Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We brought home a 'Hero'

I have learnt ( or more precisely been taught by Harish)  that 'to believe that it is possible' is the key to achieving success in handling Autism. Learning to ride a bicycle is not an easy task for any kid, let alone someone with Autism. Harish first got his tricycle when he was, I think around 3 years. Getting him used to sit on it was the first target. It was his mom who felt we should attempt this feat. I was not sure if I had it in me to brave the world outside with his tantrums and screming. I was not yet a trained 'Autistic Parent' by then !! So the starting was executed by his mom who would pull him as he sat and enjoyed being dragged. His legs had to move in a circular fashion as the wheels rolled and that was a good exercise too. It was very hard to teach him to paddle. He would put equal pressure on both his feet and hence the cycle would never move. It needed a bid of physical work and I stepped in and focussed on Harish, the cycle and the road. It did not matter who looked and who said what. I was being trained to lead life in my terms. Harish had become a tutor in many ways. 
It took lot of running along with him in a crouched position and pushing his knee down on the paddle as his left foot rose along with the paddle. One day it just happened. He got it, and I remember as he paddled endlessly at full speed as his little tricycle sped along the road. There was a big smile on the faces of the evening bystanders who otherwise watched this show of tussle between us daily with skepticism. The biggest smile however was that of Harish. Unlike all the other kids who would have run to tell their mothers and show off to their friends, here I found myself running up to tell my better half about it. After all I was his voice, and he gave a proud look as we hugged him with tears in our eyes. 
       He graduated to a bigger tricycle ( a bicycle with support wheels) when he was around 5. He enjoyed cycling. An adult always accompanied him and ran along side within the safe areas of the housing complex. Taking off those support wheels was the next big day. Surprisingly he was very confident and enjoyed the unhidered drive. Though, his speed increased and keeping pace with him was becoming difficult. The short height of the cycle helped him brake
 with his legs and also gave him confidence.
Yesterday, he got his first big boys cycle. As we walked into shops along with Harish, the question that everyone asked was, can he cycle and most shop owners offered the tricyle as the first choice. I was wondering what was running in Harish's mind as he heard those remarks and as his proud father said .. he can cycle very well and show me the best piece you have. There was a 'branded Hero cycle' which we liked. But the final choice was of Harish's of an Atlas red and white cycle. He was eager to get on it and rode it like a Hero on an Atlas. We had brought home a ' True Hero' I thought as we all watched his joy riding the new bike. 

I am writing this post for those parents who today are where we were years earlier. Believe that they can do it and they will never let you down. I have learnt it 8 years later. So dont think, just do it, for them.  


Cool4u said...

Bravo! Harish. Congrats on your new cycle. Well done, keep it up and all the very best.

Muktha said...

hey smarta, keep it up man!!and your new cycle looks very nice . Well done bravo :)

guna said...

hi mohan
yes undoubtedly you made him a HERO. am a home maker my 3 yrs old son was diagonised as autistic. we were in such a state you know... he is toe walking and came to know cycling will help to eliminate it. i was asking my hubby to buy one but he is hesitating .when i read abt harish a spark inside me.. i have decided to buy him one not latter than this weekend... hatsoff to harish.i just want to feel the same feeling you have on the day when seeing harish ride
ing on his own...thanks brother for givinng me this sort of thoughts.
will get back to you soon

Mohan said...

It is very nice to know you have been inspired. You have time on your hands and starting early gives much better results. Just dont give up and have lots of patience. Tip toeing is just a behaviour like flapping hands or spinning. It will go away. But more importantly you need to work on all areas of development and keep him occupied most of the time. Dont let them be to themselves. They love it and will seek it. Give me all the speech and other therapies like OT, sensory integration etc. It would be very benificial if you put him on a strict GFCF diet. It will take 2 odd months to start seeing improvement and about 6 months to be very effective. Its very tough, but dont give up. You need to avoid forbidden items yourself also; at least in the initial days. So that its not available at home. I feel GFCF itself will get him off tip toeing. Most of the stimming and hyperactivity reduces once on the diet. Training him becomes easier and you have to train him on every single thing. Its a long and tough journey. But you are not alone and you will feel proud one day. We dont feel bad at all now; though it is still taxing in many ways. But his one smile and a tug on the cheeck makes you feel in heaven. Good luck and thanks for encouraging us with your words.

viji said...

When we have an autistic child, there is this sudden kinship that happens between strangers. As parents all of us go through the grind ,mixed feelings of hope and despair at different points of time. Keep trying,your son will also definitely do you proud.As for toe walking have you tried OT and SI for him?

guna said...

hi viji,
we are yet to seek therapist for him..i am lliving near hebbal.its hard to find one here.i need your help i hope he can speak if i give him speech therapy, could you please help me in finding a center for this purpose. did u tried this for your son..then can i have your id?

viji said...

Lingarajapuram might be close for you, for speech.(Chandrasekhar institute).I have a put a post on this place in the blog. There is samvad institute also but this might be a little far away. My e-mail id is vijirajmohan@yahoo.co.in

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