Autism and a Mother’s Angst

Children don’t choose to become autistic. 

When autism does strike a family, it changes life as we know it. Our way of life is suddenly threatened. We are hurt. We are angry. We are depressed. We turn to friends and family. Some parents who have no one to turn to are driven to thoughts of suicide.

There are those who find comfort and meaning in God and those who turn away from God and put the blame at His door. Just how we choose to approach the problem will make or break us.

No one is as hurt or as angry as a mother who is told that her child may never live a normal life. But how that mother decides to approach the problem can and will determine her child’s fate. Acceptance is key.

Some mothers in denial try to ignore the problem by keeping themselves busy . Other mothers have the mistaken conception that the child will eventually grow out of it, and don’t do as much early intervention as they should be doing. There are also mothers who react with shame, and lock their children away from prying eyes.

There are also those mothers who do their best to work on the problem. They spend sleepless nights researching and trying out each and every therapy that money can buy.

Although many are dedicated , many are also limited by the financial constraints of having to work and prioritize the family budget. It pains us to see mothers limited by the lack of support that they can get from the government.

While I was at a tutorial center, I met a mother who wanted to push her son into having a “regular” life. She was very strict and demanding with her son. She had a very aggressive attitude towards her hyperactive son. She seemed to believe that a high amount of strictness and discipline would somehow help modify her child’s behaviour.

She was highly strung and stressed out. I don’t blame her. I would be too if I had to enforce my will and project my stern face every time my son did something wrong. Who among us has not dreamed of having a normal life for our children ?

She seemed to believe that her son’s behavioral issues would be corrected with discipline and spanking. She was more preoccupied in improving her child’s academic competence more than getting help in finding the solution to her son’s hyperactivity and short attention span.

Sadly, I never saw that lady again. I did however, remember her these past few days. I thought to pray for that mom and her little boy.

I prayed to God to give her the gift of acceptance. To be able to love accept her child for who he is. To be able to see joy in his difference and cultivate his gifts. To able to let go of her anger.

I learned years ago that grades don’t matter. As much as we’d like to have all our kids excel in school, our children’s differences work against them. Our kids are more in need of love and understanding.

Remember, as they get older, it’s the social skills and behavior that matters. It is what helps us navigate our society in order to succeed in life.

Please share this with people you care about.

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