SSC exams: Autistic student from Mumbai refuses writer, to type out answers himself

The teenager, who has been beating the odds throughout his life, insisted that he would not take the help of a writer; he will type out the answers on a laptop himself

When Perzaan (name changed) was born, doctors had told his parents that he wouldn’t be able to speak even a word ever in his life. Not only has Perzaan managed to beat the odds in that department but, at 16, he has decided not to let autism come in the way of appearing for the SSC exams, which begin today.

Students and parents confirm the seating arrangements and roll numbers at Don Bosco School in Matunga yesterday. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Students and parents confirm the seating arrangements and roll numbers at Don Bosco School in Matunga yesterday. Pic/Nimesh Dave

While autism can affect the reading and writing prowess of children, this gritty student has decided to appear for his board exams without the help of a writer and type out the answers on a laptop himself.

“He has insisted that he’ll write the papers on the laptop himself and as per the board rules, he can sit with his counsellor, who can explain certain questions to him. Complicated questions need to be explained to him, but otherwise he will write his answers himself,” said Perzaan’s father.

A student of Nalanda Institute, Byculla, Perzaan not only attends school every day, but also goes through various sessions of remedial classes, besides studying at home with his mother to ensure that his learning disability does not come in the way of doing well in his board exams.

Joint effort
While Perzaan puts in many hours of hard work every day, his parents are not far behind. Be it waking up at odd hours to ensure he can revise what he has learnt, or providing emotional support, they are always around for him.

“My wife and son are up at 4.30 am every day to prepare for his exams. It makes me happy to know that my son has taken up this challenge in the right spirit,” said the father.

While the pre-exam jitters are affecting Perzaan’s attention span, his father hopes he will not let it affect his determination to do well in life. According to the Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE), children with autism are allowed to drop two language subjects and choose vocational subjects instead.

They are allowed a writer in certain cases, given extra time, and allowed to opt for lower-level Maths instead of the Std X subject. In some cases, students are also allowed to take their exam on a laptop. “The state board has been very helpful and forthcoming in this matter. All Perzaan needs is someone to tell him to focus on the exam and break down difficult questions to him.

That’s why his counsellor will be sitting for the exams with him,” said his father. Close to 3.83 lakh students from the Mumbai division (includes Mumbai, Thane and Raigad) will be appearing for their SSC examinations beginning today. 17 lakh students will be appearing for the exams across the state.

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