“Our son was 3 years old when we found out he has autism. We kept waiting for him to speak but he just wouldn’t. We got a lot of tests done at the hospital but he seemed completely fine. It was only after all other possibilities were crossed out and he still showed a delayed speech development that the doctors said it was autism. There was no medication or treatment. We would just need to guess if he wanted to eat or drink or go to the bathroom. He’s 6 now and still cannot speak. We have been sending him to Ability Bhutan Society and he’s learnt to go to the bathroom by himself and eat on his own. He wouldn’t play with anyone before but now he has a few exchanges with his teachers. He also asks for playthings without being hesitant. But communication is still a challenge. He pulls me or one of his three siblings into the kitchen when he needs something. He shows us a cup if he wants water. It is an everyday challenge. He cannot make friends because the other kids can’t understand him. And he doesn’t understand danger. He isn’t scared of cars or stray dogs and will jump right into anything. That’s why we mostly keep him home.

It’s disheartening to think that others can’t understand this child that’s so precious to me. Our relatives treat him well though. I take him with me when we go to birthday parties and dinners because I want him to get some exposure. We wonder if he’ll ever start speaking. Some kids with autism do develop some speech abilities with time. Hopefully with more time with ABS, he’ll go to school someday. It can be challenging to be a parent to a child with autism. It hurts to see one’s child through everyday struggles that you can’t help with. But I believe that they make us stronger. My son teaches me that my resilience will keep him safe and healthy. I know I can’t do much but I try my best to not lose heart, take care of him and be brave for him.”

On World Autism Awareness Day 2021, Humans of Thimphu celebrates the parents of children with autism for their resilience and love. Autism is characterized by many different types of developmental challenges. While equal interactions for people with autism is a challenge, we pray for a more aware society.

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