When a child gave me hope for a better world for my son

We all know how difficult it is for a differently abled individual to navigate the world with its prejudices. There is much to be desired when it comes to acceptance and inclusions. It often makes me nervous thinking about what kind of a world will my son find himself in when he grows up and when I might not be around to be his eyes , ears, and voice. So, in the midst of all the uncertainty, when a child walks in like a breath of fresh air, it gives me hope.
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This is why I will forgive

A few days back, while  I was browsing the aisles of a store, my 9 yr old son brushed against another customer. I was hoping it would not be a big deal but she had something else in mind. I said sorry and explained that my son is autistic. She was not ready for that excuse and said that if that’s the case, I shouldn’t “let him loose” and that she has been watching me let him “walk free “!!! My son has a tendency to wander off so I’m hyper-vigilant and ensure that my son is literally at palm’s length from me. So clearly, he was not running amok. Besides, he has issues with personal space so he tends to reach out and touch people who come his way every once in a while. While not many people take offence , there clearly are some who feel extremely overwhelmed by coming in contact with a 9 yr old and make sure they are taken to task for that.
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…but today I cry

Those who know me think, as a mom of a child with autism, I’m generally positive in my outlook. I would like to believe that is true. However, in me hides a realist–not to be confused with a pessimist. The realist me rears its head every now and then and I kick it back in, hoping it will stay there defeated and quiet. But some days it bounces back with so much strength that it clouds the sunshine in my eyes. Even on those days I listen to it’s whispers, quietly shed a tear, and go on with my life pretending it’s all going to be ok, and it might, but it leaves behind that doubt that lingers on — a doubt that forms a knot in my heart and makes it a little harder for me to breathe. It was one such day when my optimism had to bow down before my realist self.

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What I want my son’s school to know

If you are a parent of a child with special needs – Autism or otherwise, you know that the tug-of-war between the school and the parent is real and stressful. The IEP meeting every year is something all of us dread. You probably attend seminars , ask for ideas in Autism groups online, read various tips and tricks, try talking to a family advocate and gear yourself for the D-day . I’m guessing, the school ,on its part, does a ton of meetings and collaboration to come up with an IEP that they believe is practical and effective. Same goes for almost everything that involves your child and the school. There seems to be a constant back and forth trying to figure out what is best for the child. While every school year is an opportunity for the students to grow, it is also an opportunity for the teachers to learn more about the kids who need that extra attention because of their challenges.

If I was asked what I would want the school to know about my child and Autism in general, this is what I would say:

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8 mistakes I made as a mom of an autisic child

Before my son’s diagnosis of Autism, I had never even heard about the condition. No one in my family was familiar with it and I knew of nobody who had this diagnosis either. So I started with a blank slate, with absolutely no idea what to do, how to deal with its plethora of challenges , who to reach out to or where to start. I had no clue if what I was doing was right or wrong. Just as my successes were my own, so were my failures. We, as a family, learnt along the way as we experimented with different things. Over the years we’ve perfected a few things or so we think and there are some that we are still trying to figure out .
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When a kiss from my son broke a common autism myth for me

It was a usual start of the day – the 3rd day of sleepless night for my son and me, the struggles with brushing his teeth, the challenges with his breakfast and finally helping him dress and get ready for school. Nothing new about it.

As parents of kids with special needs, certain challenges get so routine , they don’t seem challenges anymore until you see a neurotypical child and parent go through their day and wonder “Hmmm… so that’s how it would have looked like” !
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How my son’s autism changed me

The other day I was talking to a complete stranger at my son’s summer camp’s bus stop. We chatted like old friends meeting after years.There is something that bonds us all together…the experiences, the pain, the joy ,and the lessons. There is so much to share. We finally parted, promising a lunch date along with some spa time…knowing well, it was easier said than done 🙂
On my way back, I thought… I was never the kind of person to just approach someone and start talking. I preferred the comfort of familiarity. And today, here I was, chatting with someone I had never met and feeling the most at ease about it. It got me thinking – my son’s diagnosis of Autism has changed me as a person. It was time I gave Autism it’s due.
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I’m not a supermom

I’m not a supermom but I get that a lot. Having a child with Autism does not make me one. Please let me be weak and let me cry, let me make mistakes, let my guard down, and let me just be a mom, a wife ,a woman, not a “super-someone”.

The day Vedant was diagnosed with Autism, life handed me a cape and said “now you fight and never stop doing so”. But there are days when I’m exhausted. I want to simply kneel down and wish that never again should a mom have to fight for what is rightly her child’s and hope that the world will be more sensitive to any child who has challenges.
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