The anticipation and excitement that encapsulates an expecting mother is an incomparable feeling. As parents we want our children to live up to every hope and desire we’ve envisioned and more, for them to exceed our deepest expectation of their success and make us proud. Then your bundle of joy arrives and everything is as you hoped and you begin the process of raring your child and molding them for greatness. As the weeks and months proceed you notice that some of things you read online and in books during your entire pregnancy are not occurring, you figure every child is different and you dismiss those initial signs. Your child has their regularly scheduled pediatric visits and the doctor ensures you nothings going on, but in your inner recesses you know that’s incorrect. Every mother has “IT”, you just know, as time progresses you are more observant and the signs become absolute:
- Does not babble, point or make meaningful gestures by 1yrs old.
- Does not speak one word by 16 months.
- Does not respond to their name.
- Does not cry when you leave the room (no separation anxiety)
- Doesn’t seem to know how to play with toys.
- Is attached to one particular object or toy.
These signs can be heartbreaking and can often initiate denial in the parent. Unfortunately, this is where parents can become selfish, all the feelings and hopes you carried may seem unattainable for your child because you fear the dreaded word, not autism….disability! At this point, snap out of it, become an advocate, all is not lost, you have been given this special life to nurture and care for, despite the condition. Seek the help, join support groups, get the assessments, early intervention and whatever else is needed to maximize their quality of life. As we know autism is a spectrum of development disorders that can and will vary in severity, regardless, make it work for your family and your child. It may be grievous, but this is no time for a pity party, your child needs you, the best you and all your love and hope and desires will still evolve, you just need to be present to help the process.
Venus A. David, M.Ed.