The hopeful message of a mother with a child with severe autism

The hopeful message of a mother with a child with severe autism

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Maternity and raising a child with autism is atypical. It is not found in any book or magazine that you can buy in a kiosk on the street. It is not a maternity ward that pediatricians or midwives tell you about. Everything is to be written and told, that's why in we wanted to talk to Vanesa Pérez, mother of Rodrigo, a boy with severe autism, who sends us a hopeful message for other parents who are living the same as her.

Rodrigo's pregnancy developed like any other up to seven months, at which point Vanesa had to rest completely, a circumstance that coincided with a family setback (her father had an aortic aneurysm, was hospitalized for eight months and died) . 'I had the threat of premature delivery due to the impression and I was treated. Finally they caused me to give birth, because the child lost amniotic fluid and there was suffering during it. The truth, It was quite a traumatic delivery for not expecting it and for how it came ... ', explains Vanessa.

But when this woman finally held her firstborn - she couldn't take him to the room because it was blue and I had to be in an incubator for a couple of hours - she had the most wonderful experience of her life. 'I couldn't believe! On the one hand I counted the fingers of the hand, everything was fine! And on the other hand, I was very scared because I still did not know the consequences of childbirth, and I did not know what would come in the following months, 'explains the blog author And you really have three.

They were very complicated months, in which the child had suction problems, had bilateral strabismus and did not see. She was crying all day, she complained and they didn't know why ... until after six months they told us that something was wrong. Vanesa and her husband knew that Rodrigo had cognitive impairment, but autism and epilepsy discovered it later.

For a time, Rodrigo went to an ordinary nursery school in his neighborhood. His parents wanted to see if he socialized and if he somehow kicked off, but he never got to interact with his peers. He was not aware of the existence of other people, beyond his family. For this reason, when he got older, he started special education and there, in his own way, he did begin to interact with other children.

'Rodrigo is dependent 24 hours a day, he does very few things by himself, for example, he can take off his clothes but you can't take off the top. It is true that it requires a lot of care, but at home we let him try it on his own, although sometimes my heart goes out: he helps to prepare breakfast, but you have to finish finishing it yourself; he starts eating by himself, but someone has to finish giving it to him .. Even though he makes the feint at the end, it has to be you. You have to be aware of his needs, because since he does not have oral language, he does everything through gestures or pictograms, but within his affection, he is quite autonomous.

But Rodrigo has a wonderful thing, and it is that he has a very good character. 'He is a boy who is always smiling, he is a very good natured boy, very funny ... This somehow makes all the problems minimize. When you go sleepless nights or have seizures, the fact that you're always smiling afterward makes all of this evaporate. You only see him smile, you don't care about anything else, 'explains his mother.

Rodrigo is the eldest of two brothers, a girl and a boy. With each of them he has a special relationship, although with his sister it is something magical because from a very young age they have shared many things. They are only 16 months old, they slept in the same room, they met in the same nursery school class and their mother put them together in a twin car.

'From the beginning she sensed that he needed her. I think I saw him as a little brother. I remember that when they were eating a cookie or a sandwich, she gave it to him because Rodrigo, who had no motor skills, dropped it, and that is how he has grown. He has a tremendous protective instinct towards him, but protective without paternalism because if she has to scold him, she does it without problems! And it helps him when he sees that he has to be with him, 'adds Vanesa.

With his little brother it is different, they have been four years old and it shows and until now Alejandro, who is now 8 years old, has not been very aware of what was happening at home. For him his reference and his playmate has been his sister, but, according to Vanesa, he is already beginning to ask questions about Rodrigo: if he will ever speak or if he is not going to be cured and he is excited thinking that perhaps in the future they will invent A medicine.

'With me he has a mother's relationship, to which he goes when he falls or when he is sad…. He is giving me kisses all day and he does not respect me at all, he teases me! With my husband it is also a very close relationship, but he is the one who imposes the discipline he needs. '

Vanesa finds it hard to talk about Rodrigo's future, but he does it, because he knows that it is something that is there and that it cannot be avoided, although it is something that destroys him quite emotionally. 'It is very hard to think that he is not evolving as you expect, that the years go by and he still does not speak, that he still does not control the toilet ... There is a moment of calm during early childhood, because he is a baby and you see everything very far. But adolescence is approaching and you see that there are already physical changes and that his behavior is more disruptive, and you cannot stop thinking when he is 21 years old and leaves school. What is going to happen? ', Says this mother of a large family.

And it is that Vanesa is aware that forces sometimes fail her, that it is difficult for him to change his diaper when he does not want to or to lift him when he falls to the ground and does not want to walk. 'It breaks our hearts to think that we have to get to the moment of residence, because Rodrigo is part of our family. In the end he is a child, a child who has to be tucked in at night two or three times because he does not know how to cover himself. I think about the fact that he might be in a dorm, and the fact that he's going to miss us, and I can't. I'm blocking! '

But this feisty woman sees the half-full side of the glass and thinks that perhaps she can alternate a few days at home and other days at the residence or that Rodrigo will take a qualitative leap and begin to communicate or control toilet bowls. And it goes further: sends a hopeful message to parents with a child with autism.

'We do a lot of hindsight work to see how we were before and how we are now, and it's impressive. We would never have imagined having reached the point we are, because of the progress he has made. You have to work, you have to give them stimulation, you have to trust the professionals, you have to trust them ... They will show us that they are capable of doing much more than we imagine, and in this process we are going to do a lot stronger, and we are going to be much more optimistic. You will live unpayable moments that you will truly begin to appreciate, like that moment of kissing him good night or having him smile at you ... '.

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