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Rashwin’s story



“For autistic people, they are not different from other people, they just see the world differently and they have their unique way of expressing themselves.” 


Rashwin A/L Kalitas, a 4-year old student of Headstart Academy from Semenyih, successfully carved his name in the Malaysian Book of Records for successfully identifying 198 country flags in 9 minutes and 54 seconds. This sets the record of the most number of international flags identified by an autistic child.

According to Madam Krishnarani Balakrishnan, 36, her family noticed Rashwin’s potential when he was only 2 and a half years old. Rashwin showed keen interest in shapes, colours, and with a picture dictionary. From that point on, they decided to cultivate and support Rashwin’s interest.


Madam Krishnarani also shared her experience as a parent to an autistic child.

“Rashwin was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was 20 months years old. Of course, as parents, we used to be in denial but after a while we started to believe that what Rashwin has is not a disability, rather it is a special ability” she said.


Meanwhile, Rashwin’s father, Mr. Kalithas Selvaraju, 40, said that he and his family try their best to support Rashwin. He admitted that this journey requires them to make lots of sacrifices. However, to improve Rashwin’s quality of life, personal sacrifice by the whole family is very much part of the journey.

He added that this would be a long journey not only for them, but for all parents with special needs children.


“Our society’s awareness about Autism is still lacking. We tend to see autism as a disease or disability, but actually it is not,” he explained.


While society views autistic people “awkwardly”, some even exclude them, it is very important to note that they also are part of us. For autistic people, they are not different from other people, they just see the world differently and they have their unique way of expressing themselves.


When Ms.Krishnarani was asked about what she hopes from this achievement, her answer is simple yet meaningful.


“I wish more parents will realise that having an autistic child is not a weakness. Many parents that I have spoken to are worried, and some are afraid. They are not alone. We hope to inspire more parents to understand their autistic child better.”


Both Mr. Kalithas and Ms.Krishnarani’s last words were they wish to see society be more open to embracing autistic people as well to understand them better. And for them, they will continue to advocate for as long as it is needed.

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