Hello, my name is Amit Wolfman and I am a single mother to a beautiful, talented autistic teenager. I was asked to write a personal column on my life with my son, like a diary of a mother to an autistic child. I’m one of those people who always have something to say, especially on issues close to my heart. I knew immediately What I want to write – about all those things related to a family coping with raising a child with special needs, but something with an optimistic point of view because I am Always trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel, however distant.
By the way, my son photo was taken by the photographer Avi Rocah
Autism nowadays affects one of 250 births. There are more than 3,000 people with autism in Israel and every year are added about 250 new cases. After receiving the diagnosis (and throughout their entire life), the families are required to recruit many forces and hidden strengths in order to deal with the difficulties of raising a child with special needs. My son’s Development in the first year was completely normal. He crawled on time, began to walk on time, smiled and laughed at us and his motor development was completely normal. Only on the field of nutrition were some difficulties. He refused to eat solid food. I attributed his refusal to the fear that I had from suffocation. At the age of one year and nine months old he still didn’t talk. Because my elder daughter started to talk when she was 2.2 years old, my gourds were down and I didn’t suspect anything was wrong.
When my son was one year and 10 months I went to a baby clinic for a routine checkup to consult the doctor about the problems with feeding him, I was sure the problem lies with me. The doctor examined him for a minute or two and told me, completely insensitive: “Madam, it seems to me that your son is autistic.” I looked at her like she had lost her mind. I booked there and then an appointment at the Institute for Child Development, while I was trying to convince my self that over there they would calm my fears and tell me that the doctor was wrong and everything will work out for the best. At the Child Development Institute my son was diagnosed with p.d.d n.o.s. I was in a shock after hearing the diagnosis. I felt my whole world was crumbling around me. I began feeling more and more guilty – maybe my son was born this way because I didn’t eat right during my pregnancy, or maybe I shook him too much in my stomach and caused him damage, or maybe something is wrong with my genes and because of me he was born like that. At the same time, I blamed the whole world: I was angry at God and angry at fate, I was angry with the doctors and the paramedical team. As time gone by I have started to resign to the situation.. As my son started to show some progress with the help of the therapeutic treatments he received, my sense of powerlessness was diminishing. The need to fight for every achievement, however small, has increased my motivation. Throughout the years I fought to put him into the best kindergarten, get him the best treatment available and in the end I fought for his admittance to the best school. Fortunately I have always won these little wars, against all odds. My wonderful son – today is already 17 years old – precipitated my efforts by his progress and with his great love for me. His love gives me the strength to continue fighting to improve thehis life even more. Today I no longer ask “why it had happened to me” but living with the feeling that the fact that it did strengthens me and makes me a better and a stronger person. Coping with the difficulties changed my point of view and helped me develop patience and tolerance. I believe that parents of autistic children (especially mothers) are selected carefully, and I was chosen because of my ability to love and to give, that existed in me but was dormant.. Pain and anxiety did not disappear, but I’m learning to live with them and it strengthens me and is forcing me to improve my coping with life