The pandemic has unraveled several heartwarming stories, and this one too will fill you with great positivity and inspiration. In September, Tirunelveli-born Prem Sankar, an autistic boy, celebrated his 25th birthday by launching his website. Currently, he has four others who are working under him. All this happened because both Prem and his mother jointly worked to fulfil this dream!
To help Prem, his mother Mangai, became a qualified special needs educator, and developed learning models to help her son pick up the coding skills. She simplified all the lessons, so he could learn at his own pace.
Although there are several children who make websites at a young age, what makes Prem different is his journey of picking up coding skills, despite his condition. For the uninitiated, those who suffer from autism find it difficult to even complete their tertiary education. Most of them secure jobs in the handicraft sector, which is why this is a remarkable feat!
Prem grappled with all kinds of challenges, but has emerged successful in creating interactive websites for his clients using his top-notch coding skills.
“Prem learned data entry and also completed vocational training in weaving and plate making. But he was never offered a job in data entry for behavioural reasons, and he never liked the latter,” told Mangai, his mother, to the media.
The inspiring journey
Prem was born in Tirunelveli, and later moved to Tuticorin and Trichy. He was only three years old, when his parents observed some behavioural changes in him, after which doctors detected him with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He studied in an inclusive CBSE school until he was eight, and then completed Class 10 and 12 from a special school, when he was 20.
After Prem dropped out of an arts course in Trichy, his parents relocated to Chennai for his sister’s higher education. This was the time that changed his life. As his mother says, in 2019, the family had visited a job fair that was held to mark Autism month, where they met Manu Sekar, who works for students with special needs. He reassured Prem that he would be able to code and develop websites, and facilitated the process of learning.
Manu along with Prem’s mother worked closely with him because students who have autism require more attention than others. Results started reflecting with in a year and Prem developed five websites.
Harnessing his strengths
“Prem has a good memory, but is weak in logic. Hence, we decided to work on his strengths. Initially, we worked to develop greeting cards or other designs. But from December 2019, Prem started working on computer coding basics and learning languages,” said Mangai.
Mangai feels that Prem can pick up more website work as he is interested in building websites for wedding, dance and other similar genres, and plans to work in the US in the future.
(Edited by Varnika Gupta)