It was in Class VI that Lavannya Balakrishnan (17), a student at The Heritage School in Gurgaon, became partially hearing impaired following a bout of viral fever and chickenpox. Six years later, on Thursday, she has declared the All India Topper in the ‘Children With Special Needs’ category in the Class XII CBSE Board examinations, scoring 489 out of 500.
The younger of two siblings, Lavannya was born in Delhi and moved to Gurgaon 15 years ago. While her mother works in the school’s HR department, her father works at the Centre for Social Research. Her older sister is studying at NIFT Chennai and is also partially hearing impaired since birth.
“My parents have been extremely supportive… I have to use hearing aids for both ears. There were times where I struggled, but I had help from my teachers and classmates,” said Lavannya, who scored 100 in Political Science, 99 in Sociology, Home Science, and Painting, and 92 in English Core. On her preparation, Lavannya said, “I studied a little through the year, but it was in the last two months that I worked with complete determination.” She now intends to pursue “designing, graphics, and animation”.