Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians, special education, therapy sessions, Persons with Disability ids, these were some of the words I first heard when I learned that I have two kids with autism.
Sidney and Red were born full term.I never had problems with both when they were born. Both were breastfed. They fed,wailed, laughed like any other babies and had no problems with psychomotor abilities. They were not even picky eaters.They love pasta, fruits and veggies especially Sidney who enjoys munching carrots and potatoes. They look normal, even good looking as what most people have told me. It seemed nothing could be wrong until they became toddlers.
When Sidney turned 2 years old her speech was delayed. Though she was able to catch up just like the other kids, it seemed something was not right. Her words were advanced for her age and she learned to read and speak fluently in English even before she went to school. She also loved to read and tinker with computers that her ability to absorb words, places and phrases including online games were faster compared to other kids even way beyond her age.
With Red it was different. His vocabulary was limited until now though that had improved because he goes to a special school. His music is his language as he hums, sings like a jazz singer and never off key. Before he does this when he was agitated or nervous like when we visit his pediatrician or had his head stitched due to a playing accident. Now he sings for no reason at all. While at play, on his way to school or when he wants you to follow him sing with his new learned tune.
Odd looks. Cold stares. Annoyed glares. Angry neighbors and sometimes misplaced sympathy.These were the reactions we get when I take them to the mall or for a short stroll even before I 've learned about their disability. Perhaps one cannot find fault in that. Autism to some maybe a less interesting subject until one gets hit with it. One may take the blow hard, others may go into denial thinking it may just be a virus, a disease that got one infected and can be cured by a shot.
We have gotten used to it.We have grown accustomed to such questions like "Where did it come from?""Why you let it happened twice?" worst "what have you been doing when you were pregnant?" thinking maybe that knowing the answers can make a difference.
There must be a reason to all of these that most of us may not be capable of understanding and that there will always be questions, lots of it. But if one continue living this life with such questions, one may not live long enough to that day to finds the answers.
Doors, windows opened. Opportunities knocked. Interviews. Stories. Insights shared. Learning to look at the world differently, enjoying the simple things in life, seizing those moments. Like Sidney's saying "I love you " out of nowhere and Red's constant act of wiping your tears, uncontrollably shed. Such are these milestones, making you smile and think things may not be that bad after all and eventually will turn better, if you choose to look at it that way.
I have come to realize that there was so much that I have gained when I accepted them as they are and learned to live my life day by day. Respect, admiration, understanding even from total strangers now turned into friends. Meeting parents and relatives who share the same struggles like I do. Teachers, gifted beings who take care of my kids when they are in school, giving them the same tenderness and caring especially at times when they need it. Becoming a member of an advocacy which continuously look for ways to make this world a more forgiving place, knowing that now I am no longer alone.
I hope that one day, more people would stop, listen and care to know more, this wonderful world of Autism.