Hi, I am Moly and I am going to talk about Autism today. Imagine it is late Sunday night and you are solving a crossword. You have almost cracked it but just that last word that you need to figure out. It is also the time to hit the bed. You looked up for the word , googled a little but no success. You decide to go to bed, but you have a restless night. Monday morning was no better. A single bit of the puzzle has you on your edge. It is so frustrating. You are at your wits end for the answer.
I am sure all of you would have gone through this feeling. Now imagine this feeling 24×7. Friends all of us battling with autism are looking for this missing piece of the puzzle.
Almost 3 years ago – the world around me shattered when my son was diagnosed. It was a hot afternoon of 14th June 2008 when the developmental pediatrician gave her verdict. The only thing which we understood is that something dreadful has happened. Millions of questions hit me one after the other – why my son, have I done something wrong, will he ever come out of it, why me, what next? And believe me – just like your puzzle I had no answer to any of it.
I had no hope, Here I was dreaming of my next promotion at office and now I had no answer to basic questions of life. Being from a family with many doctors, I had never heard about Autism. What do I do. The more people I spoke to, the more my heart sank, No Cure for it, Accept it and move on was what everybody told me.
But it was my son that they were speaking about. How could I let him go.
And then I met this Lady whose son was in std 8 and went to normal school, she had put in a lot of effort and now her son was just like any other kid. The only message which she had to give me was “If you know how your childs mind works you can solve the mystery. Understand your child first”
That small meeting that day changed my life. It was my first ray of hope in the darkness. If she can – I can and I will. Then I started my journey with my son.
We started off with occupational therapy. It is there that I was made to realize that all is not lost, we had diagnosed at an early age and with the right amount of effort and hard work we could still bring my son back into my world. I started understanding the problem better and by gods grace my son started responding to the therapy.
In the initial days of diagnosis my only objective was my son should talk, as we intensified the work, my son started taking his first baby steps towards development. First came the words which were probably the best gift by god to me. It motivated me to no end. But then moving from words to sentences took us months of hard work.
As I matured in understanding the problem, I also realized the biggest challenge which lay before me and that was to teach a human mind how to think. With this dawned awareness that the battle cannot be fought with an hour a day or two hours a day of structured therapy schedule, it has to be imbibed in the lifestyle. It has to be a 24×7 job.
My son was on with OT, Speech and behaviour therapy. I learned how to work in these classes, also learned to understand the problems and imbibed therapy into my daily life.
Friends it has been a long three years now, there has been days of frustration when despite of all the hard work he was not responding, sleepless nights of trying to find a solution to a problem, intensive research work in trying to fit a particular piece of puzzle, and yes at times wondering when will it end.
Today my son goes to normal school – is passionate about dinosaurs, has a zillion questions in his mind, wants to make friends and says “Mom I am so clever”. He is such a rockstar. There is still much to achieve with him but deep within myself I know he will.
Life has changed so much – Sunday mornings are no longer about lazing in the bed till 10 in the morning, That new fashion trend that all the mothers’s in school talk about seems so trivial, my personal space and time are meaningless concepts, that other parents look at your child differently hurts, friends distancing themselves is a reality but the journey of discovery of my son has made everything else seem so trivial
God has his way and I have stopped asking why Me.
The only message that I want to leave you here today is that it is a difficult journey but not an impossible one.
If you know or see a child which has symptoms of autism – don’t ignore it. There is no substitute to early intervention.
Do not be in denial. It will only make things worse and
There is no time for self pity or grieving – just fold your sleeves and get on with the job.
In the modern world – there are facts that we have come to accept and live with. Autism is a reality that we cannot ignore. With 1 out of every 90 children being diagnosed with autism it is an alarming issue that is much closer to home than we think it might be. Let’s spread the awareness of Autism and fight it for the sake of our Future Generations.
Author: Moly Suryavanshi