Written by Poulomi Chatterjee
Nothing has come easy for Aryan Avasthi, who has Asperger syndrome — an autism spectrum disorder. That’s why, when he cleared his Class X CBSE exam on Tuesday with a score of 73.6 per cent, his parents struggled to find the words to express their happiness. For Aryan, who is a student of The Orchid School in Baner, his entire academic life has been a struggle, as the developmental disorder affects his ability to socialise effectively and communicate.
“I don’t know how they (school authorities) made him sit in class and listen, but they did it. We owe a lot to them because they were the only school until now that treated him like an equal,” said his mother Apurva, who is also a teacher. The school has a counselling group which held frequent sessions with Aryan to help him take the exam, she said.
Apurva said Aryan finds social communication difficult, gets restless, has trouble focussing and needs special attention. “Aryan hates any change in routine… he had to be taken to his exam centre before the actual paper to get him acclimatised to his surroundings,” she said. “That was a challenge in itself. When we first took him to the exam hall, he hated it. He complained that the surroundings were dirty. So, we took him to the place where he was going to take his exam separately. Only then did he calm down,” added Apurva.
While understanding questions isn’t a problem for Aryan, conveying his answers is. “He would sometimes write three pages for a five-mark question and maybe two sentences for a 10-mark question. He couldn’t judge which question required how much work, so the counselling sessions helped him figure it out,” said his mother.
A trained drummer, Aryan, who scored 95 in Information Technology, wants to pursue IT in Class XI so that he doesn’t have to study Maths, a subject he dislikes, said his mother.