Samir has always been a boy full of life, loving, and very social. At 18months old, he started to change. He was losing words, his eye contact was changing, and he did not enjoy the things that he use to enjoy before. After many appointments with early intervention and his pediatrician, they all conclude that he just had a speech delay and that many kids lose some words growing up. They suggested us to enroll him in school, he did great in the beginning, still no speech improvement but he was more social again. The following year after many months in the waitlist of a prestigious school, he finally gets in. After 2 days in the school, he got sent home because he was not a good match, at the moment he was not aggressive or excessively crying, he simply did not participate much but enjoy playing outside. I knew something was different about him, but I could not point out what it was and also with a bit of guilt now I can say that I did not want to see it. Deep inside, I knew that he was Autistic, my husband believes it, but I was reluctant.
The love of a mother is patient. I wanted to wait, I wanted to give him the time to grow rather than throw a label on him. How wrong was I? Very wrong. It is not about the label, but the more you acknowledge the differences, the easier it gets to help your child and start a whole new journey. No one doctor will give us a diagnose in Las Vegas, so we flew to Boston. On October 9, 2017, Samir was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Boston Childresn’s Hospital.
While in the Boston Children’s Hospital, our friends waited in the lobby for hours while we received that little paper that put a label on my baby boy. They did not put a label, they put a shiny blue cape around his neck and sent him to change our lives. We were devastated, our husband and I cried in bed for a while, but it gives us at least the peace to know, the sense of knowing what we were facing. The news fueled me with power and devoted the next couple months on finding the right services for him; speech, Occupational Therapy, ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), and even music. My life changed completely, my plans to going to work banished and started a journey that had brought me many sleepless nights, tears, joy, and love.
At times it is hard to see my friends celebrating Kindergarten graduations, soccer games and Birthday parties while I am researching how to keep my son with clothes on in public places (long story, we will talk about it later). Even with such an Atypical life as a mother, I will not trade this journey for anything in the world.