The most magical day of my life was the day I become a MOTHER!
Having a child puts my whole world into new perspective. Everything has new meaning and all worries and sadness just disappear instantly. My happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future. It gives me the excitement to be my very best. It fuels me in ways I can’t explain to keep me going no matter how exhausted I am. It is an indescribable feeling of pure love that only exists between a mother and her child.
Being a mom requires a bravery that I probably didn’t know I had. Just making it through birth takes bravery. Even after birth, I need to be brave as I raise my child alone…But how can I be brave when one day you found out that my child has Autism?
When Sophie was diagnosed with autism spectrum condition in that late 2013, I can feel as though my world has stopped turning. As parent, I spent a lot of time thinking about my child’s future. I have million and one questions and sense of What now?
“It can’t be.” “Why me?” “What have I done to harm anybody else?”
“Why should my beautiful daughter suffer?
My journey started with denial or non-acceptance. I don’t want to believe it but I have to run and do everything I can.
Sophie was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A condition of the brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communications.
Autism symptoms typically become clearly evident during early childhood, between 12 and 24 months of age. However, symptoms may also appear earlier or later. Sophie began showing sign of Autism at the age of 2 which includes:
- Difficulty using eye contact. Does not look right at person or hard to get them look at you
- Does not respond when someone call her name
- Delayed speech or no social babbling/chatting
- Makes odd sounds or has unusual tone of voice
- Little or No imitating skills
- Uses another person’s hand as tool
- No interest in books or toys or play
- Develop rituals such as lining objects up or repeating things over and over
- Very attached to unusual kinds of objects like strings, ball, spoon, cabinet doors
- Sensory issues such as loud sounds, food and touch.
- Easily gets frustrated
Rather than focusing on how my child is different from other children and what she is “missing”. I enjoy my kid’s special quirks and celebrate successes. Feeling unconditionally love and acceptance will help a child more than anything else. Accepting my child fully and totally…means accept myself fully.
When your patience is low, your tired, and you’re feeling stressed, it’s easy to lose your temper. I learn to reframe my frustrations so that I could stay calm instead of screaming or taking it out to my kid. Staying calm is big requirement.
Autism is not a disability, it’s a different ability
Don’t give up! Don’t jump to conclusions about what life is going to be like for your child. Children with autism have an entire lifetime to grow and develop their abilities. Do not push your child to achieve goals. Do not compare your child to other. Comparison is the thief of joy. Every child is unique – they will develop on their own pace in their own way.
Create a personalized autism treatment plan
It can be so tough to figure out which approach is right for my child. Remember there is no cure on Autism but early intervention will be the big step for a treatment plan. Seek advice from expert like developmental pediatrician, occupational and speech therapist. These people have all the knowledge to address the child needs.
Find time for you
Being a parent is tough and being a parent with special needs is tougher. It is imperative to find some time for you. Time to recharge for the next sleepless night…for her next meltdown.
Support groups can be a good way to share advice and information and meet other parents dealing with similar challenges. Whether online or face-to-face, support from family and friends and healthcare professionals can be a big help.
Things get challenging and overwhelming. I am infinitely sad. My dreams for Sophie has been shattered. But when I feel hopeless, I hug my child. It reminds me then our LIFE is always full of LOVE.
Autism has pushed me and pulled, drained me and fueled me, beat me up and strengthened me, hurt me and helped me. It’s been a part of my growth and no kidding I’m THANKFUL.
Written by: Leah Lacdao