April is a month for laughs and celebrations. It is, however, the month of Autism Awareness. Today’s article shares the story of a parent of a girl with Autism.
It was a new dawn. A promising Friday to be precise. With all enthusiasm, Juan took her favorite attire and got dressed, expecting to receive exactly what she prayed for. She won’t deny that doubts rushed into her head now and then during the day. She decided to focus on what she prayed for earnestly.
At some point, she felt God knew that any answer otherwise was not acceptable to her. It did not take long for the scan result to be out. A glow of pink in all shades raced through her mind when she heard “Madam, it’s a girl!”
Considering that her children had already undergone caesarian section (C/S) within a life span of three (3) years, birthing a third child was not part of the plan but as they say, one often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it. A lovely princess decided to grow in her womb without her notice.
Her joy was unexplainable. After her second trimester, she envisioned taking her little girl to theme parks, long vacation trips, school, name it! She had dreamt of a new best friend.
The unexpected happened in her eight (8th) month of pregnancy. She fell ill just a few weeks before delivery. Her new love arrived in June but due to fetal distress, she was kept in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for a few weeks.
By the time Baby Moana was one (1), she had started walking and babbling to communicate her needs, which was normal amongst infants her age.
Everything seemed okay until she was three (3) years old. Juan and her husband observed that instead of voicing out what she wanted, she would rather pull them towards it. She also developed the habit of staring at her fingers for usually long hours or spinning, jumping, and playing all by herself. She could constipate for days.
All these became a call for worry. They sought treatment from many hospitals and churches but to no avail.
Baby Moana was seven (7) when her parents received a visit from their friend Abroad. They wouldn’t have known it was Autism if that friend hadn’t pointed it out to them. In their confusion and outright denial, they demanded explanations for what she was saying.
They were desperate for answers. What is Autism? Where is it from? Is there a cure? Everything their friend said was confirmed when they decided to see a speech pathologist. Juan felt so heartbroken, depressed, and, confused.
This story is one that a lot of parents and guardians with autistic children can relate to, especially upon their first time of hearing the news.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is not something unheard of in a Ghanaian home ordinarily. Does this mean Ghanaians are not affected by this disorder? No, it only means that its effects are not as daunting, to the ordinary Ghanaian, as those of cancers, hypertensions, etc. It might also interest you to know that several persons we meet daily might be somewhere on the spectrum; the extremely smart and extremely daft alike.
ASD studies and learning has been grossly inadequate, especially in African countries. This can be attributed to the disbelief that the disorder is caused by displeased deities and supernatural beings.
Watch this space for more articles on Autism this month.
Nice piece,I have been educated.