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My son is autistic, and I wouldn't change it.

by Monika Zalewski 3 months ago in Family
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My own personal conflict.

Adam at about 5 years old

As a woman, I always wanted to be a mom. I did not pick the best husband as a young woman in love with the idea of love and not really the person I was with. After years of becoming who I am now, I can say that whatever my ex-husband and I had, it wasn't the actual feeling. I was in love with the person I wanted him to be and not the human being who beat me daily for his shoes not standing properly or the dinner being served at 6:01 pm and not at 6 pm. I was in love with the moments he brought me flowers and apologized for the beating he had just given me. I had daddy's issues and chose a man who resembled my dad, an abuser. My father was a great and caring person, but he did not realize how mentally and physically he affected me. I had to be the best everywhere and got beat up for Bs at school. It's' one of the main reasons I left Poland as an au-pair to study abroad. But that's another story. II could write a book about it.

Well, I survived it all.

My son, an unexpected miracle in my life, saved me and gave me the strength to run away and fight back. I can understand the women who get trapped in marriage like this. I know how it feels to be treated worse than an animal and how scared one can be to walk away. When I got pregnant, I prayed my then-husband's next hit would kill me, but God, Universe, whatever you believe in, gave me an unexpected chance, and I took it.

I became Adam's mom in March 2012. I worked hard and raised him on my own. In December 2013, my son was diagnosed with autism after I started asking doctors about his quirky behavior. I wasn't happy with the diagnosis as no parent wants to hear that their child has a disability. It was the most significant conflict between my mind and reality that I had to battle.

I agreed to put him in therapy right away as therapy did not hurt anyone before and would help me teach my son more. But it took me time and learning about autism to come to the realization that the doctors are right. I even had him retested by a panel of doctors in a children's hospital in Detroit to ensure the first test was accurate. Why, first because I wanted a healthy and normal child just like any regular parent, second because I was present during the first test and saw that they expected a 20-month-old to pretend to wash a baby doll, and he never played with dolls and didn't know what to do with it.

I love my son, and to this day, I am a strong and overprotective advocate for him.

It was a challenge to learn and accept that he has a disability, which we will have to struggle with forever, especially since I am raising him on my own.

The first year after diagnosis was the hardest.

I had to deal with doctors, therapists, mental health workers, and my own family, who blamed me for getting involved with my ex-husband and saw him as the reason for Adam's health. Yes, my ex-husband used drugs after surviving colon cancer. When I got pregnant, he was overusing prescription opioids and marijuana.

Still, I do not know what caused the autism and can only speculate if it was my ex's drug use or something else. I spread the vaccines one at a time as I believe that a cocktail of 7-8 vaccines they give newborns is too much for some to handle. We adults can react to one flu vaccine, and what would happen if we got 7 or 8 at once. It's a parent's choice, after all. Vaccines do not cause autism but might strain the nervous system. That's why I chose to spread it. He still had seizures after the DTaP vaccine at two months old. Then he had roseola with 104.7 fever and febrile seizures after the birthday party we attended. He was 16 months old, and it all started after that. He stopped eating and began making noises that weren't normal for a regular child his age. First, on Thanksgiving, he chewed on turkey and broccoli with his four teeth, and second Thanksgiving, I had to struggle to make him eat anything. At last, when he was 5, his teacher mentioned Panda's syndrome. He fit the signs to the last one and was diagnosed by a specialist at 6.

He took antibiotics for six months, but it did not help with fighting the strain of bacteria that attacked his brain because, for years, the damage had already been done. The treatment, though, helped with improving his cognitive functioning.

He is ten now. He is homeschooled as there is no program in my area that fits his needs. He is behind. I fought hard with school systems to put him in regular grade with an aid that his insurance would provide when it was time for him to go to kindergarten and first grade, but no school agreed. He was placed in special education not to disturb other kids, but no one gave him attention and a chance to learn. At some point, I had the school call cps on me because I aggressively quarreled that they were harming my son's future. At the end and five schools later, we must catch up from kindergarten level that we just finished in 6 months to 5th grade. And Adam will do it! He is capable of it. That makes me wonder how many other kids are treated the same way and have the chances for a better future taken away!

Now years after finding peace with being an autistic mom, I wouldn't change anything. My son is my miracle baby and the best gift I have ever received! He is lovely and unique and capable of great things. But he still needs to find his thing. He loves music and animals. He will cry if you kill a fly "because the fly has eyes and mouth and feels pain too." He has an older soul and is a huge fan of old rock and roll, Elvis Presley, thanks to grandma, and country music. I have to say I can not wait to see what he becomes! I just know I'll always be here for him.

Family

About the author

Monika Zalewski

I am a writer, copywriter, creator, and photographer. I was born and raised in Poland and spent most of my adulthood in the United States of America. I am also a mother to a 10-year-old autistic boy. Writing is my passion.

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