Risshan’s success story

Risshan’s success story

We are excited to present Risshan’s heartwarming story! Let’s hear it directly from super father, Ashiish V Patil, writer, producer, director, author, ex- CEO MTV India. We hope that this tale inspires you to embrace, accept and celebrate your child!

About Risshan and how it started

Risshan was about 2.5 when he was diagnosed with autism. And I was in denial for the first several months. Often we try to live out our own unfulfilled dreams through our kids – and with Risshan’s diagnosis, it felt Life, the Universe and Everything was being unfair to me! So, when people would say, “You’re the chosen one, you’re blessed”, it used to annoy me!

Risshan’s mom, Shital helped me not just understand autism but also accept it. I started reading up, attending therapy sessions, working with Rissh. And over time, I realised, that I am truly lucky. I’d have been a very different person, if not for Risshan and autism.

In a world with so much negativity, trolling, where people get judged by how they look/ who they pray to/ what they wear/ what their abilities or disabilities are/ how much wealth they have or not… Risshan only responds based on how people are with him vs. who they are.

Life lessons by Risshan

Risshan has taught us sooo many life lessons. From not taking anything for granted, appreciating the smallest things, living life with authenticity to giving back with purity. He has made me not just a better father, but a better person. In fact, he gave me the courage to go seek out my own formal assessment, to finally get a late-autism diagnosis. And I realise, we have more than I thought in common.

People usually find it difficult to accept anything different, because we’re all such creatures of habit. But think about it, the same khaana and gaana every day would be so boring. If life is vanilla ice cream, autism is uske saath ka chocolate sauce, sprinklies topping. Rissh is the Badshaah track in the middle of an Arijit playlist. Lack of awareness causes discrimination/ fear. And we’ve always been very open about Risshan’s autism. Sharing more about him, his lived experiences, his stories have helped so many people accept themselves, and others they know. That’s why he’s made it easier even for me at 50 to embrace my own autism and start my journey of self-acceptance.

I truly believe, jab Bhagwan ek darwaaza bandh karta hai, toh chaar aur khidki khol deta hai. And Rissh is away from the traditional rat race of exam pressures and more. He’s found his calling very early. Music is his tool to calm his social anxiety, to communicate, express and connect.

What started out as a random father-son challenge during the first lockdown to put out 21 songs/ videos over 21 days, has become a full-fledged YouTube channel with upwards of 150 videos and now more than 25,000 followers on Instagram. We do song covers, spoken word poetry, comedy sketches, stories and more to create awareness about neurodiversity. And show people that different doesn’t mean less.

I realised that there are still such few resources available to introduce people to this magical world of neurodiversity – the books and literature available are either too academic/ technical or a bit of a personal memoir/ sob story. So, rather than crib about it, I wrote ‘Goldiboy and the Three Apes’ inspired by Risshan. I wanted it to be a positive, happy, fun book. It’s packed with references from Bollywood and the Beatles to Pizzas and iPads.

It’s got 100 plus hand-drawn illustrations. And it’s a great way to start your journey of becoming an ally. The book been endorsed by some of the most respected names in the community besides a ton of celebrity parents like Riteish & Genelia Deshmukh, Soha Ali Kha, Divyanka Tripathi, Vivek Oberoi, Tara Sharma, Nakuul Mehta, Maria & Arshad Warsi, Rannvijay Singh, Sumeet Vyas.

All author earnings from the book go to a Centre for Autism. We’ve even done some fun merchandise so you can show your support in style!

I really hope we can all learn to understand, accept and celebrate our differences. Because that will make the world 1specialplace for all of us!


If you felt inspired by Risshan’s story, please support his cause by ordering his book and or merchandise and by following him on social media.

Share his amazing story with a friend today!

If you have a story to share with the world, let nothing stop you. We will be happy to feature it in our success story blog segment which is dedicated to families with autism and special needs. Write to us at support@1specialplace.com

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