Name: Kripa Shrestha Child’s
Name: Biraj Shrestha
Age: 17 years
1. When did you find out that your child is with autism?
When Biraj was 18 months old, he started walking. This proves that his development was prolonged. But at that time I had no proper knowledge about a child’s developmental milestones. Although he was 2.6 years, he couldn’t speak properly. But whenever we used to ask him certain questions like, where is the bulb, he used to point it with his fingers, and while climbing the stairs we used to count 1..2.. and he used to say 3. This made us believe that he will be able to speak properly in the future. Also our family said boys tend to speak late.
My mom and dad also said, “Neither of us (husband and wife) speak much and we live in a single family so that may be why the child does not talk.” Later on, they also mentioned that when they used to call Biraj by name, he didn’t respond. Due to this, they thought that he became deaf. However, when he was a small child, I played his favorite songs in a low tone and he listened to them a lot, so I was 100% confident that my child is not deaf.
We put him in the Day Care Center hoping that he could get along with other kids. But he used to sit alone there also and there was no improvement in his speaking ability.
Time passed by and when he was 3 years old, my sister-in-law informed me that a Speech Therapist from Delhi had come to Kathmandu. We took him to visit the doctor hoping that the doctor could help him to speak properly. But based on my child’s behavior, the doctor doubted that he might have autism. My husband and I have heard that word for the first time. After arriving home, we searched on the internet and the activities that my child did were matching the symptoms of Autism.
2. What made you think that your child was autistic?
We haven’t heard about the word “Autism” so it was beyond our thoughts that Biraj was having Autism. We searched for that word when we heard it from the Speech Therapist. We found that the activities that my child does were matching the symptoms of Autism. Symptoms like using an unusual tone of voice when talking or babbling, not getting along with other children, having trouble making eye contact, and listening to the same music repeatedly.
3. Where did you take your child for diagnosis?
We took him to various doctors in Nepal but they also had no proper information/knowledge regarding Autism. They only doubted that he might have Autism. But for diagnosis, we took him to Action for Autism, Delhi. At the age of 3, we finally diagnosed Biraj had Autism. We also took 3 months of autism parent training there before coming to Nepal.
4. How did you feel when you knew that your child is with Autism?
It still gives me goosebumps all over my body when I think about that day. After that day, I used to feel like I lost my child. I used to have a feeling that someone’s else’s child was kept in front of me.
5. How is your child doing in the present condition?
My 3 months of parent training helped me understand his autism. And then whatever I teach him, he always tries to understand and learn. It was never easy growing up, as there were always new challenges to overcome. Currently, he is 17 years of age. Having the ability to say whatever he needs, is his strength.
Kids with autism in the teenage stage are difficult to handle. Biraj is also in the same phase so it is sometimes difficult to handle him. But knowing the fact that what actions can I take to help him during such behavior has helped me as well as him to handle the situation.
There is a long journey of Autism. There can be ups and downs in this journey. But every parent needs to learn to be able to handle the situation properly. We cannot remove his Autism but along with Autism, we can teach him our culture and make him feel his life is meaningful and make our life easy.