I have been sharing a lot of experiences in my column about being a parent of an "ausome" kid. After almost twelve years into this extraordinary journey, I look back to that day when we finally accepted his condition up to this present day when we celebrate the small wins our child is making.
Every third week of January, Autism Consciousness Week was observed as mandated by Proclamation No. 711 signed by former President Fidel V. Ramos on January 4, 1996 citing the objective "of the Philippine Government to develop an awareness of the problems of autistic persons and promote a supportive environment among communities to enable autistic persons to live with dignity and enable them to function independently and contribute productively to society."
When we finally got the diagnosis for my son in 2016, I cried and honestly did not know what to do. Of course, we heeded our developmental pediatrician's medical advice of subjecting him to occupational therapy and found the nearest OT center near our residence. The OT sessions lasted for around three months until we ran into a guardian in a public utility jeepney who introduced us to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy through the SMLC Learning Center.
The ABA sessions we did for Lance lasted for around two years and helped him prepare for schooling. Lance is two years behind his proper school age because he should be in Grade 6 this school year. Despite this, we are still thankful for the progress he's been making as reported by his school advisers this school year.
According to his adviser, Lance has shown great improvements in terms of socialization with his classmates and managing his behavior in the classroom. One good thing about my son is that he loves to go to school. As soon as I realized this, I used this as a reinforcement technique to enforce proper behavior such as no laughing, no touching and smelling classmates and teachers, and other odd behaviors he's used to doing.
I also have to thank his advisers and teachers for the past school years for showing genuine love and concern for him and, for being accommodated in a regular section in school. This milestone alone is something that we are so much thankful for.
And so on this year's celebration of the Autism Consciousness Week, I would like to share this heartwarming journey to all my fellow parents of ausome kids and tell them that there is always hope. Just like the sunflower as the accepted symbol of autism being used by autism awareness advocates and support organizations, it represents happiness, positivity, and strength.