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Move On

As parents, we can sometimes assume to know our child’s mind and what they want. Such an assumption keeps us from appreciating their unique thoughts and needs. In the case of autistic kids, such parental blind spots get exacerbated.

In this short story, Aditi gives us a glimpse of one such blind spot. This tender look into the perspectives of both the child and the parent holds many important lessons for all parents.

This is an Avaz Megaphone feature.

a megaphone being held up

New Home

Megha unpacked the mammoth carton boxes that contained her enviable collection of crockery.

She gently took out every single fragile piece and unwrapped the bubble wrap they were packed in. Shreya, her thirteen-year-old daughter, was oblivious to the flurry of activity around her. Just a moment ago she had been sitting on the lone couch that was unpacked. Now she walking brusquely towards Megha. only to pick up the discarded bubble wrap and play with it. Megha looked at her wistfully. The voice in her head reminded her that there were only two constants in her life. One, was moving homes. The other was Shreya’s enduring love for bubble wrap.

About Dreams

Hailing from a small town, Megha aspired for a life of excitement in a big city. Her wish came true when she got a job with a large IT firm in the South of India. Soon she was married to Suhas who had the same dreams as her. Due to the nature of their jobs, they had moved two cities before their daughter Shreya was born.

As with all parents, Megha and Suhas had larger than life dreams for their little one. But destiny had other plans. Little Shreya, who was famous for being unusually calm and lost in her world, did not acquire the ability to speak even after she turned three. She was soon diagnosed with autism.

A Changed Life

Suddenly life became all about running from one therapist to another, but speech remained as elusive as ever. What did not change was the requirement for them to move from cities once in three years. What also did not change was the fact that Shreya could not speak.

In the years spent in the lovely garden city of the country, Shreya had been introduced to an AAC App on her iPad. She could type what she wanted to say and the app would speak out whatever she had typed. 

In all honesty, Megha believed they had achieved only mixed success in the whole AAC endeavour. On a good day, while she was in a good mood, Shreya could communicate her needs using the app. They even had days when she would communicate her thoughts and feelings with relative ease. But challenges arose when Shreya was visibly upset and pretty restless.

Those were the times that Megha and Suhas failed spectacularly to elicit any response to their questions. Shreya would refuse to even pick up the iPad. She would continue to wail her head off, interspersing it with bouts of uncontrollable laughter. All this left Megha and Suhas feeling rather helpless.

Meltdown Worries

Megha looked at Shreya playing gleefully with the discarded bubble wrap, even as worry began gnawing her insides. Soon the movers would finish the work allocated to them and leave. They would finish unpacking most essentials and begin their life in the new home. And Shreya would begin having an intense meltdown of loud wailing interspersed with bouts of uncontrollable laughter.

Megha knew that for a fact because the same things had happened when they had moved homes a year ago. That meltdown had left them feeling more unsettled than ever before.

Years of parenting Shreya helped Megha understand that change was very difficult for autistics to deal with. Hence, she did all that she could to prepare Shreya for it. Alas, the last time around, the preparation had not helped much. If only Shreya could communicate what was bothering her…

A Dash Toward Freedom?

Soon it was evening and the family’s little world was more or less out of the carton boxes.

Little Shreya began pacing up and down the drawing room of her new house with a confused look on her face .

“What happened Gudiya?”, asked Suhas. Before Shreya could pick up her iPad to type her response,  Megha, who was busy fixing dinner piped in. “She is just familiarizing herself with the new home”, she said.

This remark got Shreya’s attention and the expression on her face changed for a brief moment. She immediately went running to the room where all her things were unpacked. She shot one glance at the room and came out wailing loudly. Before Suhas could figure out what was happening, Shreya made a rushed towards the main door. He ran to stop her from opening the door and making the infamous dash towards freedom.

This had Shreya screaming and crying some more. Before they knew it, she was in the throes of a full blown meltdown.

An Epiphany

Megha came rushing from the kitchen and handed Shreya the iPad. “What happened? Is something wrong?” she asked. Shreya promptly pushed the iPad away and continued hollering.

“See, this is why I said even AAC is not working!” grumbled Megha, as she braced herself for the tempest that she was sure would follow.

Suddenly, Suhas had a moment of epiphany. He had read something about conversing using AAC with AAC users. Maybe it was time to try that.

Suhas slowly picked up the iPad and loaded the communication app. He started to type what he wanted to say in slow, deliberate movements, making sure it caught Shreya’s attention. Sure enough, it did. Shreya stopped hollering for a brief moment and looked at Suhas wide eyed as he finished typing. The app spoke his words out loud in its trademark digital tone. “What is wrong? Why are you upset?”, Suhas wanted to know.

The More Things Change…

Shreya took a few minutes to compose herself by rocking while Suhas waited on patiently. She slowly picked up the iPad and typed – CURTAIN

Suhas immediately typed – ‘What about the curtain? Which one?’

Shreya took the iPad and typed – ‘I want the same curtain in my room. The one we had in our old house.’

Realisation hit Suhas and Megha like a ton of bricks. They did have the habit of changing curtains every time they moved homes. Maybe Shreya wanted the same old ones to feel a sense of belonging or familiarity. Or probably it was a color that gave her some comfort. Whatever it was, they would have had no way to figure it out, had Shreya not communicated explicitly. The AAC was working after all…

Avaz Megaphone is a platform for neurodivergent individuals to express themselves through the written word. We accept opinion pieces, short stories and poetry. Authors of accepted works will receive an honorarium. To make a submission please email us on: 


Aditi Sowmyanarayan

Student & Writer

Aditi Sowmyanarayan is an eighteen year old who uses Avaz, a text to speech app, to communicate. She goes to Ishanya India Foundation, a special school in Bengaluru. Aditi is an avid blogger and an aspiring writer. She blogs on

She can be reached on Instagram at writeaditi and on her Facebook page : small step big thought

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