Here’s an inspiring story from a mum who chose to live elsewhere other than India to make choices that could help her second son who is on the autism spectrum.
Jaya Pandey is someone who loves to blog and stay connected to her roots in India. She shares on various interests, raising two children one who is Nuero Typical and the other whom she believes is not inferior than others in any way.
She has a blog so personal on her younger son on the journey – MomlovesAnand at http://momlovesanand.blogspot.com. Every mail she signs ends with a note as an identity to herself as Anand’s Mom.
Sharing her journey, Jaya says, “Anand is my second kid, his brother Ajey is 3 yrs older and was a late speaker, so when Anand didn’t speak much I wasn’t surprised or worried.
We moved to a new town and when he went to a preschool. His teacher was worried about him not being social enough- he was three and half by then. He was speaking when needed and very active physically and was reaching all age appropriate milestone.
He was four when we got the “speech and language delayed diagnosis”
He went to kindergarten at the age of 5, he could read and with excellent memory he could repeat everything. It was second grade when we got him reevaluated and got the “PDD-NOS” as diagnosis.
I went to India in 2012 and struggled to explain his behavior and diagnosis to family and friends. There I realized that his own family doesn’t know him. And the blog was born.
This blog not only helped my family and friends but many people who have kids with special needs. We all go through the same emotions and struggles and want the same thing for our kids. I heard from so many parents, specially moms that I wrote about them, and helped them see through the difficult time, they felt connected and felt they are not alone.
I get emails/phone calls/messages often about many things. I think my blog helped many people to come forward and talk about their life.
We live in one of the best places in the world. The school system and over all awareness on special education for sure is a major reason. I don’t deny that leaving family behind in
India and moving to United States was one of the most difficult decision we made but it’s all good now when I think what is best for Anand.
Few things I wish I knew – I tell parents- anger, frustration, sadness, denial it’s all normal, you should feel that way. But please know you are not alone, It’s not your fault and the world is still a better place even it is not fair sometimes.
Educate yourself, ask for help, be kind to other parents, and believe in your child. Read whatever you can, attend workshops, seminars and learn. Volunteer in school or
hospital, join a support group and be a support to other parents. And yes, accept the diagnosis.
Denial will not help in any form. Be kind to teachers and caregivers. Most importantly take care of yourself.
I do miss everything about India, the family, friends, food, chaos and crowd. But as my mother says I build my own mini India wherever I live. I wear saree often even in snowy cold North eastern winter.
It makes me feel connected to my roots. When I heard about #100SareePact I couldn’t resist. It was Autism awareness Day April 2nd when I wore blue saree and wrote a saree story about ‘Autism and our journey’.
The whole April month I did the same and rest is history. Many saree sisters joined me and wore blue for Autism Awareness and acceptance. Since then April 2nd became the Blue day among #100SareePact-ers.
Ajey is 20 and is in third year of college. He is in school for Electrical engineering and Philosophy and Anand, our younger one turned 17 this July.
Seeing my kids grow every day is a joy I cannot comprehend in words. Seeing them walk, talk, taking the first bike ride to driving everything reminds how lucky I am.
Anand made me look at the world very differently. I am more compassionate, optimistic and thankful because of him. He sure made me a better person. I am so proud to see my boys everyday how wonderful human being they are.”
Talking on her childhood, Jaya shares with Mums and Stories, “I grew up in Balaghat, a town In MP. I did my Masters in Chemistry and taught in a high school before I married my best friend from high school. We lived in Pune for some time before moving to Singapore then finally to Boston in USA.
I grew up with 3 more sisters in a very moderate middle class family. My mother was a teacher and dad worked in government. My parents are my biggest cheerleaders and sisters are the biggest supporter I could ask for.
Today I volunteer with various organizations, help parents with my experience, guide them to proper resources and speak about my own journey.”