April 2, 2013

It is a state of being.

Autism is one part of who the child is.
A child with autism is a child like any other who loves to play and have fun.
Autism is like Sufism- a state of pure love for all creation.
The main therapy that helps children with autism is:
Unconditional love,
Complete acceptance,
True listening
Deep understanding
Warmth and Calm
Belief in child’s intelligence and potential
Knowing that they are listening to what we say and don’t say, even if they don’t speak.
Everything else is extra.

Our children are brave little soldiers who are here to start something new. They have chosen us to be their facilitator…to be our teachers.
But they are sensitive and need respect!
Let us embrace autism as a new way of being for humanity.
Let us stop trying to fix the child.
Let us fix our education system,
Let us fix our thinking patterns
Let us fix our society
Let’s fix ourselves………




For the past two to three years, I’ve been living with the question about why Autism exists and why it is increasing in today’s time. The answers are slowly beginning to unravel. First there was Down syndrome (DS). If you look at people with DS, we can see that they are positive, happy, sociable, friendly people, who can change the mood of the place they step into. At the time when there was an increase in incidence of DS, the world that was stricken by war and hatred, actually needed these pure, positive and happy people. But then technology stepped in to terminate these happy souls before they could be born. But they did manage to bring in a social consciousness among people.

Today it is Autism. Why is Autism on the rise? What are these new angels that are being sent from the heavens trying to convey?

Autism is not just the responsibility of the family in which the child is born. We are all responsible for the increase in the incidence of autism and other conditions like ADHD, Learning disabilities, asthma, allergies, etc. Wondering why?

If we ask ourselves why is there increase in these conditions, we will begin to understand that it is because of the direction in which we’re all collectively moving. We are moving away from all that is natural. We are all moving away from real human contact and more towards technology. We are making this world too toxic a place for our children to come into- physically, mentally and spiritually.

All children, but especially those on the spectrum are PURE beings. They thrive in a pure, calm, non-toxic environment which is now not available to them. Let us stop and think about how we grew up, how we played, what we ate and the number of loving people we were surrounded by, how our childhood was- free and without pressure and then let us look at how children are growing up today. People say that we need to keep up with the times, but then we have to pay a price for it. Our children have to pay a price for it.

We keep thinking about bringing a change in their behavior. But to do that, we (the entire human race) need to become more conscious and provide all young children with an atmosphere that is calm, quiet, peaceful, clean and pure. Not surprisingly, this is what our Mother Earth needs too! She is trying to talk to us through these children who in my opinion are Messiahs who have come to awaken us! To STOP and question the choices we are making….not just parents of children with autism, but the entire humanity!

Just imagine for a moment about the children that will be born to this whole generation that is feeding on junk food, processed food, chemical fertilisers, GMO foods and glued to gadgets like mobiles, tablets, video games, internet, etc?

As parents, therapists and all the people associated with autism and all the conditions and syndromes of our modern world, we need to wake up, realize, become conscious and then give our voice to these children who speak to us not with words but with their being- the way they are. They are all the time trying to tell us something. If we listen truly, we will understand that they bring some lessons for the whole world:

  • Children on the autism spectrum are one with the universe. They are not individualized or ‘separate’ like the rest of us. They do not suffer from ‘ego’ problems like us as they are ‘selfless’ beings. They teach us the lesson of oneness. But because of this, they feel the vibrations of our thoughts and feelings! That makes them way more sensitive than all of us!! They can’t express it but they are deeply affected by our thoughts and attitudes!! So the more conscious we are in their presence, the happier they are and they actually thus helping us to evolve into better human beings!!
  • Let us teach our children by example. Let us be inclusive in our thoughts! Let us be more tolerant and accepting of imperfection. Perfection is a myth! Let us raise our children as sensitive human beings who can reach out to those that can use some empathy and understanding. If we hear that our children are being bullies, let us not jump in to defend them. Let us look in to the matter and if it’s true, use the opportunity to teach our children to be more sensitive!
  • Be in touch with Mother Nature. Human beings are products of nature. We can’t afford to forget that! When we are in harmony with nature, we are in balance and healthy. Children calm down in quiet natural places; and as they are ONE WITH NATURE. They’ve not fully separated from it. To be aware of and follow the repetitive and predictable rhythms of nature- being random and whimsical makes them feel insecure (read Patrick Jasper Lees note on Natural Rhythms); to make nature a part and parcel of our life- what we eat, what we drink, how we entertain ourselves; over-stimulation that is, loud music and noises, electronic media and entertainment is addictive, making children restless and causes them to lose their ability to be in the present and to be grounded- to think, to concentrate. We want our children to achieve more, but we are not providing them with a suitable atmosphere for them to do that!
  • Early stimulation is not limited to stimulation of the brain. A human being has many more aspects other than the brain. The brain can come in later. But first we need to develop their senses, their physical bodies, their emotions and their will. Parents are falling for the trap of early brain stimulation and children are losing their childhood too early and are becoming precocious. We need to preserve their innocence for their own good!
  • Realize that children are affected by and learn from ‘who we are’ and not ‘what we say or do’. Our state of being as a parent or a teacher has a direct bearing on their well-being. If we are well, so are they.
  • But, we need to refrain from being judgmental of ourselves and others; nobody’s perfect. We all can be better and it’s important that we are on the right path.
  • Not dwell in the past or future but to enjoy the present;
  • There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ experiences- only learning opportunities.
  • The children being born in this generation are vibrating at a high frequency. We need to increase our positive vibrations so we can reach up to them; to think pure thoughts- for they are sensitive enough to know what we think and parents will vouch for the fact that their behavior deteriorates when there are negative emotions in their environment and they calm down when we are calm. Calmness is a state of being where we can just be– neither positive, nor negative
  • Use technology and wealth for the betterment of life and society, instead of becoming slaves to it!
  • Slow down! Calm down!

We need to become conscious of our choices and make suitable and healthy changes in our lives to enable our children to cope with the world. We need to look at the deeper causes of the problems our children are facing, and deal with that- like food intolerance, lack of healthy rhythms, healthy emotional environments, etc. rather than try to ‘cure’ or ‘treat’ symptoms.

We all need to get together and work towards PREVENTION. We now know what is causing these syndromes, so we all need to become crusaders. This is not the time to blame or find fault with one another. This is the time to join hands and do what our children want us to do.

Create a better, cleaner world! Develop healthy lifestyles-Together, we can prevent and reduce the incidence of Autism, ADHD, asthma, allergies, obesity, malnutrition, childhood heart diseases, and increase the ‘well being’ quotient of the world! With the help of internet and Facebook, we can spread this message all over the world!

But for making this possible we need to start with ‘the man in the mirror’ so to speak. Let’s begin with ourselves- are we ready to let go of something that is convenient but unhealthy? Are we willing to make little sacrifices for the betterment of the entire world? Are we willing to give up our attachment to the material and move towards the natural, the spiritual or at least find a balance?

Let us try to listen to what our children are saying even if they are not speaking. They don’t need words, we do. We need to use our gift of intuition- with which we can listen to what our children are saying. They have chosen us to help them. Let us try to understand who these children are and what they need us to do to make this world a better place- at least for all the children who are yet to come.

Nirupama Rao

-Inspired by the teachings of Rudolf Steiner (Spiritual Scientist and founder of ‘Anthroposophy’, who started ‘Curative Education’ for children and adults with special needs. Curative Education Centers and Camphill Communities are established all over the world and in India there is Saandeepani (Hyderabad), Friends of Camphill (Bangalore), V-Excel (Chennai) among others, including Niraamayaa (Mumbai) that are inspired by Steiner’s philosophy),

Also William Stillman, Suzy Miller, Patrick Jasper Lee, Temple Grandin, Gayle and Lyrica Mia and most importantly by all the children with Autism from whom I’ve been learning and many, many others who are also on this journey with me.

NIRAAMAYAA- Nurturing Children Naturally

First posted on 30 December, 2010


Sarve bhavantu sukhinaha

Sarve santu Niraamayaaha

This verse from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad means:

“May everyone be happy, may everyone be well (without disease)”

But what does Niraamayaa actually mean?

One of our parents told me the true meaning of the Sanskrit word Niraamayaa. Although I did know that broadly it meant freedom from illness and a state of complete wellness, the actual meaning of the word is clearer when we break it up into nir+aamay. ‘Ama’ in sanskrit means ‘toxins’ or ‘impurity’. So nir-amay means a ‘toxin free state of purity’. This was such a revelation for me as this is exactly what we are striving for at Niraamayaa…..the children who come to us from the spiritual world are so pure, that they cannot take in anything that is not pure- like synthetic food, electromagnetic radiation, vaccines, antibiotics, allopathic medication, etc. We need to instead, try and purify their environment for them, serve fresh, home made food and last but not the least, purify our own heart and mind spaces for them so that everything that is fed to them as food and through the environment (that includes us) is ‘digestible’ to them….then they can reach the state of ‘niraamaya’…..

Everywhere we look these days; there is talk about wellness- Wellness spas, wellness stores, wellness foods, and so on. Why this sudden need for wellness? Perhaps we have realized that in our struggle to survive in this pressure-filled competitive world, we are compromising on our well being. Perhaps we are also realizing that as we are getting sucked in by the hypnotizing realm of technology, gadgetry and modern day living, we are somehow losing out on the human touch and are losing touch with Mother Nature.

The further we move from the comforting and harmonious rhythms of nature and rely on synthetic, unnatural products and ways of living, the further away we move from feeling well. This lack of well being manifests itself as physical, emotional and mental symptoms and syndromes. We wait for something drastic to happen before we awaken and realize how far away we have moved from being really well.

Especially when Mother Earth chooses to express her anguish through our children….whom we value more than anything else in the world.

There is increasing incidence today of children with various special needs- learning difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit and hyperactivity and so on.

Increasing number of studies seems to be pointing to a deep connection between unhealthy lifestyles and habits to Child Mental Health issues. For instance there was an article in the Times recently linking speech delay in toddlers to homes where the child does not get enough language stimulation. There are also issues because children do not play enough. Parents say: “what can we do? We don’t have a choice! This is what everyone’s doing. It’s the norm today.” But is this norm the healthy for our children? Is there a better way to live? Don’t we want our children to lead healthy, productive, balanced lives not just for themselves, but also so that they can contribute to the community? And most importantly, are we willing to come out of our comfort zones for the sake of our children? Are we ready to make aware and conscious parenting choices?

This is the objective behind Niraamayaa, a “Centre for the well being of children and parents”- to help parents make the right choices. To provide them with healthy options for the well being of their children, irrespective of whether they have special needs or not.

In her experience of 15 years with children needing special care, Nirupama Rao the co-founder of Niraamayaa, a psychologist by qualification, has learnt that doing therapy directly with children is only one part of the job. Of equal importance is the home environment, lifestyles, dietary and sleep habits and last but not the least, the physical and emotional well-being of the parents themselves.

Hence, at Niraamayaa we believe in spending as much time with parents as is possible, through counselling and guidance as to the healthiest possible ways of raising children in today’s time and age, along with creative and rejuvenating activities which leave them feeling refreshed and cared for. This is done by way of workshops as well as individual counselling sessions.

Very often what we ‘want’ for our children is not the same as what they really ‘need’. What we ‘want’ is that they fulfil our expectations and perform to ease our anxiety; but what they really ‘need’ is for us to slow down, understand them, observe them and accept them for who they really are.

Our main purpose at Niraamayaa is to

  • help parents understand children and their needs,
  • to create awareness about the connection between child mental health and healthy life styles and

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  • to sensitize the society about the true needs of growing children- that children, at least in the first five or six years need to play, connect to nature,  need good role models and need to really remain children for as long as they can, without the cares and pressures of adult life which they will have to face as adults anyway.
  • To help children and even us adults to actually try at reach that state of ‘Niraamayaa’- the state of freedom from toxicity and the state of purity in body, mind, soul and spirit!!

Nirupama Rao,