Proving that ASD (autism spectrum disorder) is no barrier to achieve one’s goals, a 12-year-old special girl Jiya Rai has achieved the monumental task of swimming across the 36-kilometre distance between Bandra and Worli sea link to the Gateway of India in less than nine hours. Daughter of a serving Naval officer, Jiya is a living example of the slogan, ‘nothing is impossible.’
Rai, who set history with her efforts, swam across the Arabian Sea in order to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder, a condition with which she herself lives. Beginning at 3:40 am at dawn, Jiya managed to reach her final destination by 12:30 pm in the afternoon. In the process, she also one of India’s youngest Guinness World Record holders. Rai achieved the feat on Wednesday and videos of the incident have been going viral on the internet with many lauding Rai for her efforts. Rai was felicitated by the President of Greater Mumbai Amateur Aquatic Association Zarir N. Baliwala following the record. This, however, is not Rai’s first claim to fame. Earlier, Rai had broken yet another record when she had swum 14 km from Gateway of India to the Elephanta Caves in February last year, becoming the youngest person with ASD to do the same.
ASD is a neurological and developmental disorder that that affects people at a young age and continues for all of their lifetimes. One of its impacts is the impairment of communication and cognitive skills.