My beautiful boy.
by Rumma Hasan
My son was born 3 weeks premature, due to the fact that I had high blood pressure. He was very thin and small. He was a very quiet baby, he hardly cried, or made much noise, even when he played he was very quiet. I didn't think much of it, I just thought that every child was, well different. One day when he was 6 months old, I had taken him to my daughter's school, because there was a PTA meeting. After the meeting was over, her teacher asked me if she could ask a personal questions. What she asked me, blew my mind. She asked me, if my son was autistic. I was raged, like how dare she ask me that, and like the normal parent's reactions I got very defensive and rudely said NO! The next day, she apologized, but she said that she had noticed a few qualities in him, that resembled an autistic child. The quietness, the playing with fingers, which I hadn't noticed till then, the strange look in his eyes, basically his behavior according to her was not normal. when I think back now, had I listened to her then, it would have saved us a lot of heartache.
A few months later we moved to India, and well life went on. Even when he was at the age of two he hardly spoke, he was a late talker and and later walker. I being totally frustrated with my husband for moving us across the world didn't give it much though until he turned 3 and was forced to start nursery. They started with simple poems, "Twinkle, Twinkle little star, Baba Blach Sheep, and etc. My son was the only child who could not remember or say the words to the poems, so therefore he started making up his own words in gibberish. We thought it was a phase he was going through, and that he would get out of it, little did we know that my son was showing symptoms of SPD.
When he turned 4 and was in Kindergarten, he was the only child in the class that was unable to write the alphabet, he got yelled at, he got punished, I was called to the school repeatedly, so the principle could tell me, that my son was stupid, careless, and unfit to be in LKG. I took him out of that school and enrolled him in a better school, where my friend who is from Chicago was director. They had more of an idea about kids who had LD, learning disabilities. Little did I know that I was taking my son from the stove and throwing him into the fire.
When he was 5, he started UKG, and that's when I finally realized or accepted that fact that my son was indeed different. He was always preoccupied, he was always insecure, never sitting down, unable to make full sentences, unable to write the alphabet or numbers, unable to memorize a single poem.
Once they had made him participate in a play thinking it would help him, it was a play about the ENVIRONMENT, and how we are suppose to save trees. He had a one liner, where he was suppose to say, "please save the trees" but instead he stood there in his tree costume, and said "Please cut down the trees" and everybody laughed. He on the other hand cried all night.
I ran from teacher to principle, and kept telling them to please have the school councilor, see him, see what's wrong with him. After much begging and pleading, she diagnosed him as being dyslexic, and referred me to a psychologist. After answering 500 questions about my life before his conception, and until now, and whatever little pathetic tests they took of him, they clearly stated yes indeed he is dyslexic and is slightly autistic. AUTISTIC?????????????? My world went upside down. I wanted a second opinion, but where would I go, I don't know anybody in this God forsaken place. I just wanted to pick my kids and go back to Canada.
My husband said to give him some time, wait till he got a little older, I listened to him.
He failed UKG, and had to repeat it again, then he moved on to first grade, which was pure hell. He would sit on the dining table every night,holding his head in his hands and cry, "Mommy please don't make me go back to school. I wanna stay home and help you, please Mommy" Every night I cried myself to sleep. Finally, because of his age, they had to promote him to grade 2.
The first day of grade 2, I had met the teacher and explained everything, how hard it was for him, and that nobody understood, but I knew there was something wrong with my son. She listed very carefully and said that she will keep an eye on him, and keep me in touch with whatever was going on.
Grade 2 was a challenge from the beginning, he became very quiet, very irritable, very scared, he kept saying that the other kids would laugh at him, he would call himself stupid, and other names he would hear his classmates calling him. It tore at my heart, I wanted to take him and run so far away. It continued for days on end, until that fateful day when his teacher called me up to meet with me. Her exact words were
"Mustafa is a wonderful child, he is trying very hard, but he's just unable to do it. So I had him assessed, and yes you are right, there is a real problem."
At that moment, all I did was cry, it was like wave of relief coming over me, that somebody finally understood, saw what I saw, and that I wasn't crazy, and my son wasn't stupid or an idiot or careless. He really had a problem. I was referred to a psychologist therapist, where he was fully assessed for hours, and was finally diagnosed with SPD, severe learning difficulty, ADHD, and what-nots which to people who don't know the difference can seem like autism.
In the mean time Things got worst with him, he would spin for hours holding a toy,he would jump from sofas, tables, or just continually jumping on the floor without getting tired, he would just start talking or yelling and singing in gibberish, he refused to wear shorts, cause he didn't want people to see his legs, he didn't want to be touched, giving him a bath was a real challenge. He would eat, like food was going out of style, he would poop 3 or 4 times a day, he was scared of his own shadow. He had no interest in any sports, or games, or anything that other 8 year old boys like to do.
After he was assessed, his teacher made things easy for him, he was going to school, during the day, and in the evenings he would go to his therapist and do the extra lessons with her. That didn't last too long, he was getting tired, he was getting frustrated and things kept on getting worst.
He's 9 years old now, I took him out of his previous school as well, the principle clearly told me that, my son needed special help and they just couldn't provide it, so I took him out and now he's going to a special school, where there are other children with SPD, some of them are in their teens, and when I see them, it just makes me want to cry. He's been going there for about 4 months now, but there is not much of a difference. He's still spinning around, he still makes noises in Gibberish, he has a hard time eating without having dropped half the food on the floor, his fears have gotten worst He's tall for his age, and people think he's 10, but his social skills are of 5-6 year old. Other kids are always making fun of him, calling him names, laughing at him, and it makes him cry, and there is nothing I can do about it.