When every little step is a miracle

20130416134625999“I just want to hear him call me daddy,” he said quietly.

My heart melted. The words came out from a father of a 6-year-old boy who had autism. I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of an educational video on autism and meet several wonderful autistic children and their parents.

The forementioned father is one of the parents interviewed in the video. At the event the father was asked how the son was doing. “He can say dada, but not daddy yet,” he answered.

Another parent, a mother this time, said that when she was very tired one day, her son approached her and made her a glass of hot tea. “It was the most delicious sweet hot tea I have ever tasted,” she said.

Someone calling us by our name, bringing us a cup of tea, taking one small step forward, managing to match an apple with another apple, writing the letter “A”, hugging us. Nothing special, we might think. Hence we take them for granted. But not these parents.

Artist at workTo these parents, those so called mundane occurrence are miraculous and worth celebrating for. Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restrictive and repetitive behavior.

Autistic children need extra trainings to overcome these challenges, with the help of their surroundings, especially their parents. To every children — special needs or not — parents are key to their future.

These parents themselves are miracle workers. You would know if you have the honor to have a glimpse of what they do to care for their children. The recent video launch event showed just how amazingly hard they try and how far they can take their children.

Various artworks, origami, paintings, patchwork, and cupcakes — all made by the autistic children — showcased in the event is evidence of this. The children performed in a band and playing Top 40 songs enthusiastically.

They are so talented and unique. It is no less than the education and abundance love and relentless efforts from the parents that have made it possible for them to realize these potentials.

kiss meYou see these children and you notice something so special in them: They are so pure and beautiful. You cannot help but being in awe and cheering feverishly for them.

I went home feeling uplifted with a huge smile on my face.

I was reminded how every little step, every small progress, is truly a miracle. The different is that we take these things for granted, while the autistic children’s parents don’t. They have strong daily reminders how nothing is mundane. They know well how miraculous it is. Life is. Yours and mine too.

I was introduced to human beings who are so pure and so kind, who cannot be any other way but be themselves. I was reminded of honesty and acceptance; no, more than acceptance, I was reminded of embracing and seeing a being (myself included) as they are.

April is World Autism Awareness month. Let’s be kinder and recognize the magic that those children present to us.

Let’s respect and accept them as the miracle that they are.

And I ask you, please, let’s stop saying things such as “he is so autistic when he works” to refer to people who are simply focusing on their work so much that they are oblivious to their surrounding.

Click here if you want to see the trailer of the first video on home therapy for autistic children.

Cupcakes

First published at The Jakarta Globe’s blog with a slightly different title.

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