Published: 02nd September 2020
Kerala's Autism Club has the perfect Onam Gift for kids
The students have created a total of 50 GIFs that show different aspects of Onam and the parents have made two music videos entirely using the GIFs and paintings created by these autistic children
No Malayali would have ever thought that there will come a year in which they would miss out Onam celebrations. It is that one day where they get to dress up in their dear white sarees, silk skirts and blouses and white, golden bordered clothes, sing praises of the great Mahabali, the king who ruled the land centuries ago, decorate their courtyards with flower carpets and eat a finger-licking yum sadya. 2020 changed it all. Like every other otherwise normal thing, Onam celebrations were online too.
But the mothers at Autism Club, Kerala thought that this year, they would celebrate all 10 days of Onam and teach their children a new skill at the same time. The result? A lot of them now know how to make animated GIFs, cook a few dishes and sing the lyrics to songs in accordance with the karaoke. The students have created a total of 50 GIFs that show different aspects of Onam and the parents have made two music videos entirely using the GIFs and paintings created by these autistic children.
"This year, we had no options apart from taking our Onam celebrations online. Most of our children are really keen to learn computer skills. So, a month prior, we started online classes to teach them the basics of animation," says Deepthi Biju, a mother. "They picked up animation with ease. Not a lot of them drew their own images, but they knew how things worked. For instance, most of them knew how to make a boat move from one point to another. The parents would maybe have to help them decide the background," she says.
At the same time, every day, these children were given specific activities to do at home. If the activity is to paint a picture one day, the next day, they were asked to try cooking an Onam dish. On the third day, they had to record a song. "Some of them could sing only parts of it. But they somehow managed to match it with the karaoke well," says Deepthi.