Mythily Chari – A Teacher par Excellence. Autism and Mythily Chari are synonymous in India. She has transformed the lives of many families touched by Autism. Once you have met Autism through Mythily Chari your life will be transformed forever. She has ignited the passion for Autism in many a teacher and therapist who have had the good fortune to be guided by her. She is the spokesperson for many a person with Autism speaking their thoughts, ideas, emotions and words. She is the author of “Owners Manual of Autism”, “Autobiography of An Autism Entrepreneur”, “Autism – Book of Revelations” . She is the founder of Institute for Remedial Intervention Services (IRIS).
1. What is your Education & Professional Background Ms. Mythily Chari?
I graduated from St. Teresa’s College, Kerala majoring in English Literature. I completed Masters Degree in Education (Sp. Ed) from University of Florida, and later Education Specialist from the same Alma Mater.
2. A Brief Note on Institute for Remedial Intervention Services (IRIS) & its success story?
Having worked with various NGOs Spastic Society Mumbai and Tamana Special School Delhi, I decided not to work for any organisation but start my own. In the year 1998 my husband Major General C.T.Chari (Phd) decided to take VRS and concentrate on community work. My educational experience and expertise put me in Expert committee of Rehabilitation Council of India. I was given the task to organize nation wide training of Course Coordinators of Teacher Training; Chennai (South Zone ie Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka), Mumbai (Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan) Delhi( Madhya Pradesh, UP, Delhi ) Kolkatta( Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya) in autism. It was definitely starting from scratch. I fashioned the course content – an improvement on TEACCH model.
3. Role of your (late) husband Major General Chari in creating IRIS?
Chari wanted me to devote the rest of my life to improve the life of those on the Autism Spectrum. So we coined Institute for Remedial Intervention Services (IRIS) . We decided on not starting a school as that would have been limiting my reach. I have since then worked more or less single handedly.
4. Tell us everything about IRIS & Commandur Foundation, what does IRIS do?
We founded Commandur Foundation in 2006, registered in Andhra Pradesh as a trust, providing consultancy services, training and capacity development of institutions. This way like the drip irrigation I reached directly children, parents , teachers, therapists and other NGOs engaged in similar work. Training was always onsite and at home or school. A visit to www. autismindia.com would familiarize with the reach and scale of my work. However the site is redundant for sometime now. During the three decades that I have spent in the field I would have made a difference to 700 families and the number is growing still. I have worked with close to 70 organizations nationwide.
5. Give us a background of your core team including that of Institute for Remedial Intervention Services (IRIS)?
IT support is given by my son Ranjan Chari, he the other founder member of the Trust. In the past I have invited specialists from Australia, England, USA, Switzerland, Ireland, and Singapore to conduct training programs and workshops for our parents and professionals. I am proud to say we have not requested funds from our Government. Having invested in the community a lot of good will has been generated. Donors appear sporadically and support my work. My husband had been a steady donor until his demise in 2015. After his demise my brother in C.R. Chari is inducted as Trust member.
6. What inspired you to choose Autism as a specialisation?
It is not I who chose Autism, it is (now I know) the Autism Collective. General Chari was instrumental in the transformation from a homemaker to a professional. However I have no idea as to what I was getting into.
7. When did you start promoting the concept “Autism is not a Disorder”. Pl elaborate?
The shift in perception that Autism is not a Disorder or Deficit but Divinity did not happen overnight. I was skeptical to say the least. But since 2004 Savants (a French term to mean “to know without learning”)started appearing in my life. Details of these Masters can be had from my book “Autism Book of Revelations”. They continue to appear at present too. A time came when I could no longer shove them under the carpet for lack of empirical evidence.
8. What are the major challenges faced by Parents in Upbringing the Autie’s?
Parents struggle to come to terms with the birth of their children who do not seem to have any physical handicap or limitation. Once they accept the fact that this is Divine Will at work, they will be free of guilt and victimhood. The Medical Model does not allow for this to happen; treatment and therapies are aimed at a cure when there is no disease! Having worked for nearly 35 years I can high light some myths that parents cling to:
To look for a cure
To wait for the child to become”normal”
Try to fit the child in a box.
Not listening to their own gut feeling and instinct.
Waiting to ‘get over’autism.
These are actually the challenges, if something has to change that has to be from the family. Whereas they blame others, teachers, schools, management, government etc.
9. What suggestions you have for Autie Parenting?
Two suggestions: No matter what your child has to be learn.
1. To be independent in doing all activities of daily life.
2. To be an asset and not a liability to family.
10. Having discussed with you for so long I get a feel that you are relating Autie’s to Enlightened being. If so do we assume that it is a trait that is left un noticed?
Extra Sensory Perception ESP. Please refer to Owners Manual for Autism for the following given in great length.
11. Though you are from India most of your education & Research are from leading universities in the US. So from a Western Prospective and for the West to believe your thought do you have empirical proof (or) deep dived research to prove that Autie’s are in turn enlightened soul’s?
One needs to understand that there is a difference between Mentalists or people who perform to make a living by these ‘Sidhis’. Autism Masters do not want public gaze, adulation, or recognition. To quote a Master Anudeep “Trying to prove Psychic abilities is futile”. They have no intention of merchandising their wares. So they would not cooperate with researchers, media or when anyone is “using” them.
12. Are All Autie’s fortune tellers? (or) that they are born with certain special traits that are uncomprehendable?
Please do not reduce them to fortune tellers. That will be like ridiculing.
13. Madam Is Autism really growing big in India? If so are there data compiled by any government agencies?
Despite better prenatal maternal care and awareness Prevalence of Autism will continue to rise. That is their collective will a pact with the Supreme Intelligence to counter the negative denser vibrations.
14. Madam Mythily Chari you are considered a Guru of Autism and you claim there are no data available. So what should be done and how can Government & Volunteers help in bridging the gap.
Rewrite the whole concept Redefine, Re organize and Recognise the condition.
15. Is India really lacking Awareness on Autism
Regarding Divinity Model, Yes there is scanty awareness, if at all.
16. Some of your milestones are:
We started with Medical Model, then Therapy / Treatment Model, Social Model (mostly pioneered by me) . I am providing Spiritual Model for rehabilitation.
17. How are you funded / Supported?
I operate on shoestring budget. But I support in whichever way I can.
18. What are your Future plans?
Spreading the NOW of Autism. As we have it. Heartism is what we propound now are practiced by Ms Nandini Santhanam and Vijaykant founders of Lotus Foundation. You are driven by love and not by methodology. Unconditional Love and a Life of Joyful freedom of expression permeates Lotus.
19. What will be your inputs to youngsters who wants to pursue a career in Special Ed?
Not as a career but as a vocation or calling. Missionary zeal (pardon me for not coming up with another word) and a sense of devotion is what is needed. Otherwise however much qualified you are the Masters will not real. Your channels have to be receptive to the download.
20. Finally your ideas and inputs for Techies who wish to create a start up on Special Ed?
Please share success stories. Despite all the limitations and nay saying our kids stun us with their brilliance.
If you wish to get in touch with Ms. Mythily Chari write into firstname.lastname@example.org
Institute for Remedial Intervention Services (IRIS) – Chennai