There comes a time in any person’s life when they would simply and oh so easily give up. I admit that I’ve gone through those times. When that would happen, I wouldn’t have second thoughts throwing all the hard work away to just get the relaxation I need. But like the saying always goes: there’s always a silver lining to every gray rain cloud. In my life, that silver lining is my sister’s hugs.
Hugs are the best gifts anyone can give and receive but my sister’s hugs are the best presents for me and my family. Dyzelle, our family’s little angel, despite being autistic shows the best of her emotions at times when you least expect it from her.
At age 3, my mom was the first to notice that she still had not spoken clear words. The only words she had managed to verbalize clearly were “No” and “Mama”. I also noticed that when she wanted something, she’d simply point at the object or use us as her “tools” to get what she would point at. When hugged or kissed, she’d scream and run away, which at that time we thought were rebellious acts of a three year old who wasn’t given what she had wanted.
Dyzelle at four years old still had not spoken clearly and her temper tantrums were the worst. Unlike other kids that were disciplined easily with “the look”, like me and my brother, it had no effect on my sister and it only made the temper tantrums worse. Dyzelle also had no fear of fast moving vehicles or rabid dogs. She’d simply laugh and try to get closer. She was a daredevil as my dad would say.
I had convinced my mom to take her to a specialist to have her checked out because we weren’t making any progress in controlling her temper tantrums and her daredevil stunts. The thing I dreaded the most had been confirmed when my mom came out of the room crying. Dyzelle was indeed autistic. We were devastated – our hopes of having a normal life had been thrown out the window. Now we had to bring her to a SPED school everyday where utmost attention to her speech development and attitude were to be given. At home, everyone had to adjust with the changes and live with it.
It was a rough time and at those times I was sure to give up hope that there was any cure to my sister’s “disease”. One time I found my mom crying in the bathroom asking God what she had done wrong. Yet, we knew that no one was to blame and that no one had wanted this for my sister.
Dyzelle now five years of age still continues her education and training at a SPED school in the province. Her teachers and her nanny say she has been doing great. She’d no longer have temper tantrums and she’d do as what she’d been told to do. SPED school had indeed helped. Dyzelle, unlike before, now shows willingness to learn. I enjoy teaching her how to pronounce words. We’d all laugh when she would say “ice cream” instead of “igloo” when I showed her the flash card of the letter I with the drawing of an igloo.
While she learns, we too learn from her. We look at the world in a different point of view whenever she’s around. Nowadays, whenever someone cries in the bathroom about to give up on life, Dyzelle would barge in and simply look at you. But she’d surprise you with the best present you’d least expect from her – a hug. She’d laugh and say incoherent words and run out the bathroom leaving you laughing and crying at the same time.
So she’s autistic, who cares? We love her just the way she i. Unlike any other kid I know has the greatest and loving heart. At times when I think of giving up, I go to the bathroom and wait for a little girl to barge in and give me the greatest present I need.
Why exactly am I sharing this? Well, in this society where special children like my sister tend to be “mis-cared” for, people just shrug their shoulders and move on. Thankfully, there are special schools established in certain parts of the Philippines (with people who actually care) where my sister can get the appropriate care and education she needs.
Now, with two app development companies in the Philippines, AppLabs Digital Studios Inc and Kid Apps Inc, who are working on apps for special children, education can be done at home. With positive reviews on Maddie & Matt’s A to Z’s of Good Manners and Values, I so am looking forward to AppLabs and Kid Apps releasing the app set for their “special” audience.
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