Monday, April 8, 2013

The Beginning of our Journey with ASD

I shared my love letter to ASD in my Facebook wall and the response was just awesome. People who I haven't talked or seen in ages were liking and sending me words of encouragement, support, and admiration. I shared Milo's diagnosis not to gain likes or display my brilliant mothering skills (insert evil laugh here), but to raise awareness one person at a time. I am now inspired to write again. This blog has now a defined purpose, which is to share our journey with autism. I am not an expert on autism or motherhood, but I am expert when it comes to Milo.

I know there are already tons of personal blogs out there telling stories of autism and how they are coping. I'm not promising that mine will be different, but you've seen one person with autism and you've only seen one person with it. People under the spectrum are all wired differently. What applies to Milo is not necessary applicable to other persons with autism (PWA) and vice versa.

To every journey, there is a beginning and this is how ours started:

Milo looked like a "normal" kid. He liked (and still likes) Jollibee, sang the ABC, counted one to ten, identified objects, etc. etc. But, he liked to play alone, got frustrated when his toys are disturbed, slept at 4 o'clock in the morning, liked wearing his same green shirt everyday. He knew his ABCs well that he can recite it ZYX. He counted to ten in English, Tagalog, Ilocano, and Spanish. He read simple words, added large sums of numbers, knew the colors of the rainbows and their respective shades, operated the computer, etc. etc. All this he did excellently before he was four. He didn't like sudden loud sounds or he wasn't looking in your eyes when he talks to you. He ignores you when you call him. He was not your typical boy and it didn't raise alarm for us. We just let him be.

Before he started nursery last June 2012, I was already scouting for professionals who assess children for giftedness. I wanted him assessed so I can properly guide him and not for anything else. If it, indeed, turns out he is a math genius, well and good, but, if not, still well and good.

He started nursery that June without an assessment as the earliest schedule we could book was in October and I was looking as early as April. By July, Milo's language teacher wanted to talk me and I was nervous. What could've my kid done? Has he misbehaved too much in school? I went right away and his teacher told me that:
  1. When Milo's done with his seatwork, he'd hum;
  2. He'd also go to the the toys shelf and play by himself;
  3. He writes very "madiin";
  4. He's not very sociable; and
  5. He reads very well, but unable to totally grasp the concept of what he has read.
Milo's teacher advised me to have him assessed and right there then and then, I already knew that she was referring to another kind of assessment, not for giftedness, but for his quirkiness. I said OK right away and his class adviser was rather surprised with my cooperation. Why would I delay something that could probably help me understand my child more? Up to this day, I do not regret saying "yes".

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