Karen Davila speaks up on son's autism
MANILA – ABS-CBN broadcast journalist Karen Davila shared that it was her firstborn, David, who taught her how to love unconditionally.
In an interview with Kapamilya host Bianca Gonzalez as published in The Philippine Star newspaper on Sunday, Davila revealed that she learned of her son’s special condition when he was three years old.
“I gave birth at 32. I loved being a mother but I didn’t know what the milestones were because I was very busy working. Thank God I have my mother (Purita Davila) to support me. The very tragic thing was I didn’t see the signs early on. I always thought David was a quiet child. Lolas would say maybe he would start speaking late. But at 3 1/2 years old he started throwing a lot of tantrums, lying on the floor, screaming everywhere. And every time there were other kids he was not interested to play,” she said.
Davila said it was her friend who urged her to bring the boy to a developmental pediatrician. She followed her friend’s advice and that's how she and her husband, DJ Sta. Ana, discovered that David had autism.
“I cried. I blamed myself. I asked God why him and not me. This must be because I did something wrong. We asked is there a cure, and the doctor said no. And it broke my heart. DJ and I really broke down. We cried about David for so long,” she recalled.
But the doctor’s answer did not stop her from searching for a cure that would help her son.
“This is where being driven and obsessed helped, I started to research. There were parents who were treating their children through Biomedicine and the Casein gluten-free diet. We did that for nine years,” she said.
Aside from this, Davila said her son has also undergone two stem cell therapies.
“We have been committed. I am very passionate about this. I am on an endless pursuit for David’s best,” she said.
Davila said her son’s autism taught her not just how to love unconditionally but to be very patient with children with autism.
“Alam mo, the real one person who taught me how to love was David. You have to be so patient with children with autism. They don’t respond like regular children. Sometimes when the intervention is not full, they cannot show your love back. There were very painful times when David was around five, he was not hugging me, not saying I love you, he could not look me in the eye. And nothing is more painful to a mother,” she said.
“So what David taught me was unconditional love. Love that was one-way, literally coming from you alone. But, praise God, now David has completely bloomed, he is now really close to me, says ‘I love you Mommy and Daddy’ all the time, he speaks to us, we converse, he has friends,” she added.
Her son’s condition also made her extra cautious when she had her second child, Lucas.
“Lucas was an accident too! Everyone was a great accident. I gave birth to Lucas when I was already 38, and I was petrified. I was too scared that my second baby might have a condition and I might not be able to handle it as well. When I was pregnant I had to make sure I did things carefully. I didn’t eat fish, I had omega 3 oil straight from supplements, I had extra vitamins, I breastfed longer. There is no specific cause but all I can say is I did things differently,” she said.
Saying she considers Lucas a big blessing, Davila said: “He brings so much riot and chaos to our house! He is so madaldal, he’s like me. He is a little Karen!”