By Kaitlin Fleming
When Mamta Mishra’s son turned 18 she thought he needed to learn a vocational skill, one that would satisfy him and one that he would look forward to doing every day.
The idea of candle making then came to her mind. She realized candle making can be broken down to a few mechanical steps and could be taught to Parag, who was diagnosed with autism as a young child. This is when PM Candles began.
“PM Candles is an idea, a project, where we want Parag to learn a meaningful vocation,” said Mamta. “This is his first step to earning his pocket money and building up towards financial independence.”
Parag was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years and 7 months old. Mamta recently published a book titled “Autism: Our Journey and Finding Happiness.”
“My goal for this book was to be genuine and share our happiness with people,” said Mamta.
Mamta Mishra, also known as the Candle Maker’s Mom, was born in India and obtained her masters degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi. She then obtained her master’s in special education at Jacksonville State University. Mamta lives in Gadsden with her husband and two sons, Ankur and Parag.
Parag attended Episcopal Day School for his first few years, mainly to learn social skills and have interactions with other children his age. After fifth grade he was home schooled completely.
“It was really difficult to find teachers for Parag,” said Mamta.
Parag’s formal school includes communication and functional math classes. His formal lessons start at 9:30 a.m. and finish at 1:30 p.m. In between formal classes he has music lessons and a few breaks to refocus.
After his formal classes, emphasis is put on daily living skills and crafts. Parag makes different crafts with his teacher Kaci and after which he makes candles with Mamta.
“Before Kaci started teaching Parag, it was someone else in her family and before that it was another one of her family members,” said Mamta. “Her family just sort of adopted Parag and they want to see him do well.”
Parag is now 21 and he still enjoys making candles and other goods. PM Candles offers a wide variety of organic unscented or scented soaps, lotions, candles, lip balms and much more. PM Candles’ products can be purchased at Super Bee Pharmacy in Rainbow City.
PM Candles’ products are handmade and homemade with love. If you would like to watch Parag make his candles, videos are available on YouTube. To find these videos go to YouTube and type “Autism: Our Journey and Finding Happiness” in the search bar.
Mamta Mishra will be having a book signing at Episcopal Day School on Feb. 18 at 3:30 p.m. All local teachers are invited to attend. Her book is available for purchase on Amazon.com.