Support someone who is born with greatness. Educate the people who are ignorant to believe in putting labels to these angels. Advocate a great cause for Autism Awareness Dumaguete City.
I am very passionate about autism awareness and the welfare of these admirable group. They are not disabled, they are just so special that God has given them a special ability. As a mother of one I would like to share our story and may this give inspiration to those families who are blessed to have one and are still seeing this condition differently. I know the struggle and I know it is not easy but the moment you embrace it, great things starts to unfold and it will just keep surprising you every day.
October 21, 2008 at exactly 3:00 am in a very rainy morning, my eldest child was born. It was one of the most memorable moments in my entire life. My own flesh and blood finally giving me that look silently saying to me “Hi Mommy I am already out!” It was surreal and up to this very moment I would fondly recall those times with a huge smile on my face. Gab (my son) being our first born and first apo all eyes were on him, he is a blessing of course with awesomeness and cuteness, everyone just adores him. He was this active little boy who loves to roam around, gives his toothful smile and breezes in and out like a tornado. He was a handful but we saw so much life oozing out from him. We love him to bits.
It was until he was nearly 2 years old he uttered his very first word “puppy” we even captured it on a video sadly that phone got lost but that day is still very clear to me. As new parents, we wanted to give him everything and have him learn the best. I could still clearly remember how he adores Barney and sing along the songs with him. He memorizes it and cuddles with the life size barney my husband bought for him. Gab was this chubby so bibo little boy full of vigor and enthusiasm.
He was growing very normal and smart. At the age of 6 months old, he got admitted due to severe pneumonia. A week before his admission we had him take the Pneumococcal Vaccine shot since there was an epidemic that time and we want him to be protected from flu and pneumonia for all we know he will just end up getting admitted because of it.
To cut the story short it was a very traumatic experience for him that after he fully recovered we notice something different. Our son started to become less and less sociable and became very reserved. We did not really pay much attention until he was almost 3 years old that he still can’t carry a conversation with anyone. All he knows are single words like sleep, milk, babat, etc.
There was this one time we took him for a check-up because of fever and cough. The pediatrician was calling for him but Gab was not establishing any connection, no eye contact at all and was totally ignoring his doctor. We were advised to have him checked by a neuro developmental doctor that specializes in these cases. I was astounded and very confused, what is my son’s case? Even if I had the slightest idea what she was talking about, the mother in me was shouting “NO, MY SON IS NORMAL. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH HIM, HOW DARE YOU IMPOSE THESE ASSUMPTIONS YOU DON’T KNOW HIM”. I have comforted myself with the possibility of delayed growth development speech problem and ADHD. The more symptoms I came across with, the more convincing it is that maybe there is really something wrong with him.
But that in denial side of me was very confident that perhaps in due time Gab will just develop his social skills and be like normal kids. He has shown so many impressive talents and skills. He learns to read by himself, memorizes songs, and spells on his own. But he doesn’t know how to write, his attention span is very short and he throws some pretty severe tantrums. We enrolled him for home schooling with ABA works, we’ve seen so much development but there was still something amiss. Our baby is still different, not in a bad way but in a special kind of different that separates him from the norm.
With the help of my sister-in-law and my mother we were able to secure an appointment of a neuro developmental specialist in Cebu for his assessment. Getting an appointment is very hard, they usually have the whole year booked. We were on the waiting list but with some stroke of miracle I got a call that we were able to get the appointment since someone cancelled theirs. There was that feeling of relief, excitement and deep anxiety of what the result would be.
We went, my son got assessed and we were faced by the final assessment of ASD. The docto’s diagnosis was Autism Spectrum Disorder. I cried, I was angry but most of all afraid of what my son’s future will be.
With all the thoughts scrambling in my mind the most powerful question of all is HOW CAN I SECURE HIS FUTURE. With the years he was growing, my husband and I decided to have a second child since we saw so much loneliness in Gab. On the 24th of September year 2011 our little girl was born. She was God’s answer to our prayer. To give Gab a loving sister to take care of him when we won’t be here anymore to look after them. And Winter was all that, she loves her brother dearly and has helped improved Gab’s social skills. They both loved each other unconditionally as I am with both of them. If I had to sacrifice my life for them, no second thoughts I will do it in a heartbeat.
The years passed we have learned more and more ways to effectively deal with Gab. We are were able to help him with his developmental growth, occupational therapy and home activities. Rose, who has been a blessing to us for almost 6 years who treats Gabby as her own little brother. It would have been more difficult without her. She is also Gab’s living guardian angel and for that we are forever indebted to her. We may have our ups and downs but this young lady has proven her loyalty and sincere love for my children and I vowed to help her in any way possible.
There are painful instances that we get those judgmental looks when Gab throws a fit, or shouts or acts differently. At first I admit it was very painful as a mother. It gives me an immense feeling of shielding my son from these narrow-minded people. They do not know how blessed and special my son is, they only see his weak spots. I pity them because they did not see the beauty behind these children with Autism. They are born with greatness. If you get to do your research, great mathematician, philosophers and scientists that are successful, most of them have Autism.
That is why we wanted to raise a cause for awareness to the public that Autism is not a disease. It is simply a condition of making someone uniquely special who just need your unconditional love and understanding.
Here in Dumaguete City, we want to reach out to those families with special children. Do not fear, do not be ashamed, this is not something we need to hide and be indifferent about. We need to stop the discrimination and embrace the truth that we have special children and they need to feel loved and accepted. The change needs to come from us. The moment you accept it, embrace it whole heartedly, you paved the way of giving these kids a brighter future. We should show them the beauty in imperfection rather than hiding them. Life can be hard but they’ll make it.
Everything will be okay.
We just need to open our eyes and teach our hearts to love someone with Autism.
PS. We created a Facebook community to families with Autistic member. We have a lot of cool stuff instore for you all. Great things are soon to come! Click here to join.