My ASD Story
When my son turned 3, I took him to see a neurodevelopment paediatrician and whole new medical team specialised in identifying and treating developmental delays. I remember sitting across from the doctor and the words ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’ came out of his mouth. With my mouth gaping wide and uncontrollable tears streaming down my face, my world went from “delay” to a lifelong diagnosis of disability.
Autism Spectrum Disorder or Autism as commonly referred to is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behaviour. Although Autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is said to be a ‘developmental disorder’ because symptoms generally appear in the first two years of life. Diagnosis is done by clinical professionals using the DSM-5 guide.
Autism is known as a ‘spectrum’ disorder because there is a wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience. NO TWO DIAGNOSIS OF AUTISM ARE THE SAME.
ASD occurs in all ethnic, racial and economic groups. I was once told how a friend assumed Autism only affects the rich, how I wish that was true *shaking my head*. Sadly, Autism is real and not an imagined condition experienced by only the rich.
I remember when I got my diagnosis, I fell into this dark hole of depression, despairing over what I saw as unfair. “why me God?” “why this?”. I was drowning in my own grief, my tears was abundant and I was angry with the world. I was slowly letting my Son’s diagnosis turn me into a bitter, ugly version of myself and it was beginning to show in the way I interacted with the people around me.
I was drifting away from loved ones, my darling Husband included. My younger son was growing up and needing me more and my older son with the diagnosis is still without a clue of what is going on around him or how to handle the world around him.
You see, I was hurting and unknowingly transferred my pain to the people around me. Having a diagnosis doesn’t signify the end of the world, what you do next is what really matters.
In life, you don’t wait for the storm to pass, you learn to dance in the rain and that is what I have done. My role as mom has evolved and keeps evolving from being a parent to a teacher, to a friend, to an advocate raising awareness on autism and educating people on acceptance and learning to see the CHILD and not the disability.
Moms don’t often say this, but parenting a special needs child can feel lonely, hence we need your love, we need you to be more patient with us, we need you not to be judgmental. If you don’t have a nice word to say, then say nothing. Remember that even a child with a disability needs to be loved and supported too.
Till next week, keep spreading the word on Autism and remember to always show love to the people around you.