Monica Sharma first realised something wasn’t quite right when her son, now aged five-and-a-half, wasn’t speaking at the age of two.
The family, who at the time were living in New Delhi, India, were referred to an early intervention centre where he was diagnosed as autistic.
“I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t speaking to us. He was hardly interacting with anyone and was very quiet,” said Monica.
“He would have very little eye contact with people too. It had really started to worry me, so when we got referred to the early intervention centre I started to learn about his condition and really began to understand about autism.”
Monica's son underwent music therapy, occupational therapy and social therapy for 19 months.
She said: “We started to see huge changes in him, and then my husband was offered the chance to take on a job in the UK.
“Naturally as parents we were unsure about the move because I wanted the best for my son, so we did a lot of research and came across TRACKS autism in Stevenage.
“As it happened my husband was also going to be based in Stevenage so we felt a bit more comfortable to make the move.”
The former HR director moved with her husband, who works as a systems designs engineer, two-and-a-half years ago to Stevenage Old Town.
She got in touch with TRACKS autism, which is a specialist nursery in Stevenage for children aged between two and six who have complex social and communication disorders.
“We started to send my son to workshops and sessions at TRACKS and as time went on I saw even more changes in him,” Monica said.
“He was learning to socialise, got involved in pretend play and started to communicate. He was never a difficult child but with the help of TRACKS and the sessions he had in India he has become a very affectionate child.”
Monica's son who now attends a special school, still has sessions with TRACKS during his school holidays.
Monica, who is now a trustee of the charity, said: “TRACKS has been extremely helpful in giving us tips as parents and clearing any doubts in our heads. And as a parent I learnt to change my approach to him. We have been very lucky in that we have had a lot of guidance. Before I would speak with my son as I would any other child, but over time I have learnt that I have to talk to him a little bit slower for him to understand.”