Karishma's Teenage Years

(13 - 17) yrs

Karishma was in her pre-teens when the family re-located back to Chennai in 2001, due to her father’s work transfer. Transition from Bangalore to Chennai was challenging. Karishma learnt to adapt to the changes in terms of schools, teachers, neighborhood and friends. Karishma is lucky to have been brought up in a close knit, loving and supportive family that provided her emotional stability and security. Presence of grand parents and extended families also helped her in this stage of growing up. Karishma showed signs of puberty around 12 years and gradually learnt to cope with her physical changes. There were occasional tantrums and mood swings. Karishma was taught age-appropriate and socially acceptable behavior, both in school and at home. She learnt to guard her privacy and organize herself during those days.

Karishma seemed ready for more changes and the family discovered her interests in Dance and Theater Arts. Karishma found her expression through Classical Dance and Dance-drama organized by her special school-‘Rasa’. She was introduced to Creative Movement Education and enjoyed giving stage performances. The special school also prepared her for pre-vocational skills like block printing, paper-bags making and embroidery. Her parents enrolled her in after-school programs. ‘Individualized Educational program’ on one-to-one basis was introduced to her by a centre called ‘Direct’ where she was able to explore her computer skills,  basic functional academics and cognitive abilities. She was also briefly introduced to key-board lessons as she enjoyed music but found it difficult to cope with the complexities of reading/understanding notes and using her fingers on the key board simultaneously. Karishma developed her self-help skills and domestic skills at this stage. The family provided her appropriate structure and routine in which she could independently operate with minimum help and this helped in building her self confidence. She got an opportunity to be the brand ambassador of an NGO, Shakthi Foundation, working for the betterment of special needs people. Her exposure to a larger audience, News and media worked as a positive reinforcement and she felt motivated to give her best.

The family welcomed home her friends for lunches and planned outings to encourage her social interactions. Karishma’s communication skill was developing well and she could have meaningful conversations with people she was comfortable with.

The family took 2 holidays every year and Karishma got opportunities to explore nature- trekking, climbing, swimming along with her sister Kajol. A special bonding developed and the two sisters actually complimented and supplemented each other in so many ways.

There were no major changes in her health conditions. Karishma continued her long term course of medication for hypothyroidism. She developed sensitive skin and was prone to dust-allergies.


Centers, institutions and professionals who worked with her

Dance and Theater Arts

  1. Dr. Ambika Kameshwar. Rasa*

Special school

  1. *Rasa- Ramana Sunritya Aaliya, Chennai, India
  2. Direct Centre for learning- Mrs. Sharanya Anil Bajaj


  1. Shakthi Foundation- Mrs. Vasanth Raghuveer

Our daughter Karishma
Parent’s experience - Q&A

How did Karishma change as a teenager?

Having reached puberty, there were occasional outbursts of mood swings and sulking. Karishma showed a tentative interest in boys, especially her classmates in school, and she was very choosy about her friends.

Karishma was aware of her gradual physical changes as she reached puberty by the 12th year. As she understands better when she ‘sees’, seeing is knowing, hence we used picture books for preparing her. However she related better to real situation. Within few months she became quite comfortable in dealing with the requirements of monthly cycles. She was made to understand that this was part of growing up. She was taught the importance of personal hygiene. Use of a visual time-table and calendar helped her much in planning and preparing at this stage. She felt very exhausted during those days and we preferred to avoid extra physical activities during that time, especially her dance lessons.

Karishma is fortunate to have brothers (cousins) in the family that gave her a natural introduction to opposite sex. However Karishma showed tentative interest in boys in her class, in her 13th year but remained very choosy about who could be her friends. Since it was a co-educational school, the teachers and co-helpers were always prompt in maintaining a healthy distance amongst boys and girls in the class at the same time encouraging good inter-personal relationship. We helped her to understand appropriate social behavior and the difference between friends and strangers, safe touch and unsafe touch.

We, as a family, always strived to give Karishma all the love, care and support that gave her emotional stability and security. Our extended families and her grand parents often came together on occasions. Her every little achievement was celebrated. We planned 2 family holidays every year and created many happy memorable moments. We discussed challenges, issues and solutions together. Karishma and her sister, both participated in domestic activities, like making their beds, setting table for dinner, clearing and washing which was intended to encourage a sense of belonging. We adopted 2 pets (Labradors) and cared for them. We welcomed Karishma’s friend’s home for lunches and arranged outings to help her socialize. As a family, we have consciously encouraged healthy touch-therapy and hugs, and ensured that she does not crave for any physical attention from strangers. Her physical energy was well channelized as she took to Dance and theater. It also helped her to find her emotional expression.

Although she is friendly by nature, Karishma had few close friends with whom she could be very comfortable. She seemed very sensitive to other’s behavior towards her and chose her friends carefully. She shared very good relationship with her teachers and care takers. She seemed more comfortable relating to elders than her peers. However she enjoyed group activities with peer groups with adult supervision. She was very caring towards younger children and assumed responsible behavior towards them.

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Some more photos

from the teenage years