Snetha is a British Indian living in the United Kingdom. She describes herself as a spiritually-minded, worldly, and caring person who has love and support for all those around her and for those in the world.
As the ASMR artist known as CoconutsWhisper, she provides love and support for those in the world through her relaxing and enchanting YouTube videos.
As a mother of a child with microcephaly, she provides love and support for her son through her daily parenting and caregiving.
Parenting in general has many inherent challenges, being a parent of a child with microcephaly has additional challenges – for both her and her son.
Snetha wondered if and how her son might react to ASMR videos. To both their delights she discovered that the videos were a new way to provide relief to her son.
In my interview with Snetha she explains the condition of microcephaly, how it affects her son, how ASMR videos helped her son, how watching and creating ASMR videos helped her also, and how she started another video channel to help bring more awareness and assistance to all those affected by microcephaly.
Below are my questions in bold, her replies in italics, and links to her ASMR channel and to her microcephaly awareness channel.
How would you explain the medical condition of microcephaly to someone unfamiliar with it?
Snetha, “Microcephaly is a rare condition affecting the head whereby it is smaller than normal. It can also cause problems within the brain in a mild, moderate, or severe way. Everyone differs with the challenges they have.
It is a serious condition and we have no possibilities to improve it with the modern medical approach; from what I have been told. It is unpredictable of how able the child will be and we are unaware of the life expectancy. In our case the cause is unknown.”
How does having microcephaly affect your son?
Snetha, “My beautiful son was born in 2009 after surviving a high risk pregnancy whereby he was diagnosed with having a Right Multi-Cystic Kidney. I was deeply thankful to hold him closely to me. However, I wasn’t prepared to sadly discover the endless complications that were to come.
He has Microcephaly and problems in the brain itself. He is moderately affected. From what I understand he has “holes” in the central areas of the brain. This is the likely reason he has several issues such as; developmental delays, behavioral problems, autistic traits, proprioception problems, poor coordination, nonverbal challenges, learning difficulties, causing harm to self or others, sleep issues, sensory processing issues, double incontinence and much more I still have not discovered.
He also has talipes (although this clubfoot condition has improved) and acid reflux or GERD. Furthermore, his psychological state is also affected.
Although he is 6 years old now, he functions very much like a 2 year old. I feel it is really upsetting for him to cope with daily activates and life in general. I believe my son has so much more to offer but the brain damage hinders his abilities.”
How did ASMR videos help your son?
Snetha, “As you can imagine, we have endless days of tears and frustration – with unpredictable outcomes. Life has become rather isolating. Then we discovered ASMR videos.
When he was distressed or completely awake in the night I would use these videos of an artist showing items, doing tasks or anything simple like that. I was delighted to see him become focused and relaxed. Then I noticed him laugh and smile as he began to have “tingles”. Although it didn’t always work to relieve his full distress – I was always glad when it did work. I had nothing else to sooth him…
In present time he enjoys videos of role plays and tries to communicate with the artist. He even laughs when they go off screen as he is looking for them. I find the ear cleaning videos the most effective as he laughs immensely. It is such a joy to witness this. I am confident he is triggered as his response is like when a child goes on a swing or something like that. Then shortly after he will lie down in a completely relaxed state.
However, as he has become older it can be little harder to help him focus on a video but I still use them. I have come across a technique other professional are using to help Autistic children to focus which is very similar to many show and tell type videos. Could the ASMR videos be having the same effect as the show and tell videos but they are inducing tingles?
We are deeply thankful to all the ASMR artists for creating these videos which have helped us during these difficult times.”
What challenges are there for you as a parent and caregiver?
Snetha, “They are endless. I have cared for my son as though he is a toddler for many years now. Some things improve but new issues arise. I have to supervise him day and night because he can be a danger to himself or others. He needs consistent support with daily living.
Sadly I have Fibromyalgia which makes his physical care far more difficult for me. As well as becoming extremely exhausted on a daily basis. I have also suffered from sleep deprivation for more than six years while caring for him.
At times I feel like his parent but most of the time I am his caregiver. My heart feels broken but my spirit remains strong because I love my children.”
How did ASMR videos help you?
Snetha, “Oh where do I begin?
Over the years I have done a lot of research about my son’s condition but this was also very isolating. So I would play ASMR videos in the background. At first, it was as though the artist was keeping me company. Then I would watch the videos with my son too. Shortly after I found myself experiences these wonderful tingles which helped me relax.
I use the videos to help me sleep after many times I have been woken up to attend to my son. I feel it also distracts me from the chronic pain I have on a regular basis.
As the “tingles” begins from the top of my head, I feel this deep release of any stress, worry or anxiety. Then it moves down my neck where I feel most of the pain which begins to feel lighter. Within seconds I can feel it down my back and legs until it disappears. I honestly feel better and after a few “tingles” I am fast asleep. At times I will get a full pulse in the majority of my body too. It’s truly remarkable.
Furthermore, I enjoy the creativity, content, and overall work of the ASMR artists. I deeply thank them from my heart for not only helping my son, but also helping me to cope and release pain in some way to help me sleep.”
Why did you decide to start your own ASMR channel?
Snetha, “Well, I wondered if I could help others in the same way I have been helped. I had no idea if I would be good at it but I gave it a go. I wished to have started it sooner but with my sons difficulties I couldn’t make it possible.
However, I am glad the channel became active in early 2015. Soon after I was delighted to hear how I triggered viewers or relaxed them which leaves me feeling humbled and speechless. I do struggle to have regular videos posted but my viewer are very kind and have not seen this as an issue.
The video content varies from Eastern to Western material as well as being educational and quite unique.”
How has having an ASMR channel helped you?
Snetha, “As my social life completely changed and is somewhat non-existent. My viewers have kept me company in many ways.
During the filming process I find myself being calm and relaxed which has helped me a lot especially after caring for my son. It has bought “fun” back into my life and I love dressing up when on screen. It’s like having a different type of social life but with wonderful people from across the world. I love talking to them and sharing material things.
I have also given them an insight of my Indian culture. It is my escape from the overwhelming and challenging life I have.
Furthermore, I have made friends with ASMR artists and viewers. I thank them all.“
You have started another YouTube channel called Bibi’s, what is the goal of this channel and what does “Bibi” mean?
Snetha, “The name “Bibi” means grandmother in Indian Punjabi. We would address issues with our elders and look for solutions with them. This channel is for that purpose; to share, learn and explore.
The first subject is focused on my son’s condition; I share my understanding of it and ask questions in hope that appropriate professionals may support us.
I am also working on a video which explores the Indian medical system known as Ayurvedic living as another approach to help my son. I am hopeful Ayurvedic practitioners will support us in the future after viewing this video.
I hope families of all backgrounds will find this channel useful or even find ways to help other children with Microcephaly. Sadly we have limited support in the UK and alternative options are not available from the NHS (National Health System). This is the main reason I am reaching out to the world for help.
Furthermore, I would like to post a video of how ASMR has helped us. I will also be sharing other topics in the future too. Modern medicine has its place but our elders and ancestors knew far more than they are given credit for; they worked with nature and what it provides in the purist form.
My priority at this moment is to help my son and I truly believe the world has more to offer than what we can ever imagine. If anyone decides to support us I will be wholly grateful.”
Any other closing thoughts you would like to share?
Snetha, “As a viewer and artist I am deeply thankful to be part of the ASMR community. You have all helped us cope during these last few years.
I feel ASMR is far greater then what we experience. I wonder what really happens to our brain and body when we have these delightful tingles? Could it have a spiritual meaning to it? And how does it affect our dream state during sleep? Oh the questions…
Also, I thank people who have invested time in understanding what ASMR is and promoting our community. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to voice our experiences. I hold you all close to my heart.”
Click HERE to visit her other video channel about microcephaly, Bibi’s
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