Preetha Anoop Menon

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Transformation as Special Parent

My life was as normal as can be. A lawyer by profession, I was working with an international bank and thoroughly enjoyed the corporate life. We were a happy family of three and life was so normal until one day, when my worst fears about my son were confirmed. My little boy was diagnosed as Autistic. Being pregnant with my second one, I decided that it was probably best for me to quit my job and continue working towards the welfare of my children.
 
 The early days of diagnosis like for every parent, was exhausting. It felt like everything around me was moving so fast while my thoughts were frozen. The only thing I could ever think of was, to find a cure for my son! The next few days saw me running from pillar to post trying to find a cure. I was open to trying almost anything and everything that promised a cure for Autism. 
 
We had enrolled him in all possible therapy centers with him attending sessions all seven days of the week. I could sense that I was more eager and desperate for improvement but I was continuously disappointed. It was all a down hill from there. My desperation was slowly turning to depression. Things were going in the wrong direction. I could see my son was regressing day by day. His beautiful smile had faded away and he lost all his creativity. He used to beautifully create things with play dough and blocks. Everything had changed, he wasn't so fond of his favorite toys anymore that he kept throwing and breaking them.
 
Unfortunately around the same time his arms got broken while undergoing OT therapy and he had to undergo surgery. My heart broke watching him cry in pain as they prepped him for surgery. I promised him that it would be his last therapy in any centre. I told him "Amma will be there with you always". I still remember the spark I saw in his eyes. I think that was the moment of real transformation for me when I transitioned into a special parent. When I came out of my comfort zone, the real transformation happened. But still I had no control over him. I was clueless on how to work with him. As I mentioned earlier, I was totally exhausted parenting two children.
 
 I happened to meet a parent trainer and a special educator, Ms Seema Lal who brought new meaning to our lives. I still remember my first home program with Sivaa, it was to make him sit still at one place for a minimum of 5 seconds. For most people it's no big deal. He was so hyperactive that even sitting down in a place while I counted from one to five was something that needed intensive training. Imagine the magnitude of my challenge! I relentlessly kept on encouraging him. Slowly I could make him sit still for 30 seconds. When I reached 30 seconds, I was confident that I could  work with him and bring about positive changes in his life. After that there was no looking back. I gained confidence and had better control over him. From then to now we have come a long way.
 
Today I am proud to acknowledge that he is an independent ADLs and that he can speak to communicate his needs. I can now work with him for 2 hours straight without any interruptions.
 
This journey has taught me more lessons than I could teach my son. My humble two cents to my fellow companions is to understand that we are the best therapists for our children! It's okay if you get only 2 therapy sessions a week. Plan and design a home program with your child's therapist and start working with your child. Start expressing your unconditional love for them and respect and accept them for what they are. Remember acceptance is 'doing with them' and not 'doing for them'. Once you reach the stage of acceptance you will  experience a peace and happiness that will surpass all difficulties. 
 
I can't tell you how proud I am of my son Sivaa. He is the most loving person in our family. He shares an amazing bond with his little brother. Everything that happens in our house is around his schedule. He has his own rigid ways and we are respectful of that and we enjoy our adventure on the road less travelled!
 
Preetha Anoop Menon 
 
 
 
 
Posted in Motivational on April 23 at 06:34 PM

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