I realized that something was different with my son when he was around 10 months old, but I wasn’t sure especially with Covid and the lockdown. There wasn’t any interaction with the outside world, so we just kept on going until he was around 2 years old. Things started to progress, and it was getting more clear that something was wrong. I had friends telling me I should get a professional opinion. He wasn’t making eye contact with anyone, not speaking, and shouting all the time. I asked my family doctor to refer me to a paediatrician and that is when our journey started with autism.
At that time, just being a newcomer and adjusting to a new life with no family in a new country was very hard on its own. Then Covid hit us, and we found out we have a kid on the spectrum. It was overwhelming. We didn’t really understand what it was. When I brought my kids to this country, I wanted them to live a safe life free of labels. Now I was facing the label “autism.”
My partner refused to seek help. He didn’t want anyone to know. My extended family was also concerned that other relatives might find out. Keep in mind, in our culture we are not open to therapy. The belief is that only crazy people need it, no one else. Explaining what autism was took a toll on all of us. In addition to the grief of finding out that he’s autistic, that was the hardest thing I went through.
My Meets. My Safe Haven.
The struggle I had to go through in order to start this journey was so overwhelming. I started to seek an autism diagnosis for my son so he could get the help he needs. As if that wasn’t hard enough, I was told I would have to wait for two years to get diagnosed through governmental channels. The process was a nightmare.
I started searching for how to proceed, what I could do, and how I could help him until the assessment. I was going from one website to another until I found AutismBC. That’s when I started to breathe, at last. I found all the answers in one place. And not only that, I found a safe haven where people related to my struggles. Where I wasn’t kept on a waiting list or given a generic answer.
Going through all that, I always tried to find the positive in things. I was blessed that I know how to speak and read English. Otherwise, how would I proceed? It made me feel for the people who are facing this without that ability, and how hard must it be for them.
My Meets. My Hand to Hold.
Being able to help a person is being able to feel and understand their pain. It is taking their hand and moving forward with them. When most doors were closed, and I was being placed on the waiting list after waiting list, AutismBC was with me on this journey.
In my case, Lisa has been with me whether with advice, resources or just to listen. She witnessed me when I was most vulnerable and when I froze completely (apparently it happens to many people) she gave me her time, she listened, she acted on my behalf, and she set appointments for people to help me with what I needed. Even though she was miles away, she was closer to me than most of the people I know.
One of the great services she introduced me to was AutismBC Meets. I was meeting every Tuesday with a bunch of strangers via zoom, but I felt so close and connected to these people, more than I can possibly explain. Just hearing them, their struggles, what they did to face them, and what their mistakes were, was life-changing for me. No one in this world likes to show their weaknesses, but in this place of support being able to share freely with no fear of being judged was a safe haven for us. The amount of compassion and the eager rush of people trying to help one another brings tears to my eyes every time I’m on that call. It makes me feel safer and stronger that other people have done this so I can do it too. It will be okay no matter what, as long as we are safe and trying to move forward.
My Meets. My Story.
Sharing my story is difficult for me, but I told myself if my story can help others, even if only one person, I should do it. Donating is a part of my religion, whether it’s with money, time, work, or a good deed, but it’s also a part of human life.
By donating to AutismBC Meets, you’re actually helping a whole family, not just the person who attends the group. In return, you’re helping a community because what is a community but just lots of families coming together? In the end, we can all rise together by building a stronger, healthier community for us, our kids, and generations to come.
Everyone needs a place to Meet.
Everyone needs a place where they feel safe to open up and share their challenges and triumphs.
A place to connect with a community of people who understand and can offer advice.
A place to listen, learn, and laugh. AutismBC Meets support group provides opportunities for people in the autism community to connect, empower, and learn from one another. We believe in the power of community to uplift each other through all of life’s ups and downs.
Help autistic people and their families find a safe, judgement-free environment to be themselves. Donate now at autismbc.ca/donate