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

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