November 1, 2019 | Moumita Roy
Autism – a very difficult subject in the medical field. Autism – the hardest word in the world for parents whose child is diagnosed with autism. But what if parents saw that autism is nothing more than a special spark within the child? Something that gives you as a parent, the opportunity to learn to find the special in your child to draw it out as fire. To find the special in all of humanity.
What is Autism? Autism happens when the hardwiring of the brain is different from others, and that affects the overall cognitive, emotional, social and physical growth of children. We all know that treatment can help children with autism, but can’t ‘cure’ them. But does that adult or child with autism, need any medical treatment? No, they first need support and acceptance. We live in a society where artificial lemon is more expensive than the original. Is this society going to accept them easily? No, it is quite unlikely. But this ‘No’ can be transformed to a ‘Yes’.
And it all depends on the parent or caregiver. We ourselves need to accept that autism is not a ‘disease’ and it does not need to be ‘cured’. It’s a way that a person is. So the first thing that you must do before you address the problems of the child, is to address your own thinking, the thinking of others in your neighborhood and the thinking in wider society. That will be your first step to securing a bright and secure future for your child.
Many of us fallen in love in our college days. But somehow, we failed to join our life with that dream partner. And just think, how much did that affect us? It devastated us! But today we live, and not only live, but are enjoying our lives with our family and friends. Its quite clear that in time we all recover from our emotional shocks having crossed that ocean of depression by holding fast to our family’s support or by some other means. And with time, we have learned that nothing can destroy us except with our own permission.
And this is the same for your child. The only difference is that you were bit older at that time and your child is too young to overcome this challenge alone. And it is for that, that you need to give them a sense of belief in themselves. You need to give them a voice to speak or make yourself their voice. They need to believe that no one can make them go down unless they themselves permit it. You must show them faith – it is in your eyes that they will see themselves, and know that they are strong.
Let me share a truth that no one knows so far, no one except my parents. I too was a child with autism. Emotionally, I still am weak at age 30 – just like a child. Even to date, I do not have control of my anger. I would get depressed for no particular reason. During depression, I could not distinguish mine from not mine. Often, I would sit alone for days on end. I faced untold rejection from family, friend and career. My words were too unclear for anyone to understand till 10th standard. I have gone through 4 major surgeries like polyps, tumour and cyst. I lost my most favorite person, my father, at the age of 22. I was a joke for every student at school. Day after day, I would fight my situation. My memory is too weak to remember the daily activities I have to do. I forget the lane to my home and office even. I have to note every small thing on paper and keep it at my desk. Till today, I cannot tolerate loud sounds, shouting, too much lights, crowds, road crossing, huge volume work etc. Normally I am a talkative person but my every sentence with full of confusion most of the times.
It was my parents who found a unique treatment for me. They inculcated a habit of reading of story books and poetry and made writing an integral part of my life. They never forced me for anything, never stood against my decision. They always supported my choices. Yes, they have rectified my mistakes or scolded me, but not in as usual way. They would use the therapy of storytelling with valuable moral to show me my mistake. Gradually I began to understand their unique way of rectifying my mistakes. Even now, whenever I need emotional support, I turn to reading. This is the best therapy which my father has instituted in my life.
I am basically from a lower middleclass family. My total education was from government school and colleges. I never got any special education or class except extreme support from my parents. Yet today I am an HR Manager. I need to make myself heard in a male dominated boardroom daily. I am a Silver Medalist for my recitation and voice modulation. As well as I have done a Diploma in Fine Arts and anchoring as well. At the age of 30 as a single woman, fighting with this all and achieving my goal has not been easy for me. My nights are often sleepless and fear-filled.
So by way of this short autobiography, I want to share only a single message. No one needs to live a ‘normal’ life as defined by social customs. We just need a simple life for our children where they don’t need to be a topper, but certainly not feel like a failure too. Just give your child the confidence to make choices, to take decisions and lead their life in the way that makes them happy. Just follow their every step from day one, so that you can learn what they like, what they dislike, where they feel comfortable, with whom they can share themselves. Just let them choose their activities to know their likes and then motivate them to grow in that area. Every small activity can be big enough to giver them a good future. Survival is more important that a royal life.
So dear parents, before taking your child for any treatment, understand this basic truth in order to give your child not just a good future but a perfect life. Your attitude towards your child is more important than any doctor-prescribed medicine. Be strong and let your child grow strong. Be happy and let your child stay happy.
About The Author
Hi, I’m Roy. It’s very tough to describe myself. Still I am an HR Manager in a telecom firm professionally, and by education, an environmentalist. Except for my mother, there is no one in my life. But I’m not looking at tomorrow, I just want to live today!
Moumita Roy is a volunteer with the Amrit Foundation of India.