Monday, September 28, 2015

Special, He Is

'Special' has a lot of meaning to it depending on how you apply it.

Special someone - a person who is so dear to you. Special place - a location that holds a memory that is close to your heart. Special moment - a particular time that is significant in your life.

Special is simply, unique.

Raees is special.

He's special because he's my first born, he made me a mom.

He's special because he's the first grandchild in my family.

He's special because he's unique.

Raees isn't just special to me and my family, he's a special child...with special needs.

And this the first time I ever admitted it openly. I had my reasons for keeping it low over the past few years but now I feel it is time to let the cat out of the bag. Keeping things to yourself could take a toll on your emotions.

I've somewhat shared the early warning signs in this blog, before I went on a long hiatus because I didn't know what else to write about besides our struggle with his condition. And I wasn't ready to share at that point in time.

Raees did say a few words when he was little. But his vocabulary didn't evolve, in fact it disappeared. He just didn't say a word. He didn't communicate verbally or expressed with gestures that much.

Then there was the crying stage...he just cried his heart out every time we went to someone's house, especially when there's a lot of people e.g birthday parties.

Heck, he even cried at his own birthday party!

As a toddler he didn't sleep well. He didn't play well with other kids either. In fact one would say he was in a world of his own.

The only thing he was interested in was the iPad - which we so generously let him play with to keep him from running away from us at public places.

I began suspecting something was not right when he was about 2 years old, after observing other kids his age. I could say that I was in denial when his development was not according to the development chart anymore. I simply stopped referring to it because I held on to the phrase 'children develop at their own pace'.

Also, MANY people told me,"it's normal for a boy, especially the first born, to have slight delay in speech. He will be talking in no time."

So I wished they were right and just waited for to hear more words but they didn't come around.

The warning signs just got too great so we knew we needed to do something to help him. I won't go into detail about what we have done, at least not yet. The doctors diagnosed him as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

For those who aren't familiar with ASD, let's just say their thinking process is different. It's like our brain is running on Mac OS and kids with ASD are on Windows. It is a wide spectrum and the effects vary. But these kids have their strengths and if the right approach is figured out, they're able to excel.

It's been about 3-4 years since we embarked on Raees' journey to recovery. Now at 6 years old, he's able to communicate his basic needs, toilet trained and learning quite well. He may have a long way to go but, Alhamdulillah, he's showing progress.

Raees being the first born, I didn't have a benchmark to compare to. That's another reason why in the beginning I thought that was how all toddlers behave. Now that I have Razeen, I see a huge difference. I'm experiencing a lot of firsts with Razeen.

Anyway, today is also a special. I'm a year older :)

It's also time for me to grow up and get out of this shell. It's time to open up about our journey with Raees and to *properly* reach out to you, my loyal readers, for support. I know I know...I should've done this a long time ago. Better late than never!

I believe many parents are going through the same experience as I am. It would be great if they could also share their journey as well and together we could help our precious children.

You know, this truly is special post ;)

Note: my apologies as some of the links' photos have gone missing :-/

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