Just recently, this family got a diagnosis of Autism in their youngest member. For the longest time, the parents waited to get their son’s diagnosis. At the back of their minds, they knew that something is not right with their son, although in his previous school, they were told that maybe he is just shy, that’s why he seldom talks and never made friends with his classmates. It was a relief when they had the diagnosis, because now, they have clearer directions on how to support a child with Autism.
I met them in my cousin’s party some months ago and I observed how their little boy was just doing a thing by himself. He was contented just on an area in the living room holding his parent’s iPad and tinkering it silently. Sometimes, he would ask his mom or his dad to direct the iPad to whatever he was previously working on, if it got re-directed to somewhere else. He hardly ate at the party but he never complained. He was obviously satisfied in whatever he was doing, all by himself.
Let’s get to know more about the little boy and his mom.
Tell us about yourself and your family.
” My name is Ligaya, at present a stay at home mom, but studying to become an Administrative Assistant someday. I have been married for 24 years to a wonderful, responsible man.
We are a family of five, 2 girls and 1 lovely boy. “
How old were you when you had your special child and when did you learn that he is special?
“ I was 37 when I gave birth to my boy.
Growing up, he never played with other kids. Although he started talking early, he did not interact with us frequently, never asked questions, and would say words only when told to repeat them, not voluntarily.
He was not delayed in speech, as well, reading and writing wise, he was way advanced than kids his age. He knew how to read letters even before he started school.
We always thought and we were hoping that he is normal or that maybe he is just shy, until he was diagnosed recently.
In his previous school, they told us that maybe he was just timid because he had never friends in school and did not have any social interaction.
The next school that he went to observed this as not normal, so they advised us to bring him for assessment, all the while, they were so supportive of his pace of learning and his attitude in school.
The assessment was a long, slow process, but after we had the diagnosis of moderate to severe Autism for our son, my husband and I felt so relieved and realized that he could be helped eventually with his struggles and would become the best version of himself. “
Tell us about your special son and his development.
“ My youngest child is Andreu. He is seven years old, a happy boy, always wanting to play outdoors, write MRT stations, and loves traveling.
He could memorize easily, read faster than any other kids his age, but he will only speak when being asked, sometimes he won’t talk to you at all.
Now, he can do a lot of things on his own. He can tell you what he wants to eat.
He was potty trained at three, can put this clothes and shoes/ socks on, except for shirts, sometimes it’s inside out. “
How did you and your family react to the news that he is special?
” We prayed for a baby boy and God gave us a lovely boy.
We love him dearly, just the same. He just came in a different package but a lovely gift, nonetheless. “
Do you have any fears about his future?
” I think that’s what parents fear the most – the future. Sometimes I fear how he will be when he’s older, but most of the time I don’t.
I just enjoy every moment with my boy. “
Do you have any struggles on caring for him and how do you manage?
“ None at all, my girls are all big now (17 and 12) and they happily help me in looking after their brother ( bathing, preparing his food, babysitting etc). Of course, aside from my husband who is all-support to his only son.
I am lucky to have a very caring and helpful family.
We have never experienced Andreu to have meltdowns. Sometimes, he will have temper tantrums, especially when we go grocery-shopping and he wants to buy 5 different cereals, but usually I only get 2, then he would cry and so we bring him outside and tell him that we will buy some other time, and it will be okay.
He is fine with crowds, he will just put his hands over his ears when there’s loud music. “
Does Andreu have therapies at present?
“ For now, we have the support of the School Division, he was just recently diagnosed so we are still waiting for the government’s support through the Social Worker.
He is presently enrolled in a regular school, just done with Grade one and will be in Grade two in the fall. He has his own educational assistant. He participates in the school activities, although not as focused as all the other kids. He tends to get bored and would stand up in the middle of teaching. “
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Share with us how he makes you and your family happy.
” He is a constant source of joy in our family.
When Andreu does things like pretend to cook, he is so cute! Or when I tell him “ I love you! ” and he would reply “ I love you more! ”, it makes my day.
He would pray for us before bedtime….the same prayer every night, but it never failed to bring smiles to our faces. “
What advice can you give to parents on how to take care of a special child?
” Patience and love, two things that you need to offer every day, because they know who genuinely loves them.
They understand what’s going on. Even if they can’t reply, if you keep explaining things, they will remember it.
Non-verbal response doesn’t mean that they don’t understand, sometimes they just can’t say “yes,” or they have funny ways of saying yes and we have to be aware of that.
My son’s “yes” is “okay, okay. “
Anything more that you can share about your special child?
” Andreu brings our family really close to each other. No matter how many differences or issues we have to settle, my son’s welfare will always be our priority.”
A family’s love is all that matters.
There you go, a beautiful story of a mom and her family helping each other to offer unconditional love for their special someone with Autism.
If everyone in the family pitches in to show their love and care, it will be easy to offer their time and everyone will learn how to support a child with Autism.
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Are you a family with a recent diagnosis of Autism? How has your special child brought joy in your home?
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