Supermom: Autism Parenting in Pakistan

supermom alyna baig

About the Contributor: Alyna Baig is a mom of two amazing boys. Her eldest son is on the Autism Spectrum. She founded Autism Resource Group on Facebook, which is one of the largest online communities for autism parenting in Pakistan. 

 

My Journey

As a mom of a child with autism, my journey has been both challenging and rewarding. My son was a healthy boy with no obvious delayed milestones, but as he turned 18 months old, I started noticing that my son was regressing. He stopped making eye contact, stopped responding to his name, started avoiding certain foods and clothes, and lost the words he learned. I knew something was off, but I wasn’t sure what it was. After seeing a pediatrician and a series of evaluations, my son was first diagnosed with social communication disorder and later on with autism at the age of four and a half.

 

When my child was diagnosed, I felt overwhelmed, but I didn’t know much about autism. Sadly, there wasn’t a lot of information back then, and even professionals did not guide me in the right direction. I had so many questions and concerns, but I soon found that there was no support available in Pakistan. All I was told to do was to take therapies, and that we did day in and day out, without a break for 7 years.

 

Then came a time when my son was called a “Paper weight”, someone who will never go to school, never get toilet trained, or will never share his pain or happiness with me. That was the time I hit rock bottom, and I realized that no one can help my son but me. I read books and articles, joined international support groups online, and connected with other parents of children with autism. I learned how internal healing could help children with autism, and I began to feel more hopeful and empowered.

 

One of the biggest challenges I faced was navigating the system of services and resources. There was no option to choose from, and it was hard to know what was best for my child. I spent hours researching and attending meetings with international therapists, educators, researchers, functional doctors, and other professionals. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it to see my child make progress.

 

 Creating a Community

As a mom, I knew that I needed to be the advocate for my child and other kids like him in Pakistan. So, I created a Facebook group called “Autism Resource Group Pakistan.” My group was the first-ever support group for Autism parenting in Pakistan. Since 2017, we have done 60+ webinars with national and international professionals on the topic of autism. We organized several free parent and professional empowerment trainings on ground and online. Autism Resource Group ¬†launched one-of-a-kind teachers training programs for a more inclusive environment. We collaborated with teachers and therapists to develop an individualized plan, making sure that the needs of the children were being met in school and other environments.

 

Finding My Way

In my journey as a single parent of an autistic child, I learned to be assertive and persistent, even when it felt difficult or uncomfortable. It was challenging to balance my caregiving responsibilities with work, household tasks, and other obligations. I often felt pulled in many different directions, but I found that self-care was essential to prevent burnout and maintain my physical and emotional health.

 

Despite the challenges, there were many moments of joy and celebration along the way. I watched my son learn to communicate more effectively, go to mainstream school, make friends, and develop new skills and interests. I saw him grow and thrive in ways that I never thought possible. These small moments of progress made all of the hard work and long hours worth it.

 

As a mom of a child with autism, I have also learned to appreciate the small things in life. I have learned to celebrate every milestone, no matter how small, to find joy in the little things, like a smile or a hug from my child. I learned to be patient and understanding, even when things don’t go as planned.

 

Overall, my journey as a mom of a child with autism has been a rollercoaster of emotions. It has been challenging, but it has also been incredibly rewarding. I discovered so much about myself and my child. As a result, I became a stronger and more compassionate person. I am grateful for the support of my family, friends, and community. I am proud of my child’s progress. There will be many more challenges ahead, but I am ready to face them with love and determination.

 

You can read our blogs HERE.

3 Comments

  • Shahida says:

    Same here. But you are a brave mother

  • Aqsa rehman says:

    U have being an auesome mother n a guide.may Allah give u more strength anday Allah shower his blessings more on you ameen.
    I have also learned alot from you n specially the training which u started for free was the turning point.lots of love n respect for you

  • Sundus Ameer says:

    Beautifully articulated Aleena

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *