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Mothers’ Day: Becoming a special mother

- On Mothers’ Day (9 May), a mother pays tribute to her autistic child. -

I thought I was a seasoned mum - with  two older children  before you. Surely having a third one should not be  a struggle.

We have already decided that children matter more to us than material wants. We have prepared ourselves to brave  the challenging early years and to ease up as each of you grow up by the day.

But as the days passed, you still behaved like a baby. There were still no words and you had not been learning. Toys did not appeal to you the way fans and mops did. We were more amused than bothered by your unusual behaviour. Everyone around us said you could just be a late-developer.

Yet being a mother, I had that nagging feeling. That something was not quite right. But the hustle and bustle of everyday life kept us from seeking an answer earlier.

The truth, when it finally hit us, was beyond our wildest imagination. How could it be ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)?!! You do not rock nor stare into space. You have been so charming, how could it be? That's why it's called a spectrum! How ignorant we had been. The tears could not stop as the pain crept in. This is not cancer but something even more unfathomable. A condition so invisible with lifelong implications.

A new adventure beckoned as we came to terms with your “special needs” label. Back to feeling lost like first-time parents and reading up on it all over again. We were shocked and saddened to find so many others out there. A glimpse into a special community, away from the mainstream's interest. I too would not have bothered, if not for you, my dear child.

Behind the rat race, a group of tireless parents and teachers toiling silently to help their little ones. Their cries and struggles draw scant interest as they set their lives on a mission. The determination to do whatever they can to make a little difference. The flame is kept alive as people support one another. Our grief turned into hope and strength as we joined the fraternity. We learnt a lesson or two, about diversity and humanity.

On Mother's Day this year, I want to thank you, my special child. You must have been sent by the heavens to make me a better person. You have opened my eyes to a neglected segment of our society. As I watch how you struggle to accomplish what other children pick up naturally, I have learnt not to take things for granted and to better appreciate the little things in life.

I never knew I could give so much until you came along to touch my life this way.

A mother

Do join this forum for further discussions on special needs children: http://shoulders.freeforums.org/