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I am the mother of three children, the oldest being Lil' D, who is 10 years old and has moderate to severe autism. Lil' D is nonverbal and sometimes aggressive. He can't read or tell me why he can get suddenly sad or angry, but his receptive skills (how he understands and follows directions) are remarkable. He also has a real connection to close loved ones. Raising a child with autism is a constant challenge, and being his mother is an exhausting, exhilarating, and lonely roller coaster ride.
Amal, our second child and our only daughter, is 7 years old and Hamza, our youngest, is 3 years old. With the varying personalities of three children (plus both sets of grandparents, who support us and often visit from either India or Maryland), my husband and I feel both overwhelmed and blessed with love and support. How do we keep everyone happy and moving forward while assessing all the moods, behaviors, and responsibilities of Lil' D's needs? It is difficult to paint a portrait of what it's like to manage the day-to-day life of a child with autism, but here I offer a realistic view of parenting a child with special needs.
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