By Divya Lakshmanan
A mother’s love is the purest form of love where emotions speak more than words. My son was normal till he was about a year old and after his first birthday, we started noticing some deterioration. By the time he was two, we noticed that he was neither responding to his name, nor meeting his age-related milestones, and there was a lack of speech. He was hyperactive and enjoyed running in circles, had a peculiar interest towards spinning toys and exhibited hand flapping when excited or stressed.
My husband pointed out the symptoms to be of concern, but as a first-time mother, I could not accept it and admitted him to a play school so he could interact with other children. After a month we got a lot of complaints from his teacher stating, “Your son is inattentive in class; never mixes with his classmates; prefers to be alone; and does not follow any command.” Later, the principal informed us that he is a special child and asked us to get him examined. Our paediatrician evaluated and told us that our son has Autism and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and we must provide him with the necessary therapies to help him face his daily challenges and activities of living.
As we had no prior knowledge and experience, it was difficult for us to handle him. Our parents could not accept it and they were confident that he would become normal once he interacted with kids. My husband had the toughest job in making us understand the child’s problem. I had a lot of fears within me and got upset as I feared handling him in public and crowded places. I felt emotionally weak, awkward and frustrated as our child would pick up things at reach, throw them, mess up the place and sometimes bite and break stuff too.
After two years of struggle, when we didn’t see an improvement, we realised that he was exposed to more screen time, but wanted us to spend time with him. Being a career-oriented person, I took the toughest decision of giving up my job, so that I could spend more quality time with him. I took this opportunity to understand my son completely – his needs, actions, how he expresses himself, what are his interests and areas of improvement. This experience made me more strong, confident, and NOW I have the courage to face people, society and answer their questions.
Finally, we found the right inclusion school, therapy centre and therapists in Chennai who support and help us manage our child’s autism problems such as selective eating habits, sensory, cognitive, vestibular and tactical seeking and help us improve his speech and language development. One of our close family friends referred us to an Ayurvedic centre located outside Chennai and we continue to go there for treatment thrice a year. With the treatment, we have seen a transformation, wherein he is now able to express himself well, repeating a lot of words, his vocabulary has increased and comprehension has developed. He also sings lines from film, classical songs and rhymes. His gross and fine motor skills have developed vastly and our child plays well in the park and tries to socialise. He has developed an interest in colouring and painting and he solves puzzles nicely too.
My son has made me realise that life is beautiful and accept what is destined for you by taking both the positives and negatives in stride. Our inner strength, determination and final goal are what matters in this journey and never give up! On this Mother’s Day month, I wish more power and happiness, today and always to all Mothers worldwide.
Divya is a resident of M.G.Road and can be reached at [email protected].