Pallab, my brother was diagnosed with a condition of Mild Intellectual disability at the age of 14. He is now 18yrs old. Before that he was going to a mainstream school. He definitely behaved differently and we had also observed that his milestones were delayed but nothing was really visible. At that time our family, neighbors, doctors, everyone advised that we should be patient and things would turn fine. But something was not right. Time passed and we overlooked his condition, being wrapped in our own lives that paced rapidly towards higher studies, career, job and managing home. My father is a principal in a high school and my sister is a teacher. The younger one is post graduating.

I aspired to be a doctor but not having cleared the entrance I applied to be a nurse. I am a staff nurse with the State Dispensary- Assam. I didn’t know that my education will impact me the way it did. It made me realize that certain deviations that I had observed in my brother could be consequent to an Intellectual Challenge. I discussed this possibility with my family and we got his IQ assessed which was 66. We discovered that he had an intellectual Disability.

I realized why Pallab had to face discrimination. All these years of silent frustration and prolonged bed-wetting were a result of being avoided and ignored by his classmates. Once he was beaten by one of his ‘friends’ and he never told us. We got to know from another classmate; his tiffin used to come back empty without him having eaten any food. These are a few instances that we got to know of. How many more he may have suffered lies buried deep inside.

Things began to show up once he joined a special school. He was understood and accepted there. He joined SO Bharat last year. In this one year he has participated in Football and Softball under the mentorship of his Coach Anshuman whom he likes dearly. Very recently he played football at the Asian football Week celebrated between 21 and 27 July 2019. He experienced playing with everyone for the first time. This was in sharp contrast to standing at the fringes of the sports field while others played. His role was to pass them back the ball if it crossed the field. 

In Special Olympics he leads. His confidence has grown. My father plays badminton, we all love sports. Pallab plays with us but he needs more people to play and interact with. I am so happy that he is a part of Special Olympics. It is a platform for my brother and all differently abled children where their abilities are recognized and they get opportunities to enhance their capabilities.

Story told by Upasna Kolita, Sibling of Pallab