To many of us, our father is a source of strength and someone we look up to, amongst many other amazing things. This Father’s Day, Mr Rajendran shares with us a heartfelt reflection of his parenting journey while looking after his 22-year-old son, Kirisnah.
My son, Kirisnah, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. At that moment, my wife and I felt that the whole world has collapsed on us. The tears that rolled down our cheeks, the heart-wrenching cries of my wife, and this sharp pain that I felt – I hid them behind this mask with a hint of smile which I put on, as I console my wife while hugging my son tightly. Time has gone by so fast. Fast forward to today, it has been 20 years, and I’m here having a cup of coffee while reading an article about my journey with my son in SPD’s newsletter.
The moment we realised about my son’s condition, my wife and I set aside a few days to cry, to reflect and to decide what’s next for our son. The search for an early intervention centre started with multiple phone calls but we were told that there was already a long waiting list. Not daunted by the initial rejections, we started to read about autism which I knew nothing about, even though it’s right there, staring straight at me. The more we read, the more we got to know. But frustrations, daily cries, heartbreaks, and a state of helplessness were all we got.
Let me pause here… because we also paused for some time to come to terms and accept our son’s condition wholeheartedly – to wipe away the tears, fix the broken heart, take a deep breath, put on the battle gear, and get ready to fight all the challenges ahead to provide our son with a meaningful, heart-warming, loving and caring life journey. Honestly, the moment we changed our mindset and accepted the reality, a light lit up and guided us from a distant horizon. Up till today, the light is still there from a long distance away.
The difference between now and then is the fact that my son has achieved tremendous progress in his life. Like any other neurotypical child, he has completed his national exams – Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and Normal Technical exams, and moved on to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and graduated from his Information Technology course in Cloud Computing. Thereafter, he had interned in a few organisations before joining SPD’s Sheltered Workshop as a trainee.
If you ask me, is Kirisnah soaring like a bird, a plane or Superman? I think my son is like an aeroplane. Although I believe my son can soar in the sky, unlike Superman or a bird which can fly off instantaneously, my son requires a long, long runway with lots of patience and guidance from me before he could take off. Eventually though, I know he will fly. I am hoping and looking forward to that day. I am waiting…