My son Mohit has severe autism disorder. He is not like every other kid in his class. He’s different, he’s special. And that makes me a rather abnormal parent.
I had lost hope in humanity until this happened. Until I received that letter.
No, it’s not a romantic story or an emotional drama. Yes I was scared, very scared at a point but it’s all fine now. I used to see my baby with his tiny hands and used to ask God why. What had he done so wrong. Me being his mother, I sympathised with my own son. I still feel bad about it, especially after the eye-opener I received the other day. I found my world in him but because I learnt to be extremely careful around him. The first time he called me Maa gave me much more happiness than it gives to a regular mother.
His firsts usually take much more time than the other kids in his class.
My husband and I have worked hard to get the tiniest of responses from him. But the time I invested in him made me crazy. It made me absolutely mad, I wanted to just hide my kid behind my veil for life.
In order to protect my son from the stares and sympathies, I kept him home for too long. Till of course, I received that birthday invitation that changed the way I think. The way I perceived things.
Mohit loves the colour green. The only colour he can differentiate from the pallet as of now. So taking him to the park is a delight for us. He smiles, he laughs, he talks to friends, he plays, and basically he is just himself in the park. He gets angry if I don’t take him to the park when his friends are there. But I don’t like them talking about him with their parents. In fact I hate it. So for selfish reasons, because of my incapability to face these people, I stopped taking my baby to the park as often as I used to. The only fun part of his day I snatched away from him.
The young kids don’t know what is wrong with my Mohit but as instructed by their mothers they take special care of him. This is where I lost my mind as a parent.
I don’t like it when people talk about him like this, he’s not mad. Mohit doesn’t need special care. He has the right to fall and then rise by himself. My child is not weak. His development is just a little slow as compared to other kids. Doesn’t mean he is not smart. He could tell the time by looking at the clock much before other kids did. He is just choosy and learns what he wants to. What’s the harm in it!
One day while watching him play in the park, I overheard the conversation one of his friends was sharing with his mother.
‘Mumma what is wrong with Mohit?’
‘Mohit doesn’t have a brain. He can’t think, read or write. So play with him so that he doesn’t feel bad. Okay?’, said the mother.
I lost my cool that very minute. My child can very well write and he knows what autism is. His understanding is much better than that lady who was a teacher in a school. My child doesn’t need sympathy. He deserves friends not because he has this problem but because he is genuinely fun to be with. I looked at the mother and I am sure she could tell that I didn’t take her words well. She quickly covered up by saying, ‘Kids won’t know what autism is right?’
‘Kids learn what you teach them. I taught my son what he needed to know and he learnt the truth. I don’t really care about what you want to teach your son but please don’t look at my son with sympathy in your eyes and don’t feel sorry for him, because despite being an autistic child of 9 years, he knows what autism is. Next time Mohit is in the mood to, I will ask him to educate him on this subject’, I replied.
I was very angry that day. I didn’t want to take him to the park the next day but he insisted. I took him but I hated the kids and mothers ever since I realized why Mohit had those friends with him. They would come to my house and I would show them the door by saying something really mean. Every time.
I didn’t want to but I was becoming a crazy woman who was angry all the time.
I never invited any of his friends to our place because I knew they were coming home for the video game and not to spend time with Mohit. I also declined all party invitations that came for him. I just wanted his interaction with these little monsters to be limited to the park. I thought I was doing this for him but I was wrong.
I was being a stupid mother and a horrible person.
But I was tired, I was tired of the sympathy without realizing it all started with me! I was often asked why I didn’t have a second child.
‘Is it because you were scared of having another child like him?’
‘Is it because you are tired of looking after him?’
‘Is it because Mohit takes away all your attention?’
All this was probably true at some places but I had started hating the world. I was going through a lot of psychological stress and I wanted to get better but that wasn’t possible, somehow. I had almost lost hope. But just then, I received a message that completely changed the way I think and gave me hope of a great future for my beautiful kid. The message went like this:
I would like to invite Mohit for my birthday party on the 4th of June. The party starts at 6:00 PM but I would like Mohit to come at 4:00PM because I wanted to play with him. Rest of the boys just come and spoil the fun. We are best friends and we should have that extra time for ourselves. He is my special guest because I love him a lot. He is very good at a lot of games, he plays with technique. I learn from him. His technique and my speed are a great combination. Please send him soon. And please let him stay a little late also. He doesn’t come regularly to the park these days so I miss him.
Arun (Mohit’s Best Friend)
This meant a lot to me, I was pretty sure of who must’ve written the note but this was probably the most special day for my special boy. I read this and I had tears in my eyes. It’s an unexplainable feeling. That day, I took him to the party and congratulated Arun’s mother for raising her kid so beautifully. I just wish everybody had the sense and logic to understand such basic things in life. Kids with disability are kids after all, they are not Mad. Yes, they are different and demand a little more patience, love and care. But that’s because they are special, they deserve special services.
God takes one thing away from them but makes them sharper than the rest of the world in other things. I love my child not because he is autistic, but because he is my baby.
This is a very small instance that I’m sharing but I am sure parents who have kids like Mohit deal with a lot more. There is a lot said about how the society needs to be educated about rape, homosexuality, caste, prostitution, aids, sex but what about issues like these? The society is still illiterate when it comes to disorders. Disorders do not label a person as crazy, your thought process does. You my dear friends addressing my Mohit and his likes as mad are the ones who actually need help. All the best with that!
Feature image: Source
(Images are for representative purpose only)