My Tryst with Autism
– Bibhuti Ray
Grandparent of a child with Autism
I had earlier seen autistic children who are always seen with their parents or
closely related people.
I was quite apprehensive about their future life. How these children would be
able to conduct themselves after becoming adults. Their parents shall be not
with them always. Siblings may not accept their responsibility. Our society is
cruel and apathetic and full of predators waiting to prey on innocents. My
mind painted a grim picture whenever I came across such a child. I often
became morose and thoughtful after seeing an autistic child.
Unfortunately, this matter did not end at a distance. It came closer. It entered
my family with full gusty steps.
My eldest daughter, who is a Homeopathic Doctor, got married at the age of
twenty-one. She was lively, hale and hearty to the core. The boy she got
married to is also healthy and hearty, engaged in his own business. At the age
of twenty-three, precisely two years after her marriage, my daughter
conceived and gave birth to a baby girl in a city nursing home. All of us,
including her father and mother-in-law became ecstatic. We all had a huge
celebration welcoming the new member. But it was short lived.
After the baby neared six months of age she got affected by fits. First it was
once in several days and later on several times in a day. She would have a
closed fist and her full body would be stiff for few moments. The young
parents ran from hospital to hospital, doctor to doctor, but all prescriptions by
pediatricians were in vain. Many astrologers were consulted, as well as various
hermits and monks. Everyone sounded a hope which turned out to be fiasco.
In the meanwhile, the baby started walking. Everyone became alert , lest she
would fall and break her limbs including head injury. Someone advised my
daughter to visit a famous pediatric Neuro Hospital at Thiruvananthapuram. I
accompanied her in the sojourn. By that time the child was around three
years old. Fortunately, with the kind help of good doctors there, an operation
in the brain was carried out and the fit was stopped completely. But the girl
could not talk, express, feel behave like a normal child. She started looking at
her shadow, could not talk, and was unable to grasp indications from others.
Even after that we visited, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad hospitals now and
then. But it hardly yielded any result.
Now the child is 10 years old, attends schools meant for those physically
disabled, but any noticeable development is yet to be visible. We as parents
very much apprehensive about her future.