Nadia Suleman has opened up about her son Aidan, saying the boy is "severely autistic." The woman known to the world as "Octomom" says that her son needs "total care," giving fans an in-depth look at life on the autism spectrum.
Suleman shared a video on Instagram on Monday, re-introducing her followers to Aidan. The 44-year-old rose to fame for successfully delivering octuplets in 2009, and now the difficulties of parenting are all the harder for her. This includes caring for a child with autism, as she explained in the caption.
"This is my adolescent infant Aidan," Suleman wrote. "He is 14 years old, going on 1 in his head. Aidan is severely autistic and total care. He requires complete assistance in meeting all needs in activities of daily living."
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This is my adolescent infant Aidan. He is 14 years old, going on 1 in his head. Aidan is severely autistic and total care. He requires complete assistance in meeting all needs in activities of daily living. Aidan is non-verbal, requires feeding, changing (he is not potty trained), bathing, and one to one supervision, as he has no safety awareness and would walk aimlessly into traffic. I, his mother, am, and always have been, his ONLY care provider. This “job” is my life (other than caring for 13 other children singlehandedly). My children are my LIFE. In addition, I’ve struggled with permanent disabilities for over ten years (all discs in my lumbar spine are ruptured, which press on nerve roots causing bilateral sciatica, irreparable sacral damage, and peripheral neuropathy). Despite my broken back, and relentless pain, I continue to physically care for my son, and will never give up on him. Aidan has been off two months for summer and attends a special needs school during the year. I love him with all my heart, and will care for him until I die. This morning after dropping off 11 of my other children for their first day of school, I took Aidan to the park, feeding and following him until he grew tired. He engaged in a meltdown (dropped to ground, threw water bottles, took off shoes and propelled those at my head). As soon as we arrived home I bathed, changed and fed exhausted Aidan and held him until he fell asleep. Aidan’s circadian rhythm is discombobulated as he tends to wake from 2am staying up till after 5am, singing and jumping in his homemade crib, next to my bed. Why did I choose to share this aspect of my life on the same day as my other kids’ first day of school, as opposed to posting an adorable picture? For a couple reasons. First, to describe the details of my REAL life, not a “perfect” depiction of what I want people to perceive my life to be. Second, to provide a contextualization for both my supportive followers, and the condemnatory critics, as to what truly matters in my life: my family. Forgive me kind, supportive followers for failing to post frequently. I am a bit busy. #AutismMom #ILoveMyFamily ❤️
The video showed Aidan playing outside, tossing dirt and sand around, apparently fixated on the ground. When Suleman tried to talk to him, he responded in apparent frustration, and eventually lurched to his feet, walking around the fenced-in area with his arms cocked in front of him.
"Aidan is non-verbal, requires feeding, changing (he is not potty trained), bathing, and one to one supervision, as he has no safety awareness and would walk aimlessly into traffic," Suleman explained. "I, his mother, am, and always have been, his ONLY care provider."
Suleman went on to note that caring for Aidan and her other 13 children is her "job" and her "life," with no other pursuits to get in the way. She added that she has years of experience with permanent disabilities, including ruptured discs in her spine "causing bilateral sciatica, irreparable sacral damage, and peripheral neuropathy."
However, Suleman has carried on through her own disabilities for the sake of her children, and her post seemed to say that it was all worth it. She explained that this video was taken after she dropped off 11 of her other children at their first day of school. Since Aidan attends a separate special needs program, he has not returned yet, so she took him to the park for their one-on-one time, which ended in a "meltdown."
"Why did I choose to share this aspect of my life on the same day as my other kids’ first day of school, as opposed to posting an adorable picture?" Suleman wondered.
She gave two answers to her rhetorical question. First, she wanted to "describe the details of "my REAL life," hoping to shake off some of the stigma and assumptions that she feels are foisted upon her. Second, she wanted the world to get some context on her actions, which she said are all in service of her family.
"Forgive me kind, supportive followers for failing to post frequently. I am a bit busy," she concluded.0comments
Suleman did not get much sympathy in the comments of her post. Many argued that her short essay was self-centered and that she herself seemed to view Aidan as a burden. Others questioned her narrative, arguing that she must have help in caring for Aidain and her other children, at least when she makes media appearances.
Suleman did not respond to these detractors.