#AutismAwareness: Our Journey
Last night, I saw a video clip of Hasna from Pinoy Big Brother wherein she mentioned her story as a mom of 2 kids with Autism. While watching it, tears kept falling on my cheeks. I remembered everything our family went through.
Ren was already 2.8 years old when we noticed that he is different from other kids in the neighborhood. He doesn’t call me mom, he can’t converse but can recite the alphabet, count and identify colors and shapes.
I felt that there’s something wrong but I thought that perhaps he just needs to be with other kids to develop his speech. I tried to enroll him to a daycare center, but the director told me to bring him to a Developmental Pediatrician because he shows some red flags upon her evaluation – no eye to eye contact, he lines up toys and does not answer instantly when called. The DevPed confirmed that he has “Autism Spectrum Disorder”. I have no idea what it is, until I did some research. The word “there’s no cure” shattered my dreams for him. I don’t know what to do, iyak lang ako ng iyak.
I agreed with Hasna when she said that this disability is expensive and it’s hard to understand and accept. I went through the denial stage that she also experienced.
But denying it won’t help, so we went to Occupational Therapist sessions twice a week. One hour cost around P500 at that time (it’s P700-P1000 now I think). I would just hear him crying the whole time. Minsan ang bigat sa pakiramdam na natapos nila ang oras na para bang walang nangyari? Mabigat na sa pakiramdam, mabigat din sa bulsa. I decided to leave my job as a supervisor and just focused on helping him. I joined seminars, some are free, meron din iba may bayad. Kahit malayo ang UP Diliman or Ateneo, pinupuntahan ko para lang makakuha ng tips, ideas from professionals on what to do.
After 3 months, he was advised to add speech therapy in his schedule. So from P1,000 per week sa OT, nadagdagan pa ng another P500 for Speech sessions. BTW, for developmental pediatrician consultation, it cost around P3,500 per visit ha.
I’m thankful for his therapists who empowered me. They taught me what they are doing at the center and asked me to do the same at the house. Kasi mas madaming oras sa bahay kesa sa therapy center.
I don’t know how we survived because my husband’s salary at that time was not that big. I just started blogging and local companies are not yet open to include bloggers for campaigns. I earned extra income by selling school supplies and we have a karaoke for rent but it’s not much and big. I’m thankful that my husband doubled his working hours to be able to provide for our needs. Plus my sister-in-law and her husband helped us by bringing cooked food for lunch and dinner because they have a carinderia near us.
The fear of having another child with special need is also one of the reasons why I avoided to get pregnant. Just like in case of Hasna, she has two child with the same condition. Though I know some families who have a first born with Autism and next kids are all neuro-typical. I just can’t risk to have another one because I don’t know if I can provide and take care of 2 kids with the same condition. The thought of it is already killing me.
Her story about bullying is one of the reasons why we decided to tell the world about my son’s condition. We kept it privately before.
Why? kasi daw “hindi halata”, “mukha naman syang okay”, “baka mali lang ang doktor”, “mukha syang normal”.
Napansin kasi namin na yung mga tao, pag visible ang disability like down syndrome, blind etc. mas inuunawa nila at iniintindi. Sa case ni Ren, iniisip nila na makulit lang, na hindi nadidisiplina ng magulang.
Autism, especially those who are verbal and can already manage themselves in public is considered one of the invisible disability. You’ll never know something is odd with them if you are not close to them.
My son can catch up with other kids his age, he is smart and can comprehend, but he struggles in socialization, in keeping friends and in decision making because he is a bit impulsive.
He is a sweet boy too, he loves us so much and he likes it when people praise and notices him through his own YouTube channel. He feels like a celebrity, he likes the attention hahaha
Bullying at school is one of the reasons why I chose to enter him in a small class sized school from Preschool to Grade3. I stayed everyday in that school (mula pasukan hanggang uwian) for 2 years straight para ma-monitor sya and his classmates (which I’m thankful that bullying between the kids never happened). If not only because of other reasons, Ren might still be there up to now.
When I transferred him to a bigger school in preparation for high-school, I chose one that has a SPED department because I thought kids in that school will be more understanding. Hasna is right, the tuition fee ranges from 80,000 – 200,000 or more. But we only stayed there for 1 year, because of some rules that we don’t agree and opposite to our goal for inclusion. That’s why we decided to homeschool him.
We started going to therapists when he was 2.9 years old and he’s 11 now. We’ve been through a lot, but I’m grateful that he’s doing fine now.
To all my co-special moms out there, be strong for your kids. My son teaches me a lot of things because of his condition and I’m very thankful I got to experience it. It may sound hypocrite, but I’m blessed to have someone like him in my life. Being sad and even mad at the world is normal, but you need to realize that you need to do something about it. Ask for help/advice and attend seminars if you can. Doing this will help you understand the situation more and will guide you to do what’s suppose to be done.
To the parents who have neuro-typical kids, I humbly ask for your help to teach your kids to be more considerate, more patients, more understanding to their peers especially those they find odd or different.
We are helping our special kids to adjust in the society’s rules and I hope your neuro-typical kids could meet them half way by also adjusting to their world too.
As responsible parents, let’s make our kid’s “future world” wonderful by co-existing with each other.
AIKO Padilla says
Ang strong mo mommy levy, hanggang ngayon ba nag therapy pa sya?. Malaki na rin si ren… Buti supportive yung asawa mo…
Fb: akio zednanref
John-Jieliz Cornelia says
Your story is so inspiring! Our love towards our child is endless. Thank you for reminding us, that our child needs our guidance in their life. Stay strong mommy! Ren is fortunate to have parents like you. Godbless.
Mommy Levy says
thank you for the kind words.
Elizabeth Lastrella says
Nakaka-inspire po ang story ninyo ni Ren. Sana yung mga parents with the same situation can read your story to help them with their predicament. Alam mo mommy, blessed ka to have a kid like Ren. Ren is so talented and he is awesome.
Mommy Levy says
thank you. I am lucky I’m his mom
Clary Geronimo says
Kahit ilang beses ako makarinig/makabasa ng mga ganitong istorya, hindi ko pa din mapigilan tumulo ang luha ko. Maybe because we’re walking on the same path, not necessarily on the same shoe, pero I know the struggle, I feel the struggle. Ika nga nila, the struggle is real. Physically, emotionally and financially. Pero keri natin yan sis, maitatawid natin yan. 🙂
Mommy Levy says
Florence Bobadilla says
Thank you mommy levy, I’m a mom with autistic child. We are from Batangas City.
Mommy Levy says
hugs to you and your child
Jennifer Londe says
Na naiyak ako dito…Yes kuNg tayong magulang na may ganitong anak mas bibigyan natin sila ng atensyon para di nila ma feel my ganito silang kalagayan ang pagkakaroon ng autism.
Julieanne Francis Ugay says
No matter how big the autism spectrum is… Here I read the depth of a mother’s love.
Dan Nicole Viclar says
My son is 2years and 4months now.. i see som of the signs like di makatagal sa eye to eye contact, can’t complete alphabet kahit sounds lang and suppeeeeerrrr kulit.. he can call me mommy, he can say a words numbers and colors but 80% only.. i mean not clearly and not all, and he is so kulit na kakasabi ko lang sasabihin ko na naman.. i don’t know if this is one of the signs or sadyang makulit lang talaga sa age na yan..
Mommy Levy says
I can’t confirm mommy. Iba-iba din kasi ang bata, kay Ren, naramdaman ko lang na may kakaiba.
Jean Ricamata says
Awareness talaga mommy ung kulang… Nakakasad
monique castillo says
Hello po Mommy Levy, saan po kayaa pwede makakuha ng sched ng seminar regarding sa gantong topic. May son po kasi was diagnosed with Autism. Sobrang hirap. So siguro need din namin magkaroon ng konting knowledge mag asawa regarding sa condition ng anak namin. Although nagreresearch naman kami at nag thetherapy din sya weekly. Salamat po
Mommy Levy says
during our time, nung maliit pa si Ren, may nakikita lang akong poster sa therapy center ni Ren.
Me-an Fadre-Galuza says
Thank you for sharing Mommy Levy.
Having a very supportive and loving parents, for sure Ren will achieve his dreams. And his condition will never affect him to enjoy life..