“Roops”…..”Roopa” …”Roopika aunty”…..”Mama”….”Mommy”….these have been the words my eldest son has addressed me in the past 8 years of his life. Now as he begins to approach his 9th birthday, I hear “Mama” all the time and I feel a sense of pride to see how much he has grown. If you belong to the typical world, you must be thinking – What’s the big deal here? I have been addressed in many ways by my kids too. The point is your child called out to you in different ways showcasing their love and creativity while for my child he was merely addressing me the way his father or his grandparents or his peers would address me!!! Now that is neither creativity nor love but what a child on the spectrum deals with —SO MUCH CONFUSION, SO MUCH TO PROCESS…so he takes the easy way out…to mimic!!
So here is me, posting my first blog ever to share my musings and learning from this absolutely roller coaster ATYPICAL journey! Who am I? I am a stay-at-home mom to two lovely boys enjoying both —every atypical challenge my first child presents to me and with the birth of my second child in 2016, I get all the typical experiences that I missed the first time round!!! I juggle between the mundane household chores to being a parent to being a teacher to being a therapist whose loyalties swing between the ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) strategies and the Son-Rise program strategies to being a researcher constantly looking for interventions that would steer us to recovery. Oh! I missed one more role which is- I need to help my child gulp down binders and supplements that go beyond vitamins and minerals.Even though I consult a holistic practitioner who guides me through, the decision to continue or discontinue these will be based on my observations of how my child reacts to these so I do what I think ideally a pediatrician should be doing! So that would be a short description of me and how my day spans out. Most mothers to autistic children or children with special needs or mothers to children with autism spectrum disorder will identify with this and I have just one thing to say, ” We can choose to be in this together and make things easy or make this long haul tougher by being in our shells”.
What can you expect if you visit my blog? You will see my anxiousness, my rants and helplessness but most definitely you will see my observations of life around with my child as reference point, some insight into those interventions that my child benefited from, some links to people and summits that helped me focus and stay motivated towards my goal. Yes, I believe completely that I can get my child to a point where his diagnosis will no longer hold good and he will not be distinguishable from the other typical kids he goes to school with.
This post will definitely be incomplete without a reference to the star in my life, my eldest son who is a very happy, kind and generous child. While he is described as weird and funny by his Grade 2 peers, he is absolutely oblivious of his diagnosis which is – ASD( Autism Spectrum Disorder) -Severity level 1 which is sometimes referred to as Mild Autism. He is the child who cant get the humor in a funny story but he would join in the laugh as he loves to see happy people around him. He is the child who cannot lie convincingly, the child who cannot understand why a classmate can be mean, the child who is so excited to see a friend that he would fail to greet and start talking about planes instead!He is a child working hard, putting hours on therapy and other skills development after school while his peers are enjoying free time. He is the child who has pushed me to put my best foot forward…. This is my calling- an atypical calling !