A real-life look into autism

2016-03-30 06:00
Brady says: “I am not naughty, I have autism.”

Brady says: “I am not naughty, I have autism.”

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AT six years old Brady Luke Pillay is fighting the stigma of autism by defining his own success through all his achievements - big and small.

Brady was born at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito at 36 weeks into his mother’s pregnancy.

Brady was delivered after his mother under went an emergency caesarean section because doctors noticed he had a high heart rate when monitored at the hospital.

THROUGH HIS MOTHER’S WORDS - Abidah Pillay:

I first noticed that something was different about Brady because he never looked at anyone. He would only look up with no eye contact.

He didn’t meet the conventional walking and talking milestones like other children his age and never used language to communicate.

He ran about aimlessly and became obsessed with his toy cars, lining them up and playing only with his toy cars the entire day.

He didn’t want to go to new places or meet new people in the first two years of his life. I was told he would come around, but as a mother I knew something was amiss.

I took him from doctor to doctor, paediatrician to paediatrician, he had scans and tests done but nothing showed up. We had no answers, only more questions.

At just under age two Brady was referred to Dr Anthony Clucheny at St Augustine’s Hospital, a paediatric neurologist who diagnosed him with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Development Disorder) also called atypical autism.

Finally there was an answer, a reason, but also a label and a darkness and sorrow.

The thought that went through my mind was I need a second opinion and there was one and a third and forth all with the same conclusion, Brady had autism.

I knew help was needed, but for who - Brady or myself?

When I got that answer my child began to progress. For the first two years after the diagnosis my teaching him and taking him for therapy was not to help him, but change him.

My realisation was I shouldn’t change my child with autism to suit me or people, I should change my views, my vision and my mindset so I can see the world through his eyes - his difficulties, his progress and through his achievements.

When that realisation set in, then only did the doors to his progress and happiness open.

Brady is now six years old and he can speak two languages - English and Zulu.

He hugs, kisses and smiles and he now orders his siblings and family to look at him when he is talking to them.

These are not autistic behaviours, it is his achievement.

He now has developed great imaginative, communication and social skills and he is also doing well at school.

He has a wonderful relationship with his big brother and little sister and is still determined to gain success looking past his difficulties.

This is a child who was told he would be non-verbal, anti-social, dependant and difficult, yet he has blossomed into a precious, inspiring light for all autistic children.

Yes, Brady does face his difficulties, but with love and support from his parents and close family he is determined to find his way through life.

MESSAGE FOR ALL PARENTS:

As a parent, it is the most difficult news to hear that your child has autism or any other challenges, but with faith and perseverance and more especially love, we can get them through anything.

Autistic children don’t only need their family behind them they also need every member in society to understand and motivate them through their difficulties.

As a community let’s work together to give all our kids with difficulties and challenges the motivation and support in order for them to achieve their success and goals in life.

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