07 August 2008

Autistic Kids

Caught this very encouraging video on mrbrown's blog, taken by Faith's (mrbrown's daughter) special ed teachers.

In a way, mrbrown and I have many in common. We are both from ACS (he being 2 years my senior), we have a family of our own, we both have a daughter named Faith and we both have an autistic kid.

Only difference is that instead my Faith, it's Gabriel that has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which is a milder variant of autism.

As parents, we are both worry if our kids are going to be able to take care of themselves independently when we are gone. Granted that this is something very far into the future to fret about, it nevertheless is always on our minds since the day of the discovery.

Autism is a condition, not a disease i.e. there is no cure for it. Our only hope is that the kid's own development would be able to start kicking into gear and eventually catch up with the rest of the kids or at the very least not fall too far behind.

Having autism does not mean that the person will not be able to fit into the mainstream of society but we worry that we may fall under the probability that our kids would not be able to gain functional independence when they grow up.

I was in Hong Kong last week to play tour guide to a good friend and his family. Over lunch, we talked about Faith going to PLMGS next year for Primary 1 and then we went on to talk about what school to sign Gabriel up when it come to his turn to be of age for primary education.

I shared my concerns if Gabriel can even qualify for a mainstream education given his condition.

"Aiyah! Sure can one lah! Still got 2 years to catch up mah!" exclaimed the wife in her typical auntie gesture, short of putting up one leg on the chair as I was jolted out of my chair with her shrill that got the neighbouring tables staring.

I was very heartened by her great faith (no pun intended) in Gabriel.

Thank you.

- Voxeros

1. fitti left...
Friday, 8 August 2008 8:56 am
I work with children with special needs. And although they have more catching ups to do and require more understandings from others about why they behave in certain ways, they are very much like any other child. And they have good days and bad, too. Honestly speaking, some mainstream schools may not be the best for them because some Singaporean parents can be very "nabeh". There is still time for you to decide what's best for Gabe. From what I see from the picture, Gabe is a happy child and has good parents. That's most important. =)

2. Joc left...
Friday, 8 August 2008 10:39 am
good to have discovered it early for intervention to take place. someone close to me is suspected to have asperger's and the person is already in secondary schl. difficult to 'intervene' from such age, and it's really quite sad to see the person sometimes doing things which are not of social norms and getting bullied for it.

3. JayWalk left...
Friday, 8 August 2008 12:35 pm :: 
fitti: What do you mean by some parents very "nabeh"?

Joc: Hi Joc. Welcome to the blog. So the person in question is in mainstream school and actually made it to secondary school? How did he survive until then?

4. grasshopper left...
Friday, 8 August 2008 1:22 pm
It's attentive and caring parents like you who detected things early and that enables the kids to receive appropriate help. I'm only too glad that he is a very healthy boy who is enjoying his childhood. Having kids is like that lah~ the parents do what they can and the rest is up to them, and fate. Take care.

5. grasshopper left...
Friday, 8 August 2008 1:37 pm
great video. Thanks for "gop-ing" it over to your blog. I haven't check for a while.

6. JayWalk left...
Friday, 8 August 2008 3:00 pm :: 
Grasshopper: I can't really take much credit here since I am away most of the time. Wife is the pillar of strength here.

7. fitti left...
Friday, 8 August 2008 8:33 pm
There are understanding parents around but some I met were so discouraging. They told their children that the autistic children are "stupid" and not to be their friends. I am normally very calm but when it comes to this, I am very jumpy. My sis who teaches in a mainstream sch told me that some parents "petitioned" for an autistic child to be transferred out so that their class standard would not be affected. BUAY TAHAN! I teach them everyday and they are definitely not stupid. They just function abit differently from others. For the record, one child, Christian, could type out a short story on his own using his pc and composed his own music with the piano and he is like, 6? Christian is an American and he has very supportive parents and classmates who like him for who he is. Ok, rant finished liao. *calms down*

8. JayWalk left...
Saturday, 9 August 2008 1:38 pm :: 
fitti: Ah yes, those parents who thinks autism is some kind of a contagious disease and may spread to their kids when in contact.

Yup. Damn nabeh one.

9. Joc left...
Sunday, 10 August 2008 12:33 pm
warrao, u know who joc is lah! haha! well, he gets along in life like how mild hearing-impaired people gets along in life. cos it's so mild, people (including themselves) do not know/detect it early. some struggles here and there, etc etc. heard he got bullied in schl in the past but things are better now..

10. sunflower left...
Monday, 11 August 2008 6:13 am
Don't worry, Gabriel will have all our blessing. :)

11. JayWalk left...
Monday, 11 August 2008 12:09 pm :: 
joc: I do? Joc = Joceyln? Anyway, glad to hear that the boy is turning out better now.

sunflower: Thanks for the blessing. :)

12. Pam left...
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 1:39 am
hey you...sorry to hear this. *big hugs*. I hope wifey's coping ok. will Gabe be going for therapy/special classes? xx

13. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 10:26 am :: 
Pam: It's ok, we are taking this in our stride. Gabe is attending special school now.

14. nonchann left...
Thursday, 14 August 2008 3:25 am
Hi, I remember commenting about your son sometime back. I am sorry to hear about the diagnosis but do take heart that it's spotted early. With early intervention, Gabe can be in a regular mainstream school too! Even if he can't, there's Pathlight School. I believe I mentioned this before. They offer mainstream education for children with autism, a safe haven from people that might bully them for they are. It's pretty near PLMGS as it's in AMK.

You and your family will have a big part to play in helping Gabe develop himself. The most important thing is not to give up and believe in him.=)

15. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 14 August 2008 12:55 pm :: 
nonchann: Thanks for the resource. Would definitely check out Pathlight School.

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