Is your child hitting his developmental milestones? I will share my family’s autism journey and when I realized that my son was on the spectrum.
What can you read in this article?
- The red flags and how they knew that Liam had autism
- Their family’s autism journey during the pandemic
- Lessons she learned from their autism journey
I became an “Ausome Mom” with my second born. When I got pregnant with Liam Marco, everything went smoothly. And when the time we finally met him, we were so thankful for our second bundle of joy.
However, a few months later, we noticed that Liam won’t stare that long every time we tried to talk or play with him. Our basis of comparison was our eldest son, Troy. If I remember, Troy was pretty advanced in reaching his milestones, so we can definitely see and compare the difference.
Liam hasn’t been hitting his milestones in the past months. But we just went with it, thinking that maybe Liam has a different learning style and pace with his development.
But when Liam turned one, he still couldn’t make eye contact. He also doesn’t know how to talk or even call me “Mama.”
This alarmed us, as we know that this is already a red flag in child development as one of the symptoms of autism. But some friends and family told us to give him some time to learn.
Though his motor skills are doing great – in fact, he loves to run, jump and even climb on our window grills. But we noticed how he would repeatedly jump from the window to our bed. It seems like had no sense of danger at all. He also doesn’t like to play with other kids.
When he turned two, his eye contact hasn’t improved and was still non-verbal. That was the time we decided to seek the help of a developmental pediatrician (dev ped).
Our family’s “au-some” autism journey
It took us almost two years to finally have our schedule from our dev ped because most of them have full slots. Liam was 3 years and 9 months old when he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder with speech delay.
Honestly, we were not that surprised about the result of the assessment. It was more of confirmation since we saw a lot of red flags with our son. After we had Liam’s consultation and evaluation with the dev ped, we moved forward and focused more on how we can help him.
Now that he’s already 4, it’s a bit frustrating that we cannot easily go to an occupational therapist due to the pandemic. But we are so thankful that one of my cousins, Ate Momay, referred us to Autism Society Philippines (ASP).
ASP is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder, who envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials — self-reliant, independent, productive, socially accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.
ASP have this HOMEPOWERMENT Program where they empower families through training and therapy for free, and it’s a huge favor and blessing to us to be part of this program. The program offers training for parents on appropriate intervention strategies and initial therapy to children with autism 8 years and below.
It aims to empower families with knowledge and skills to confidently care for our child with autism and continue our child’s program at the comfort of our home. We meet virtually three times a week for our Training, Mentoring and Occupational therapy with ASP Board of Trustees.
“Nanay lang iyong nagpapasabay lahat. I think all mothers are like that.”- Candy Pangilinan
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Does speaking two languages at home cause speech delay in toddlers?
Small progress and lessons learned
After a few weeks of training and application from what Homepowerment imparted us, we saw some improvements with Liam. His eye contact has improved. He even recognizes his name and even stops to look at us whenever we call him.
Liam can eat on his own now and can properly behave when we eat together at our dining table. He even goes to the sink after and washes his hands.
For some, it’s just a small or insignificant milestone or progress, but for us, it’s a huge thing. Small progress is still progress, right?
Right now, we’re just at the beginning of our Ausome Journey. I know we have a long way to go, but little by little, step by step, as a family, we are learning together.
What I’ve realized with our Ausome Journey with Liam is that it’s not just him who is learning but also us. Personally, Liam taught me to be more patient, to be more intentional. It also disciplines me somehow especially on how I manage my time.
We are so amazed at how God makes things work and fall into the right place at the right time. How He guides and connects us to the right people who will be an instrument to give us what we need.