Hi! I am Mommy Cookie, and I've always wanted to share my “Becoming an ASD Mom” story. However, I deleted it multiple times because I am a protective mom, and opening this sensitive topic would make others judge the very person I am trying to shield from harsh criticisms. But I guess now is the time to share in the hopes of helping other parents undergoing the same experience as I have. This story is about my youngest daughter diagnosed with ASD, or Autism Spectrum disorder, when she was three years old.
Let us go back to the time when it started. I noticed some red flags when my daughter turned two years old. She hardly looked me in the eyes and never called me mommy, unlike her older sister, who was very talkative when she turned a year older. Anyway, I told her pediatrician about it and recommended that I see a Developmental Doctor for my peace of mind. Taking her advice, I made an appointment but canceled a week before said schedule. I told myself there was nothing wrong with my daughter, and having her checked by another doctor confirmed something was wrong. But months later, there was no progress for my child so I tried to make an appointment again; however, I had to wait a few more months to be accommodated as the doctor’s schedule was already full. I told myself, “Okay, fine, because by then, I don’t need it anymore and be canceling it again."
Finally, the day came, and after the doctor did some evaluations, I was faced with the truth: my daughter was confirmed to have Autism Spectrum Disorder. Although her impairments were relatively mild, the doctor recommended that my child receive some forms of therapy, and improvements were to be expected once the interventions were provided. But at that very moment, my world shattered. How? Why? How come? Why my child? To the point that I even asked myself, ‘is this doctor for real?!’ I was in denial. I was so devastated that I tried my best not to cry in front of the doctor. I only poured my anger, frustrations, and sadness at home. I felt life was unfair for children to be diagnosed with such a disorder that many people will forever judge. For many days, I cried. I cried in the middle of the night, before I went to sleep and when I woke up. That happened for over a month. I was so depressed for my beautiful, innocent baby girl. Life was so unfair to her and she didn’t deserve it; I kept saying that…
But soon, I realized I was getting nowhere from bawling every day and night. I finally decided to bring my daughter to a therapy center. There, I saw other kids in therapy; others even had extreme cases. I cried again, this time not for my child but for other kids and their parents.
I started to accept that I was an "autism mom", and with acceptance came many realizations. Therapy wasn’t so bad at all; in fact, I was thankful they existed. So for years, my daughter received occupational therapy three times a week, SPED classes twice a week and Speech therapy whenever a speech pathologist was available. She stopped going to SPED classes when she started attending regular classes at a mainstream (regular) school, doing well since she was able to catch up with kids her age. Her OT was soon reduced to two times a week, then once a week until finally she didn’t need it anymore when she was nine years old.
My daughter is currently twelve years old. Right now, she only has speech therapy once a week because her only struggles these days are her speech and comprehending analytical questions. She can communicate and understand, but give her time to process it. And mind you, she has quite a sharp memory.
I am sharing my journey as an ASD mom to enlighten (or hopefully, encourage) other parents in this situation. Life may not be easy at first, but you will be surprised how you and your child surpassed obstacles and achieved some milestones.
This is just a fraction of my story; I will share more of my experiences on my next post as I do not want to overwhelm my readers (esp. ASD parents like me). So, stay tuned!
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