It took me quite long time to convince my self that it’s OK to write about this topic. It’s OK to share the experience, feelings, and thoughts on this topic. Yet, still I hesitate. Maybe because I’m afraid I will gauge unwanted reaction from close relatives. And by relatives I mean my mother and direct siblings.
But then, here I am trying not to care of what they might or might not say, and decided to just share this with (hopefully) a good intention. This one I dedicate to my fellow parents who maybe have to deal with the same condition as I am. The intention is to tell you, you’re not alone and God loves you so much that He trusted you to take care the kid with special needs. Yes, those words broke my heart the first time I got the diagnosis. Special needs, developmental delay, developmental disorder, you name ’em. Those terms are frightening, right?
But the sooner you accept them, the sooner you’ll know that they’re not that scary.
This is a story of my son, babyAm. He is now 2,5 years old, very energetic and loves to eat. Like realllyy loves to eat :D. He love the Frozen song, Upin & Ipin, you know just like other kids (I guess). If you meet babyAm, you won’t think that there’s something wrong. Until you start calling his name or trying to interact with him.
These are some red flags you need to be concern about:
1. Lack or no eye contact
2. No response when someone calling his/her name by the age of 1 year old
My babyAm showed those red flags but as a first-timer-parent I was completely clueless. We got the first diagnosis unintentionally, when we took babyAm to get vax when he was 18 months old. The pediatrician notice that babyAm’s developments are behind his age. My babyAm has speech delay and mild autism. According to the pediatrician, a toddler his age should already understand some simple instructions and expand his vocabulary. Well, my babyAm is still on the babbling phase, speaks his own “outer space” language. babyAm has special needs, because only his parents / grandparents understand what he want or doesn’t want through his gesture, that’s why we always need to be around. Kids with normal needs can communicate just fine and don’t need someone else to translate their gesture.
It took me about 6 months to finally accept that babyAm is different. Well, that’s too long you know, don’t be like me. Those first 6 months was spent with crying silently in the middle of the night, feeling sad and depressed and angry. I would constantly asking my self: why is this happening to me? I was over reacted you know, when my babyAm is only diagnosed with mild spectrum of autism. Meaning that he could catch up just in time with early interventions (therapies and stuff). I was over reacted or in Bahasa, I was lebai 😅, when I can see babyAm is progressing after every therapy. babyAm will be fine, I know it and I will always be by his side to ensure that things are gonna be alright (eventually).
I will share my babyAm development stories and on going therapies along the way, ya. This is just an introductory post about the term special need and what I felt about it the first time I know my babyAm was diagnosed with it. I pray to God that you, my friends, won’t have to face this condition, amen! But…..if you do, or someone you know does, please don’t feel alone. I hope you find my post(s) helpful and comforting. Me myself get through those infamous Elisabeth Kubler-Rose stages of grief in my first 6 months, and let me tell you: it’s not healthy both for you and your child. My babyAm psychologist once said: it’s fine to feel sad but don’t spend too much time weeping and blaming, because your kid needs you to be strong for time goes by so fast and your kid keeps growing.
I made her advice a motivation, it helps. You need to focus on what’s next, focus on what interventions can you get for your child, focus on solutions that matter. Don’t keep digging on why is he/she different, why God give you the condition, why this, why that? It’s no use. Focus on the how and what’s next. Keep calm and keep your patience, you’ll need them for God only knows how long.
Be strong, dear friends ☺ If God choose you to be the parents of kid with special needs, then believe that He will provide you with the strenght you need as well. Do your best to intervene the developmental disorder, and then surrender the rest to Him. Be grateful, it’ll make days go by easier ☺