BrainBristle as a Foundation spends 30-40% of its resources in empowering a few children on the spectrum of autism to their maximal ability. And, 60-70% of BrainBristle’s work is focused on research, advocacy, community work, education and awareness for communities, policy makers and families impacted by autism, respectively.
I grew up as a member of a large, loving, family with a highly gifted brother, a psychologist/ dancer/ school principal for my mother, and a serial entrepreneur, socially-minded, very creative father. Growing up in their shadow, I grew up watching the world, seeing them; but seeing what's still left undone, thus, where should I fit in with my genes in this crowded world of the many, with all the freedom I ever needed, had, at hand.
So, the kids my mother worked with for extra help, I taught them when they weren't being taught in class - the kids my mother worked with, had special needs, such as autism, down's syndrome, other intellectual disabilities- whatever they might be, I just hung out with them like my best buddies, asking for nothing in return, just friendship, camaraderie and fun.
It was easy, there was no difference between us, them and me. This gravitated me towards working with special kids, as a chosen subject, in my after-school acitivities, while I was at boarding school.
Soon after Lady Sriram College, Delhi, in 2007, I met a young, violent young boy with autism, Sahil, he kicked off my journey, to study autism, and intellectual disabilities, at Teacher's College, Columbia University in New York, at a time when all of this was still new/ unheard of back in India. I, then, worked across countries, continents, and institutions, traveled the world, dated men from many cultures, befriended people from many walks of life and understood autism is as closely interlinked to everything as it falls apart.
Autism is a cry for freedom, of some kind, in some direction. It is looking for some rootedness, some wings in a world alien, unknown - with that knowledge, I began writing papers, training educators, co-running classrooms and presenting at conferences across the world. I attended the World Economic Forum, Davos 2020, to share my thoughts on education, history and the arts; I designed courses; began mindfulness and exercise as healing circles rather than punishment movements- all so we flow at our pace, time, style and speed in this world.
This has been my work with children on the spectrum and with myself- to find our flow in a ferociously fast world.
I want to bring this sense of being to our kids, to our work in the space of mental and political health in India- so we unleash our kids on the spectrum of autism, freely, rather than keep them caged, by rules dictated by the many.
I have a Dual Master's in Autism and Intellectual Disabilities; was awarded the Elise Todden Scholarship, and was a research scholar for adolescents on the spectrum of autism at the Outcomes and Opportunities Department of Teacher's College, Columbia University, New York.