My Dear Mitra,
Four years ago you were diagnosed with intellectual disability and autism. Even though we had had some suspicions for a while, to hear the doctor say “Mitra is intellectually disabled” and to see the report says “diagnosis : severe intellectual disability” struck me hard. We thought you just had delayed development because of all the medical problems and pain you had the first two years of your life. We just knew that the doctor was going to tell us that you were fine and it was all a big mistake. I knew I had overreacted. But I wasn’t wrong.
I was overwhelmed with all of the information that I had to check on internet. I didn’t know where to go or where to start. Our world had just been rattled and I didn’t know where to go from there. I thank my lucky stars that we have such wonderful people around us who could help us, who had been through the same thing with other families in the same situation. I talked to many people, picking their brains, asking them questions, hearing a lot of stories. They helped me in ways I can’t even thank them enough for. I did cry but I was optimistic. We can do this.
We told our family and friends all we knew and could comprehend. I don’t want this to be a secret. This is a part of you. You are a part of us. We will get through this together.
People keep asking me if we are OK, and to be honest, I think we are more than OK. I know we are. You are no different today than you were on 4 years ago. Nothing has changed except we were given more tools and we have learnt more to help you thrive and grow.
Your life today will be very different than your life in a few years. Early intervention is key and I am so happy that we were able to get this diagnosis early, while you were two, rather than many years down the road. I see how well you respond to your activities and how much of a sponge your little brain is.
Right now, there are still so many unknowns. We are still waiting to get the results of your genetic tests! Who knows, maybe once you will stop putting everything (non-food related) in your mouth and you can fully experience toys and writing utensils with all of your senses. I know this diagnosis is just one part of the puzzle. And there are so many that are still missing. In due time, we will see and learn more and as we learn more, the puzzle might change.
You are still the same sweet, loving, caring, amazing little girl that we’ve always known. You are friendly, you are outgoing, you are fearless. You are a joy to be around. And your mom and I… we will make sure we give you every tool you need to grow, learn, and thrive. I can’t wait to enroll you at school and cry my eyes out that my little girl is growing up too fast. I can’t wait to cry my eyes out that my little girl really is all grown up.
I never thought of myself as a parent of a child with special needs. But here we are, here I am. A parent of a child with intellectual disability. I am constantly in awe and inspired by you. You make me want to be a better dad. You make me a better person! I love you more with every day that passes.
Love always and forever,
And always remember:
You are my heart! I am your voice!
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