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Updated: Jul 7, 2021

When he was around 29 months old, we began to notice my son, Soham, mesmerized with numbers and letters. At the park, he was scared of so many sounds,games and repeatedly arranging toys, bottles and vehicles in a sequence. Suddenly he stopped talking and responding while calling out his name. We thought it was quirky … amusing, even.

There were other signs, of course. Individually, these signs meant very little, but when we added them together, there were bigger implications.

I remember the day I started to put it all together. As I Googled, my fears morphed into potential reality and the tears began to fall.

Soham was diagnosed with autism at IHS, Bhubaneswar (Indian Institute of Health and Science) and I was devastated. But after few days, this devastation I felt so far was replaced by bravery with an artificial smile on my face which generate positivity in my surrounding and help me in taking further crucial steps towards Soham.

I was told not to put any limits on what my little boy could do and I am glad I followed that advice. I worked hard as days passed by.

Soham was diagnosed as Asperger in NIMHANS, Bangalore. It took me years now to work harder each day to help his challenges. Thanks to the wonderful persons in his life till now including family, friends, therapists and teachers (from Bangalore to Bhubaneswar) who help and motivate Soham on his way till now. My special thanks to KIIT International School, Bhubaneswar who gave him the opportunity to study in a healthy and positive environment by assisting special educators and encourage him to involve in different activities, Yoga, games and therapy sessions (Occupational and Speech). The love and care from all teachers and staffs are commendable. Undoubtedly Soham is an extraordinary child but lacks in so many areas. He is improving slowly because the teachers around him don’t GIVE UP on Him.

Autism is a spectrum, but the love of parents for a child with autism is not a spectrum. The trajectory of all of our children's lives has to be their own. That journey may look extraordinary. It may look ordinary. That journey may look strange or sad to others. But whatever form it takes, the potential to do great things is not something that can be measured by anyone.

My ultimate hope is that one day Soham will live in a world where he will be accepted and appreciated, despite all his differences. As long as I am here as a mother, I will try to surround him with people who love and accept him as he navigates this world, because autism never takes a day off like a mother.”

We Salute Mrs Sailabala Lenka to share her beautiful story with us.

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