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Nadine Owens(Women's Issue)

Updated: May 20, 2022

Raising My Three Sons

Growing up in Norfolk, VA, and attending the school system was an experience that I’d never forget. It always amazed me when I witnessed children with special needs. I’ve always given them the respect they deserved as I did with anyone else. I’ve never looked at them strange, never smirked at them, or made them feel uncomfortable. I did witness others make fun of them because of their disabilities. As time went on and I became an adult, I never expected that I’d give birth to children with special needs as well.

At twenty -four years old, I became a mother to my baby girl. Her developmental stages were normal, and I had no concerns because she was a healthy baby. One year later, I became pregnant and gave birth to a son name; “Marcus,” his development was a bit different than my baby girls. He never slept on a normal schedule; he always looked around. I picked up on something that I found a bit different, and I knew it was a problem because all newborns sleep half of the day during their early years, but my son never did. My baby boy slept only one hour and stood awake throughout the remainder of the day. As time went on, he continued to carry the same sleeping pattern, and his development was off. He stared at the light, he never cried, and at the age of seven months, he began walking.

I also noticed he would always drift away from me, and he would like to stand in the corner a lot. I began to ask questions to get details from other parents who had children who were males, and I was told that the boys' development stage is different from girls. He was a bit slower at comprehending things, so I said I’ll give it some time. Within two months, he continued to have delays with the usual things as he became older, and I noticed he was fascinated with the bright light. I explained what I was witnessing to my mom and told her that I would make an appointment with the doctor because I felt something just didn’t seem right and wanted to share my concerns. During the visit, I was told to give him a little more time because he could possibly make progress soon.

The doctor also explained that he was watching too much television! I responded by telling him my son is too young to watch T.V., and he never sits still to watch it. After leaving, I ensured that it was my last visit! I decided to locate another physician at CHKD. When I arrived at the doctor's office, the nurse took one look at my son and diagnosed him with Autism. I knew what Autism was because I have a niece that has the same condition. When I received the news, and in disbelief, I was in shock; I did not know what to think. The doctor referred me to a developmental specialist that would provide me the proper treatment; his name was Dr. Montgomery. Receiving all the steps and the instructions that I should follow to care for my son was a lot to intake. I was so overwhelmed with all the information that was given to me. I was told he would need a Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapy, and new school arrangements. I figured these were the things that I would need to have in place for my son, and it was a lot to grasp; this became the norm for my life. I tried my best and did everything I could for him because I needed to care for my toddler daughter, as well. Within two years, I became accustomed to the routine, and I was getting my son all the therapy he needed. Since he had so many different requirements, I had to learn to care for him properly when he was home with me by showing him the right things to do.

Two years later, I became pregnant, and I knew I would give birth to another son, and I named him “Tevin.” The strange thing was my new baby was experiencing the same conditions as my first son, who was diagnosed with Autism. I began to think about the odds for me to have two sons, both diagnosed with the same condition. At the age of seven months, my new baby mimics the same behaviors that his older brother was doing. I began to panic and rejected that this was happening again! I continued watching his development and started to go downhill; I knew that I could not wait because time was essential for special needs children. I did not want to accept that my second son may be diagnosed with the same condition as his brother, so I waited one month to get him tested, and it took a while. When I received the results, the doctor never came out; he sent his assistant to give me the results. The nurse said, Mom, can I talk to you? She then explained that he had developmental delays and that he was on the Autism side. I immediately broke down and began crying in disbelief! I cried for days because I didn't know how to raise two boys with the same condition, and I knew there was no way that I could do it. After four days, I began to get it together. With prayer, I pleaded to my Lord and Savior for strength to help me to raise my boys because I refuse to put them in a home to get the care they needed. My son received all the therapy that my first son had required for his condition, but he was told to receive treatment 101 for his motor skills. These sessions were done four days a week, so it was very strenuous on me with two boys. As time went on, it became overwhelming, and it took a toll on my life because it was too much for me to handle alone.