At the age of 2 my son, Mak could only utter about 3 single words. I was very worried but everyone assured me that they knew this or the other person who had had the same late speech development but had come alright at some point. As he grew older, the problem began to really stand out and it was accompanied by various behavioural problems. We observed that he was very anxious in crowds, and if there were sudden loud noises he would get very agitated. He would scratch the nearest person to him and grind his teeth. Problems aside, he had a very photographic memory and by the age of two he could identify different car models. We consulted several specialists, all of whom gave various opinions.
At the age of 4-and-half years, my son was diagnosed with autism. I have absolutely no words to describe how crushed I was by the diagnosis. After the visit to the doctor who diagnosed him, I had a strong conviction that the doctor had a better career as the hangman who puts nooses around people’s necks. He was very fascinated by our son’s memory and when Mak said anything intelligent, he would exclaim, “See, he is not as stupid as you think he is!” I felt his vocabulary was very callous. For a number of months I was very suicidal, I did not think I was strong enough for the huge responsibility of taking care of an autistic child. My friends and immediate family carried me through that very dark time, even though they did not even know that I was suicidal. When I looked at all the love surrounding me, I felt it would be cruel to kill myself. I obviously meant a lot to them for them to write to me, call and pray for me. And who would look after my precious boy and love him they way I did? Over the past year, I have seen children with more debilitating autism and their parents are going strong. I can do that as well. Now I take it upon myself to educate every willing audience on the condition because not many people are informed about it. And my boy makes me proud every time he learns something new. I have discovered that I am of a lot of use to him when I am strong, not broken.