My Story: Girijamma

Hello Girijamma, how are you getting on with your daughter Shilpa?

Honestly, I feel things could be much better than they are. It is hard going when you have a full time responsibility of caring for your daughter who has a learning disability. Some days are better than others. My husband and my other two kids help out where possible.

So can we talk about Shilpa?

Shilpa is one of my two daughters. I also have a son. Shilpa is the oldest of the three.  She is now aged 20. Without access to early intervention we never knew that anything was wrong with Shilpa. Only as she was growing up we started to notice that she was different from other children. Initially, we thought with time she would be fine but things did not go that way.

When did you find out that something was wrong with the way Shilpa was growing?

There were quite a few things that told us that all was not well. For a start, Shilpa’s ability to speak is marked with significant speech delays. At best her speech now is repetitive. She will merely repeat what she hears. She lacks cognitive ability and skills to be able to communicate meaningfully with others. She also has a significant lack of coordination appropriate to her age.  Shilpa is prone to serious anxiety around social situations and shows no interest in any social activities. She has problems with impulse control, concentration and meltdowns. We try to engage her in things we do around the house and outside.

How do you see things going forward?

That is a true worry I have. Since the time we have come into contact with DEAL Foundation, I feel we have been able to make better sense of the information and support issues surrounding Shilpa’s condition. I feel very encouraged by the support and advice we have received and I’m very glad to be part of the DEAL Foundation livelihood Programme with my daughter Shilpa. Through your support, we will be able to improve our tiny village store and involve Shilpa so that she has the opportunity to come into contact with people whom she has not met before. A combination of social interaction and the opportunity to learn new skills would be beneficial.

I would like to see a day when Shilpa is able to play an increasing part in running the store. I feel reassured you and your colleagues at DEAL Foundation are with Shilpa in her journey to independence.

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