About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view FawadSiddiqu's profile
    Posted April 4, 2012 by
    Columbia, Maryland
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Life with autism: Share your story

    More from FawadSiddiqu

    Life with Autism


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     FawadSiddiqu's daughter, Sharia, loves puzzles. 'One of our therapists brought a puzzle as part of a therapy and we noticed she was more keen to work on puzzles than any of her other toys. She has done hundreds of puzzles on the iPad during the last two years,' FawadSiddiqu, of Columbia, Maryland, says. 'Autism itself is a jigsaw puzzle. It does not make sense if you focus on small pieces but with patience, hard work and better understanding - you can understand the "rules" that make certain behavior "odd" for a normal person.' He wanted to share this iReport to increase awareness about autism. 'Some very well-educated members of our family and [others] still believe that autism is more of a myth than a real problem,' he says. Although it is difficult, he says his wife and him have learned a lot of patience. And there are rewards. 'Sharia's struggles with her communication skills have made her a very expressive child, which is quite rewarding especially when she is expressing her love for us,' he says.
    - ssesha, CNN iReport producer

    Hi. I am Fawad. This is my daughter Sharia. She is 5 years old and she has Autism

    If I have to list all the things that make Sharia unique, I may have to write a book but if I have to highlight only one aspect – it will be her amazing passion for puzzles.

    When Sharia was just a toddler, she would never show interest in any of the toys we bought for her. She was reclusive and spent a lot of time walking alone.

    However once we discovered her interest in puzzles, everything changed.

    Now she likes nothing better than doing puzzles.

    Whenever we take her to a toy store, she goes straight to the puzzle section and gets as many puzzles as she can carry.

    Despite numerous challenges that we face every day, there are certain unique aspects of her personality that make it all worthwhile. For instance, her lack of communication has made her a physically demonstrative child.

    Whether she is showing her excitement at experiencing her first snow, jubilation at completing a challenging puzzle, thanking her dad for giving her a glass of juice or simply showing her love and affection – she always conveys her unbridled excitement through animated gestures and movements.

    For us, Autism itself is a puzzle and we are trying to unlock its mysteries every single day.

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