his achievements despite his severe multiple disabilities. It was for this undying spirit and attitude that he was recognised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment with the NATIONAL AWARD for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities 2018 under “Role Model Category – Multiple Disabilities”. He was awarded by the Vice-President of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu on the 3rd of December 2018.