Autism: A Mother’s Perspective
Hi, my name is Faby and I am the founder and president of Autism Bird. Daily, I wear multiple hats but the one I am the proudest of is being the mother to an amazing little boy on the autism spectrum. He was diagnosed at age 2 and is now a big, smart, and funny 6-year-old.
If you are a parent like me, and you are at the beginning of your parenting journey, it’s OK to be overwhelmed. I didn’t know what autism was when we received the diagnosis and I know It can be very challenging at times balancing sleep, feeding, behaviors, and therapies. However, it is important to remain hopeful and positive. Although my son is not fully verbal, we communicate in the language of love and yes, parenting. He can read my moods and knows how to manipulate me into smiling even when I am mad at him.
Autism never stopped our family from doing what we want. Since the diagnosis, we have traveled to over 20 countries with a month’s worth of baby food and diapers. We had him on strollers way beyond the recommended age just so we could journey together and enjoy life as a family. Yes! We adapt and adjust as we go. We created an ecosystem around our child and through trials and errors we found what works best for him and for us as a family. We are fortunate to have amazing therapists and teachers; however, most people do not have access to such great resources. It’s not surprising to see undiagnosed children locked inside their bedrooms because the family thinks they are possessed or crazy. The myths and lack of education on the topic are outrageous.
Autism is not a death sentence or the end of the world. Our children are who they are, like you and me. When I hear “he is autistic” it’s like saying “he is black.” It’s his identity and it’s so obvious that it shouldn’t be an identifier. A diagnosis is good to signal that my child learns differently and that materials must be adapted to his learning needs. But it shouldn’t be a label to exclude him or isolate him. We, as a society, can do better and be more inclusive. Life is too short and the beauty of having a family is to have partners to share a journey with. We intend to fully partake.