A Journey of Love

Posted on 16. Dec, 2009 by in Feature, Health and Medicine, John Smock, Urban

photoEvery morning Yadira Delgado, 22, drives 27 miles from her cramped Mott Haven apartment to Fairfield, N.J.  There she drops her 4-year-old daughter off at the New Beginnings School.  She gets back into her 1994 Honda Civic, unhooks the car seat that holds her 7-month-old son and places it in the passenger seat next to her.  The clock reads 7:33 a.m.; she will wait in the car until 2:30 p.m.

This is her new life. Delgado and her husband left their home in Puerto Rico 4 months ago in order to provide their daughter with a better life.  Their daughter  was diagnosed with restricted behavior autism two years ago.   Her daughter has a need for over stimulation, which causes behavior problems linked to the need to constantly feel the texture of objects and/or the vibrancy of colors.

Autism is a neural disorder which is developmental in nature and has unknown causes. Most experts believe it has a strong tie to genetics, but theories range from the duplication of chromosomes at the genetic level to the vaccination of children in their early years . A level of impaired social interaction and speech most often characterizes the disorder. Repetitive behavior is present in many cases. These signs all begin before a child has reached 3 years of age.

In 2007 a report from the epidemiology departments from Drexel University School of Public Health, the University of Pennsylvania and many other institutions noted that an estimated one to two out of every 1,000 children will develop autism. However, the data was not representative of the overall population so the numbers may underestimate the autism problem.

The number of reported cases of autism increased dramatically in the 1990s and early 2000s. This increase is largely attributable to changes in diagnostic practices. But for families like the Delgado’s raising an autistic child presents its own specific challenges.

Delgado, a high school graduate with one semester of college, first noticed the behavior when her daughter was 2 years old.  Her daughter did not babble like other children her age. She seemed to be only interested in touching objects with textures on them.

“It’s mostly sensorial in nature, when she sees a color or something new she has to touch it,” said the 22-year-old, who had to drop out of college because of her pregnancy.

Her husband works for a small U.S. bank that is opening branches in Puerto Rico. He attempted to get her services in their hometown of Cayey, Puerto Rico only to find that they are non-existent.

This forced the family to move two hours away to the northern costal city of Bayamon, Puerto Rico were Delgado enrolled her daughter in a rudimentary program.

The school only offered basic services until the age of 5.  This placed the young mother in a predicament. Should she give her daughter the services until age 5 and then provider for her at home or should she make one of the most difficult decisions of her life and bring her to the United States.

4 Responses to “A Journey of Love”

  1. Marie

    16. Dec, 2009

    I symathize with these parents, it’s a very challenging and sensitive situation. I think the parents made the right choice by coming to New York. At least here there several programs and treatments available for her daughter. I can’t say if there’s enough being done, but there’s definetly more options available here in the United States. I know of Birch Herbert School here in NY has an excellent program catered to each individual child. There are programs available that are free, do the research, make the calls, talk to other parents. Hopefully you can find the one that works for your daughter, preferably in NY. You would be surprised how many other parents have children with some form of autism. It’s a wide spectrum of symptoms.

  2. Alex

    16. Dec, 2009

    Very sad story. What a dedicated mother. I hope they can find a solution for there daughter and there family so that they can have a better life. Autism is becoming very common now a days. Good luck with this situation your dealing with and may God be with this family

  3. Clare

    16. Dec, 2009

    What dedicated parents, to uproot their life in Puerto Rico to give their child more options and and better care. There are many specialized schools for Autisum as well as the public schools which have wonderful resources. I only wish the family the best with their family.

  4. Combi Car Seat

    13. May, 2010

    When your parents you no longer live just for yourself but rather consider how each action not only influences you but your kids as well.