Ananya Agarwalla is helping Autistic students groove to the rhythm…

A Delhi based high school student, a passionate dancer, and an Autism activist, Ananya Agarwalla is bringing the change she wants to see in the world.

When Delhi based student Ananya Agarwalla suffered a tailbone injury, she was heartbroken. Undoubtedly, the injury must have been painful, something she told me early in our conversation. However, she was more disheartened about the horrible news she received from her doctors— she would not be able to dance for a year.

Ananya Agarwalla

As a passionate dancer who had been receiving training in various dance forms since childhood, dance was central to Ananya’s identity of self. She had always viewed the art form as a means of expression, an outlet for her emotions and feelings, and being unable to dance for an entire year felt to her like being stripped of that power.

However, much to the advantage of her autistic students, Ananya is someone who sees a silver lining where there is none. This experience served as an inspiration for her to improvise the dance therapy classes that she had been conducting for three years already at the time of injury. The restriction she felt in her dance movements due to her injury enabled her to connect with her students on a more personal level, albeit different in nature.

Drawing inspiration from the little movement she was allowed, she devised methods and routines that helped her students channelize their emotions into movements that broke away from the restrictions that impairs their verbal communications. While meeting her for this piece, I asked Ananya to elaborate more on her process and here is what she had to say:

“Instead of teaching them steps to songs, I gave them words that they had to innovate a step on. Since children on the Autism spectrum also face difficulty with verbal communication, this helped them express their understanding of a word through ways of non-verbal communication.”

Ananya’s story proves how one can overcome any situation they are and she is truly an inspiration for young people. Some similar inspirational stories from India and around the world, stay tuned to

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Indian. 23. Management Graduate. Huge cricket fan. Twitter and Instagram - @dwayneeeboy