The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
– Robert Frost
As I began to write about our life, mine, my son’s, our family’s it turned out to be about more than just us. It became a story of everyone around us and about the community we live in.
Today I want to talk about the families who won’t be in a party you go to, or won’t ride a bike in the park with you or enjoy the new movie in the theatre or go for exotic vacations or won’t have a most happening life on social media, they may not be able to try gourmet food or lead a most exciting life. I want to talk about families who want to give their children the best of the world, whose life is running from one therapy session to another, looking for a better specialist, finding the right therapist, cooking those 5 things their child will eat day after day, their life revolving around cleaning after their child’s meal and managing a day without a meltdown.
And I tell you – they love their kid just as much as any other parent.
This newsletter is for the month of April for you but for many of us this is Autism Awareness Month. In a way, these families with special needs children live their lives everyday but seldom get a chance to talk about it. I am grateful for this opportunity to show you a glimpse of that world.
My name is Jaya Pandey and I live in Franklin, MA with 3 men in my life. They are a joy and my strength who I cherish, who push me to aspire to be a better version of myself. When Anand was young we didn’t have a clue that his brain works differently. He wasn’t a talker and it didn’t bother us much as his brother spoke late and when he did he made up for those years. Anand started to read when he was 4 years old and could tell us about everything he read. Now I know it was his logical mind and memory working. It was his preschool teacher who noticed his lack of social interactions.
Our speech and language delay journey began when he was 4 years plus and then Autism entered our life as a label when Anand was 7 plus.
Fast forward a decade, I started building a community for Desi Moms with special needs children and it has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. In the last couple of years I have built this community, brought moms together and initiated various groups, organized family picnics , have done over 25 family photoshoots and now made this community Global. If you know anyone who has a child with special needs please have them reach out to me to be a part of this village and make it their own.
Today I want to talk about what you could do to support these families around you. First of all, please let the families know that you care for them and want to do whatever you can to support them. Every family has different needs so always ask but please be genuine and don’t reach out to them for “Social media posts, photo opportunity or to feel good.” Do it only if you really want to be there for them. Make the kids a part of your life, invite them, ask them what works for them, just be there to listen sometimes, cook them a meal and more than anything teach your child to be kind and empathetic. Instead of asking them to come to your home ask if they prefer to watch a movie in their home, take out with movie might work just fine.
Don’t stop inviting them because they have been declining your invitation, always ask and when they decline yet again say it’s okay, maybe next time. If you need a dog or cat sitter check with them first if their child would like to try. The kids crave social gatherings so invite them for a small get together. More than anything teach your children to be kind and good human beings.
This April, let us try to build a better world for our beautiful children with special needs.
The facebook group is – Desi Moms Network
and Instagram –
Jaya Pandey is a mom, community builder and story teller. she uses Sarees as a medium to talk about social causes, disability and life as an immigrant woman and a Special Needs child’s mother. She is very involved in the Indian community in MA and has been working on raising awareness about special needs and Autism. You can reach Jaya at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She writes about her world at: