Coming to terms with the autism diagnosis


This story is taken from the book My Unique Child: A Practical Guide to Raising A Child with Autism. Hong Yu’s full name has been withheld to protect the identities of the persons mentioned.

Hong Yu is currently in the technical path in a special school. His mother, Siew Yin, shares her thoughts on what she learnt was the best way to help her child with autism.

Whatever you do, you have to first accept your child and face up to it. Acceptance is most important. You may want to take him for different therapies and all kinds of treatment, but sometimes, when you go for many treatment methods, that may harm the child instead.

Someone once asked me, “Have you not ever hated your child?” My reply was, “I did when I couldn’t accept that he had autism.”

During that time, I was living in denial. All I could think about was autism and how to cure my son of it. At first, I wanted him to enter a mainstream school. After I realised that wasn’t possible, my next goal was to see him enter Pathlight School. However, the psychology assessment showed that he did not meet the requirements for Pathlight, so my next goal was to see him enter Eden School.

Around that time, I met another parent of a special needs child who told me, “Don’t lose sight of what is most important. Your child is your guide. Go to a school that is suitable for your child—not for you.”

I realised then that I had been blindly following the crowd.

Every child is different. Every child has different capabilities.

As with all children, children with autism can feel love. They may not express it, but they know it when you love them.

Now I tell myself, learn to accept criticism and think positively. Train him to live independently and appropriately as we may not accompany him for his whole life.

Help to promote public awareness for inclusion. Because children with autism are not able to communicate well, public awareness will help to reduce misunderstandings. Accept your child. Don’t be in a rush to cure him or her. Think about what your child needs, not what you want.

Read more stories like this in the book My Unique Child: A Practical Guide to Raising A Child with Autism.

Do you have a story of autism or know someone who does? Share your unique story. Talk to us.

VoicesJasmine Goh