It was after our son’s second birthday and I realised that he wasn’t speaking… at his 2 and a half year review the health visitor noticed a few things that I didn’t think even anything of, for example when he was given a toy, he would place it near his mouth and he was also tiptoeing.
After being referred to a paediatrician and several observational tests later, we were invited to an Autism clinic. Me and my husband were very anxious and in shock as we did not suspect anything of the sort. We just thought our son was having speech delay as everything else he seemed to be doing normally like any other child.
For several hours, our son was given different types of exercises whilst being observed. It was nerve wracking to watch but I felt he seemed to be doing well and engaging with the paediatrician. At the end of the appointment they finally gave him a diagnosis of Autism, mainly characterised by his lack of eye contact, not responding to his name, repetitive play and not speaking at all. It all came as a whirlwind. We were still trying to get our heads around what Autism was, next thing we know our son had been diagnosed with a life long neurological condition which would affect him for the rest of his life. Leaving the clinic, we were in denial, we were adamant that the doctors got it wrong, that we knew our child best and that he was ‘normal’ and not ‘autistic’.
A couple of months went by we were still in denial. We met with a post diagnosis support worker who explained what autism was, stating that some parts of an Autistic persons brain isn’t connected to their social communication side, which can hinder language and communication. We couldn’t bring ourselves to even tell anyone. The fear of not knowing how he would develop was very upsetting. During this period of time we were really struggling. Every day I made dua to Allah SWT to help my son overcome his difficulties and communicate. The latter was the biggest worry for me. Seeing other children speaking normally, I sometimes felt ‘if only people knew how much they take these simple things for granted, what I would give for my son to even just utter a word’. I recited the following verse daily after each prayer. My son would often laugh hearing this verse from the Quran.
“My Lord, expand for me my breast (with assurance). And ease for me my task. And untie the knot from my tongue. That they may understand my speech”Surah Taha (25-28)
After some time we spoke to our family and told them. Autism was relatively new to me, but a close friend who was a speech and language therapist was a real support to me and helped me come to terms with the diagnosis. My mother and sister were really supportive and kept me positive, helping me to see that his early diagnosis meant he could receive early intervention and support.
Becoming a mother has been the most fulfilling role I have undertaken in my life, alhamdulillah and all thanks is to Allah SWT for blessing me with such an amazing special child. After having my son, I felt like my life was complete and made sense. He has given me such a deep sense of belonging and purpose. But I completely understand, it can be a very tough and challenging time for parents who are going through an autism or other special need diagnosis process. The stress of waiting to find out can be difficult. Taking each day as it comes and having a positive outlook can help. Speaking to those close to you or people going through something similar can be a comfort. Find your child’s strengths and work towards this to help them achieve the best out of life and progress. Never give up hope and always have faith in Allah SWT, as ultimately there is nothing else that can get you through the struggles you will face.
Written by Sister S. Wadud
Part 2 of 3 Coming Soon…
‘My Son, Autism and Me – No Piece of Cake’