How a Mumbai woman is helping autistic individuals to build their identity, be independent

Living an independent life for an autistic person is a big challenge as communication is a severely affected area in a person with autism

Sangeetha Chakrapani at Andheri East, Mumbai symbolises latent women power. A mother to two teenage girls with autism, Sangeetha started a life skill centre to help young people with intellectual impairments to get ready for living independently after a lifetime of being dependent on parents.

How a Mumbai woman helps autistic individuals to build their identity
Sangeetha started a life skill centre to help young people with intellectual impairments to get ready for living independently

“My children – Krishna, Jayashree, Lakshmi and Jayanthi have taught me the true meaning of life. We got to know of Lakshmi and Jayanthi being autistic when they were two-years-old and three-years-old respectively. We refused to believe it initially but soon our journey began helping them lead a meaningful life,” said Sangeetha.

She said it was her children who made her realise that that people with autism can co-exist happily and meaningfully with others in society.

How a Mumbai woman helps autistic individuals to build their identity
Autistic children at the training programme centre

“As parents grow older, children with autism who are now grown up adults are phased out into residential facilities or in care of their relatives. Living an independent life for an autistic person is a big challenge as communication is a severely affected area in a person with autism. Understanding others and making one understood, by people apart from one’s own parents is a huge challenge,” said Sangeetha.

After a lot of research, the Chakrapani’s decided to start ‘Together Life Skills Centre’ in Andheri East, last year to give a holistic program to youngsters with intellectual impairments.

How a Mumbai woman helps autistic individuals to build their identity
The kitchen, inside the centre which Sangeetha teaches

“The centre provides training in kitchen management, self-care and care of the environment, pre-vocational and vocational training and management of free/leisure time. It also runs a full-fledged bakery and the aim is to help them build an individual identity and help them set up their local businesses with our support,” said Sangeetha.

Presently, there are 11 students enrolled with the centre in the age group of 13-23.

Website: www.togethersee.org

Address: Shop number 12, 13 and 14, Poonam Kirti CHS, Poonam Nagar, Andheri East

Phone: 9930358173/022 28398173