Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder with no proven cause or permanent cure. It can affect a person’s social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication, but early intervention and various treatments can improve symptoms in the long term. Over 10 million children in the country are said to be affected by autism. Most of them are stigmatized in some way because of their disability.
People with special needs often need constant support and help, yet they have the same emotional awareness as any other individual.I, Benji Kumar, am a living witness to this fact. . As a 27-year-old singer with her autism, I have shattered many prejudices and myths to find my true calling. Today, with my determination and her mother’s belief, I overcame difficulties and won three national awards.
find answers in music
When I was born, neurodivergence was a foreign concept in India and my parents faced many difficulties medically and socially to get me the correct diagnosis. I noticed that it wasn’t as responsive as a typical 1 month old baby. They never gave up, traveled all over the world to understand what their child was going through, and it was in the United States that they finally confirmed that I had Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The doctor also assured me that as I got older and received proper treatment, my symptoms might lessen, giving my parents hope.
At that time, my mother, Kavita Kumar, also noticed that I was responding positively to the music playing on her tape recorder. Since then she has continued to experiment with her music and music has become a very important part of my life. At her bedtime and after waking up, I heard a lot of Indian classical ragas and Gayatri mantras. Music also helped me calm down when I felt aggressive or frustrated. I started singing.
At the age of five, I began proper training in Indian classical music. My vocal mentor would just sit and recite notes and ragas and I would listen to him and memorize them.After two years of training with him, I took the plunge on stage for the first time in his life. did the show. The performance impressed the audience and made me want to perform more. At the young age of nine, he released his first audio cassette titled ‘Basic Ragas’.
Many times I struggled to adjust to new situations and new places. When recording songs in the studio, I was very uncomfortable with wearing headphones at first, but people were kind enough to help me get used to the new environment. The road wasn’t easy, but I decided to express myself through music, which has now taken me to great heights.
Welcoming flowers of gratitude
Despite my inability to have a coherent conversation, I found my vocation in music and have released about 10 audio CDs that have received accolades from music legends such as Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Adnan Sami. is ready. The song also brought 3 National Awards, 2 Limca Book of Awards and several other prestigious awards. From being a fragile baby in an incubator to winning the title of record-breaking musician, I have come a long way in overcoming challenges with ASD. is not. If you receive a bouquet with gratitude, you will be even happier.
After thousands of performances, I hope it inspires kids like me to join the mainstream and challenge their interests. My mother saw the impact music had on me and in 2007 she founded the Dhoon Foundation. The aim is to help children with disabilities establish themselves as artists in society, motivate them and make them feel seen. Difficulties may come and go, but never stop achieving your dreams. Today, the Foundation is a driving force for many children with autism to move forward and achieve their big dreams.
If you too have an inspiring story to share with the world, send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.