Mommy Talks : Dyan Manaloto

Mommy Talks

April being the Autism Awareness month, our guest mommy today is a mother of a child who is recently diagnosed with Autism. Ms. Dyan Manaloto. is 32 years old and happily married to a pastor for four years. She is a stay-at-home mom to a 3 year old child named Paul. She is also an expectant mother to another baby boy.

Here is what Dyan wants to share with all mommies today…
I’ve decided to become more open about our son Paul’s diagnosis and to share our experiences about it in order to educate others and to be an advocate for our child.

Here is a shortened version of our story about Paul which I posted in my Facebook account:


Opening up about My Son’s Autism

Dear family and friends,

I just would just like to share with you about our son Paul Emerson and how he’s been doing.

Last October, at 2.5 years of age, Paul was formally diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which accounts for his language development delay and impaired social skills by a developmental pediatrician. As a fully hands-on, stay-at-home mom, I’ve always had my concerns about his speech delay, difficult-to-manage behavior, hyperactivity and seeming inability to communicate and socialize with other children his age. While other parents assured me that there are normal children who’ve had speech delays and only started speaking at age 3, I couldn’t let go of the impression that something was “amiss” with my child.

When our child was diagnosed, I was struck with uncertainty and filled with anxiety about my child’s future. After two days of conflicting emotions, I decided that the most sensible thing for us to do was to act and to take advantage of early intervention. We immediately arranged for Paul to have occupational therapy twice a week for six months to be followed by speech therapy and a special preschool program.

The first few months after Paul’s diagnosis proved to be difficult for us. We were bewildered by the lack of relevant information concerning our son’s needs and his condition. Gradually however, we learned what we needed to learn about Paul and still continue to instruct ourselves about his condition. In fact, we are now bewildered by the overwhelming amount of information! The constant need for education is a great challenge to us.

Now after 5 months of therapy, we see the importance of early detection and early intervention. Paul is responding well to treatment. He started labeling and identifying objects last February. He now knows the alphabet, numbers 1-20, shapes, colors, animals, yes and no, and most common objects! Most of his words are not yet clear, but he loves to learn and his vocabulary continues to grow!

He has better work-behavior skills, eye contact, impulse control, frustration tolerance and is now able to follow commands. His behavior is more manageable now and he acts independently for as long as he follows a routine. He’s also fully toilet-trained. He goes to the toilet by himself and informs us about his need to wash.

We brought him to his developmental pediatrician the other day for his follow-up evaluation. He is pleased with Paul’s progress and encouraged us to continue with therapy, try other treatments to improve behavior even further, and enroll him in a playschool/pre-school program. We should expect Paul to progress even more as we take advantage of his young age and positive response to intervention.

We are studying various options that are available to us and are fully intent on making the most of the opportunity to accelerate his development. The so-called break or window of opportunity to maximize intervention and improve outcomes is until 3.5 years of age. Paul is turning 3 on May 16. The compelling sense of urgency constantly drives us to keep moving forward and not to allow inaction or passivity to overcome us even for a single moment.

I am thoroughly convinced that God has a special plan and purpose in mind for Paul. I am so touched by His faithful provision of Paul’s needs. He has helped us every step of the way throughout Paul’s journey. My hope and prayer is that we, his parents, would be able to raise him in such a way, so that one day, he would be able and willing to respond to God’s call, whatever purpose it may be.

To the mothers reading this blog …all I can say is that the best treatment for your child is whatever is best for your child. I know that sounds redundant, but if I put it my own particular situation, that statement would go like this: the best treatment for Paul is whatever is best for Paul. The focus is on the child and his/her specific needs and his/her own particular characteristics. There is no one-size-that-fits-all in dealing with your child’s condition. Educate yourself about your child. There is value in consultations, assessments and evaluations. And by all means start early but plan for long. It will be a life-long challenge for you and your child. But you don’t have to take this journey alone. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in [your journey] acknowledge him, and He [will direct your paths]. Proverbs 3:5-6

Mommy Talks : Earth Rullan

Mommy Talks

April is Autism Awareness Month! And what better way to be more aware of Autism than to talk to a mommy who has first hand experience with Austim. Our guest for today is Earth Rullan. She is the blogger behind Earthlingorgeous. She is a mom of a 9 year old little girl with Autism.

Chris: Hello Earth. Can you share with us how you discovered your little girl has autism? What were the symptoms and what did you do?

Earth: When my daughter was born, the signs of anything different about her was not present at that time. She grew-up like an average baby would. She achieved all her milestones at an average age any other baby would achieve it. Crawl, smile, sit down on her own, walk, babble words. She actually was a fast learner. Until she turned two, everything changed.

At first I thought she doesn’t like her nickname to instead of her A nickname I changed it to her T nickname now. But still the same problem persist, she doesn’t respond when being called by her name. She completely ignores you like she can’t hear you. So I had her hearing tested, but the results turned out normal.

So we went to the developmental pediatrician and her first assessment was that she is just globally delayed and will pull through at 6 or 7 years old.

After a year on her first assessment I went to another developmental pediatrician. This time the doctor said my daughter has Asperger. A milder form of autism but not really autism. She said she is between high functioning autism and ADHD. The doctor recommended therapy three times a week. After awhile, we went to another development pediatrician for her assessment and this time the assessment was rigorous. There were several checks made before the doctor concluded that my child has autism.

Her doctors, now she has a neurodevelopmental physician (neuro) aside from her dev pedia, found out she has epilepsy/ seizures. That was devastating to hear but I’m glad I was finally told.

Chris: How is your daughter now?
Earth: There’s a huge difference with my daughter now compares to the first day she had her interventions. I think kids with autism will mature in time and I think that’s what’s happening to her although I believe the interventions she got school and therapy helped a lot.

I just had a meeting with my daughter’s teacher and she said although my daughter is a fast learner and she sees a lot of potential in her, she can see how uninterested she was in academics. Because of that, next school year there will be lesser academics and more practical and applied daily life practices will be taught to her and they will focus more with familiarizing her with her own name, home address, phone numbers , computer lessons, socialization and domestication.

Honestly I’m excited with the new curriculum that will be given to her. As her mom I see that what she mostly need are lessons about taking care of herself and knowing important details about her in case she gets lost (God forbid) or an emergency arises.

I’m also excited about more socialization activities because I think she is very much ready to have playmates and hopefully she will be encourage to talk more often when she is exposed to kids like her.

Chris: Do you have some advises for parents?

Earth: As soon as you see something different with your child don’t delay and immediately seek a specialist to test your child because early intervention really helps.

Give them all the love and care you can give. These kids are very loving and caring person. They will always be innocent and pure so give them all the love and understanding. They don’t hurt people unless they were raised violently. They are not aggressive people who harms without a reason to do so. They have feelings that they can’t explain ergo the peculiar mannerisms and habits. Try to be as patient as you can but I know sometimes its too much you loose. If you do talk to them apologize and show them love as much as you can.

Take them out don’t hide them from public eye. Never be ashamed of your kids. Expose them to environments they’ve never seen before. Don’t mind the stares or the rude comments. Just know when you should leave the place before things gets out of hand.

Find interventions like occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, socialization, special schools. You will always find a support group in the guise of the moms with kids with autism.

Don’t loose hope, these kids are a blessing. They will be your source of joy and comfort. They will love you unconditionally and they will be your baby forever.

Chris: Many thanks for sharing about your daughter with us. I hope your story will help those parents who might be undergoing the same challenges now.

World Autism Awareness Day

Today is World Autism Awareness Day.

According to Wikipedia, Autism is a disorder in the neural development, characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. As parents, it is important that we play close attention to our children and see if they show these symptoms so that we can provide early intervention and provide aid to the child to develop independence along the way.
In celebration of this day, Mommy Talks will feature moms with children with autism this month.