What Does It Mean To Have an Autistic Child?

Posted by M ws On Friday, December 6, 2013 0 comments
Thanks to Mr YK for sharing this excellent article by Fatimah Bheeko Shah of Gauteng, South Africa.

Umm Ali’s journey with autism began in early 2010 when her second son was born. Her eldest son was just little over 14 months old.

In hindsight, it was an extremely overwhelming period for her family. She was adjusting from being a young wife to a mother of two young boys. Several months after she brought her second son home, she noticed that her eldest son was withdrawing from his environment and engaged much less with herself.

Soon, more severe traits of autism started to appear. The once verbal toddler- who had just started saying basic words like mama, dada etc. became a silent child; it was as if her son was trapped inside his own body. She felt as if he was not the son she once knew. He started making different "growling" noises and stopped making eye contact or communicating verbally with his parents.

It was as if he was emotionally blank. He only ate specific foods. His sleeping patterns were erratic. He stacked anything he could get his hands on. They no longer recognized the little boy, due to strange attitudes emerging from him.

This was when she followed her maternal instinct and started to research her observations. After she managed to convince her husband that her son was not going through a mere "phase", they met with several specialists, who were not entirely convinced that he was showing traits of autism. She found herself having to convince qualified doctors that there was something very wrong with her son.

Bittersweet diagnosis

Because Umm Ali’s son was so young, it was hard to get a diagnosis. Eventually at the end of 2011, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It was a bittersweet day. They sat in a tiny office at Red Cross Hospital, in Cape Town, South Africa after an intensive assessment was done and she was told by a Neurologist that her eldest son had ASD.

What is Autism?

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