Changemakersaathi- March : Viji Rajmohan
It has been an incredible journey. Parenting an autistic is a mixed bag with its highs and lows. Never a dull moment. Some memories shall remain etched in my mind forever. We were in the United States at the time of Ramam’s diagnosis. On my request, a parent, who is also a pediatrician, observed him in a playgroup. She called me and asked, “Have you heard about Autism?” Therein, began our journey. He was later officially diagnosed at UCSF. As he sat buckled in his car seat, on our drive back home, the evening sun’s rays hitting 18-month-old Ramam’s face gently. Both of us, husband and wife, immersed in our thoughts of “What next?” We, now realise this question shall continue to raise its head with regular periodicity. – Change being the only constant in this journey.
When we got back to India; we were pulled in different directions. All good intentioned advice. But, in the end; two involved parents deciding for their child appeared to be a more rational approach. As parents; you know your child the best.
Most of us here are on a similar journey, trying to find the right resources, professionals, caregivers and the training required for our children. Building a community around our child enables them to lead a life with dignity and self-respect. This is a huge responsibility on the parents. As a parent, this is probably what we call “worry” and trying to do the right things by our child. – A responsibility to ensure they have a smooth transition for a life after us is as important as just getting them skill-trained.
Micro goals, achieved consistently, lead to macro results. Parents’ clarity of thought can lead to clear paths and consolidated actions that can improve a child’s life. – Nothing in this journey can beat consistency and persistence.
We’ve met wonderful strangers who have gone above and beyond to assist us. At some point, I felt It is important to give back to the community and it was with this in mind I started my blog, https://care4autism.blogspot.com/ What began as a service to the community has been a huge learning experience that has made me wiser. I am humbled by all the stories and perspectives I listen to. Through my interview, it’s been my fortune to meet people who share the same passion. – Autistic families can teach us so much more about life; grit, sacrifice, patience, and unflinching faith and hope in their children.
Where does my son himself fit into this journey? Everything revolves around him. He is at the epicentre of everything happening in our lives, be it a change of residence, a job, relationships. Knowing much more than he lets you know, he puts in more than his share, trying to fit in, doing his best with his constraints.
In the course of this journey, I have realised a few things. You are aligned with your priorities when times are tough. All the fluff falls on the wayside. It gives you deep focus. The journey has taught us to embrace differences more easily. Our son has definitely made me a better human being. We are truly blessed by his love.
Long back, I remember writing about Ramam for a magazine, “My Little Teacher.” That little teacher is a 22 yr old young man now. With time, the trust and bond we share with our children only grow stronger.
“Having a child who is struggling doesn’t make you a bad parent, just as being a child who is struggling doesn’t make your child a bad kid.’-Ann Douglas
Author Viji Rajamohan
A parent and a blogger. Love travelling and reading.
Educational background: B.pharm, MBA ( Marketing)
Creative representation for the ChangemakerSaathi story “Reflections ” has been done by our CreativeSaathi associate Ansh Batra.