by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
I was browsing through Facebook one day when I came across a beautifully written article entitled “A Puzzle Piece.”
It was posted by a friend of mine and she said that it was written by her son. When I found out about his condition, my heart was touched, and I knew I just had to share his story and his literary piece with the world. Fourteen-year-old Leonardo Makisig “Kisig” Orozco is from Roxas City, Philippines and is the second among three siblings. He is currently a ninth-grade student.
Upon the recommendation of his kindergarten teachers at an inclusive-progressive school, his parents had a consultation with the development pediatrician who visited the school regularly.
Kisig was diagnosed with mild autism and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) at the age of seven.
According to his mother, Gerlen, it was only a confirmation of her hunch based on red flags she noticed about him since he was a toddler.
Kisig had difficulties keeping still in enclosed spaces as he would shout randomly and could not remain immobile for long periods.
He has many sensory processing issues such as being overly sensitive to sounds, cloth texture, and food taste, among others. He also seemed to have a poor adaptation to social cues and norms.
Despite his condition, Kisig has a beautiful mind, excellent hands, and a special heart. His name which means ‘splendor’ and ‘elegance’ in Filipino reflects the kind of person he is.
He is into digital arts, and he likes to draw fan art characters as well as original ones. Recently, his writing compositions have earned top marks at school. His mom said that he has a strong sense of morals and is justice-sensitive.
Here’s his beautiful literary piece that captured my heart and allowed me to see his extraordinary mind.
A Puzzle Piece By Kisig Orozco
If I were a thing, I would be a puzzle piece. It would hold an incomplete picture, and the other puzzle pieces are nowhere to be found. Someone could look at it with curiosity and wonder what the result would be if it were whole. Another could look at the puzzle piece and try to give it a place to fit in, making their own picture.
The puzzle piece would be blurry, and hazy; you couldn’t tell what it was or what it was trying to be. People would criticize it for its indefinite shape and be harsh on its flaws and muddied colors.
I can relate to it because, like this puzzle piece, I am not something you can enjoy just yet; I am unfinished.
I would not say I need others to be complete. Anyone could decide I am enough and cherish me as if I were a painting made by a virtuoso. It might prove hard to do so though since my edges are jagged and rough and not smoothened by time and experience. So usually people do not like interacting with me, and if they had to it would’ve been brief and shallow. I grew used to it, but at the same time, I hoped I didn’t have to.
Because of this, I have few people close to me. These are the people who decided to look past my uneven shape and blurred defects and instead viewed me for what I am. Not focusing on what I was or what I could’ve been. I treasure them dearly, for they are the ones that keep my colors warm and my future bright.
I hope for a day when I wouldn’t be so full of flaws, and when passers-by would look at me in awe instead of disappointment or dissatisfaction. I know the world doesn’t work this way though, so as I gradually piece myself together and my finish comes to a close, I’ll accept whatever picture I turn out to be.
Kisig, like a puzzle piece–indefinite, incomplete and jagged–makes the masterpiece complete and beautiful.
He is just one of the many around the world who are struggling with the same condition but in many forms.
They are all fearfully and wonderfully made. They are special.
Yes, they pose an extra challenge to their parents but they bring joy that outweighs any hardship.
Parents who are raising children with autism spectrum disorder are truly remarkable. They are indeed people who exhibit great strength, patience, endurance and great love.
If you are reading this and you are one, I applaud you. You are awesome!
May the words of Kisig’s mom Gerlen bring encouragement to every amazing parent who raises very special people: “It’s important to belong to a community that helps us with our struggles.”
“Parenting a neurodiverse child can tremendously affect all aspects of life and at times, our coping skills and reservoir of strength can get depleted. When feelings of inadequacy and despair hit me, it felt like I’m close to falling off a precipice after trudging on an uphill climb,” she explained.
“During these moments, I intentionally seek help by reaching out to people with kindred minds, and souls, teacher-advocates, and fellow parents who listen without judgment but with compassion and sound pieces of advice. They serve as my sounding board who can validate my concerns and offer support as we navigate through the stages of grief, adjustment, acceptance, and celebration. Having and regaining a healthy mindset and stable emotions allow me to refocus on the bigger picture: the sovereign God has gifted me with a child such as he, and I will trust Him!”
This month, we celebrate Kisig and the many puzzle pieces scattered around the world that create a beautiful masterpiece.
by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan