Serious physical disability has never been an impediment for 17-year-old S. Dinesh of Pullambadi village near Lalgudi to make his creative abilities surface.

The National “Best Creative Child with Disability (boy)” Award that he received earlier this month from President Pratibha Patil was in recognition of his determination and hard work.

Neither the cerebral palsy with 80 per cent affliction that he suffered at birth nor the loss of his parents could deter Dinesh from marching on from one milestone to other culminating in the national recognition.

Born as a premature baby in 1993, Dinesh had no control over movements of his head due to brain damage. Without the resources to provide him medical care in a remote village, his parents, both daily labourers, could do nothing beyond wishing for divine intervention.

Dinesh did show signs of improvement though late. He could sit at the age of three years, and soon started crawling. That was when Dinesh's parents took him to a paediatrician, Kingsley P. Jebakumar. The boy was diagnosed with athetoid type Cerebral Palsy and was referred to the Spastics Society of Tiruchi for rehabilitation. He was admitted to the Society's Lalgudi centre, where he was accommodated in a hostel. His involuntary movement in the upper limbs prevented him from holding pen or pencil. At the Spastics Society, Dinesh was given self-care skill training in eating, dressing, using toilets etc. He controlled his shaky movements and started writing with his left hand.

Dinesh attended the special classes offered by the Society and developed enormous talent owing to which he was shifted to mainstream education and admitted in class VII in Government High School, Lalgudi. At present Dinesh is studying in class X and has been securing good marks consistently, says C. Shanthakumar, Director of Spastics Society.

He has developed an interest in painting, drawing and creative arts. He has participated in many State and national level creative art competitions and received a lot of appreciation and acclaim.

This is the second national award won by Dinesh. He was given ‘Bal Shree' Award by the then President, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, a few years ago.