“More Than a Footnote: Me, My Child, and Autism” By Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

A really insightful lesson from a mother who radiates warmth, truth in her speech and goodness in her character (may God reward her immensely in this world and the next. Ameen):

I never thought I would have a child with autism, a pervasive developmental disorder that affects critical areas of communication, cognition and social skills. Since I never considered this possibility, I paid little attention to issues of development and disability. Therefore, when my son was born, I thought all standard parenting tools would apply. I took classes, read books and faithfully subscribed to the big parenting magazines. I tracked my son’s growth and development in his baby book and diligently took him to the doctor.

However, as he progressed from infancy to toddler-hood something about him seemed different. He was not like my friends’ children who had been born around the same time. They played more ‘appropriately’ with their toys while he just lined them up. They also seemed more engaged with their parents and their environment. Most noticeably, they could talk, whereas my son did not. Well-meaning individuals attempted to reassure me. “Boys talk later than girls,” some told me. Others assumed, “He must not have much to say” or “He’ll talk when he’s ready.” As I would discover later on, my son’s lack of verbal ability was a huge red flag. Yes, child development is not uniform and growth/skills charts establish general parameters within which children can and do deviate greatly in terms of their development. Yet, my son didn’t just deviate from the charts. He was missing a whole set of skills.

Read more here.

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