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Autistic Rembrandts - 1

Hearing your child say “Mommy!” or “Daddy!” for the first time is one of the sweetest and most special moments that a parent waits and wishes for and let me just say—that we parents truly deserve to be recognized and acknowledged by our children for all the sacrifices we make. We have toiled since our precious child’s birth, enduring painful nipple latches, bites, sleepless nights, endless laundry, tantrums, and meltdowns! We have played night and day nurse for the fevers that wouldn’t budge and seemed resistant to even the almighty Calpol paracetamol, while everyone else slept. We have held back our itchy palms from spanking that cute naughty bum thousands of times over. 
On the other hand, I sometimes wonder why we parents long to hear the sound of that acknowledgement so bad, because if we want to be honest, even without hearing "Mummy" or "Daddy" from our children, right from when our babies give us their first social smile, we know deep down that they love us, …

Practical tips for parents suspecting an Autism Diagnosis

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Finding out my little Bry, my first-born, had Autism was heartbreaking. I had suspected he was on the spectrum since he was about a year old, but I was hoping all the scary signs I watched him exhibit would go away. He wasn’t pointing or clapping, he was minimally verbal, he loved to play with tires of toy cars, and he flapped his hands when excited. I stayed up late at night browsing autism websites, obsessing over the signs of autism, language delay and genius children with strange behavior, hoping that he was the latter two. Sometimes, I was convinced that Brian had Autism only to relent seconds later and tell myself that he was just a very smart child with language delay. This was the bittersweet torture I put myself through day and night for almost a year after my initial suspicion. Finally, I decide to seek a professional diagnosis. I live in Nigeria and our health system is not equipped to provide international standard developmental assessment or intellectual disability support…

Please, don't say the "A" word.....Autistic

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My son was almost two before I started seriously seeking answers. I guess fear of the "impending" kept me from taking the necessary actions earlier. He didn't have any words to communicate his needs yet, so we bathed, fed and put him to sleep on a schedule. He knew his ABC's and 1,2,3's till 100 and had started to spell 2-3 letter words using plastic alphabet letters we got him for Christmas. It was new-year’s eve and we had just arrived at our church for the "watch night/cross over service" which would take us into the New Year. My mood was melancholic; I had a lot on my mind, concerning my son and my marriage.  Getting out of the car, my husband carried my son and we started walking to the church entrance, which was just a few blocks away. My son looks up at the sky and sees the moon, it’s the end on the month, so the moon is huge and clear with an almost yellowish tinge. He stares at it for a bit, then points up and says, "moon".  You can&#…

An unexpected surprise for mama...

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I am Matilda Kerry, a medical doctor, wife, mother, and founder of the George Kerry Life Foundation - a charity that advocates for women's health rights. I live and work in Lagos, Nigeria and I have a son on the Autism spectrum.  Hmmm... I still feel weird saying this.  Yes, and I still feel a nudge of fear whenever I say or write the word Autistic in reference to my son, but that's ok because this fear is not of the condition -Autism, rather it comes from acknowledging and accepting the condition my son is dealing with, the fear stems from knowing that we (my son and me) are in for the fight of our lives! Fighting to gain skills, fighting to build relationships, fighting to overcome stigma.  I'm optimistic though because each time I say "my son is on the Autism spectrum..." I feel more empowered than fearful, the weirdness and fear are a little bit less each time and I know one day it will be completely gone, when I would have come full circle. 

Let's rewind …