My son Emile was diagnosed with Autism at 3 years old. “Thérèse “ the neurologist said, “ your son has Autism, he will never have a normal life. You can start grieving now because your life will never be the same.” He added. “ Now, I may be able to help him talk but he may never meet his milestones, I will also refer you to get different services for more help to improve his being .”
Sure enough my baby was not doing anything like his peers, he was crying or laughing for no reason, he was not making eye contacts with anyone, he wanted to play alone. He will stare at things for hours and didn’t want to stop playing. He had a severe receptive and expressive speech delay.
After a period of grief, I decided to take advantage of these services that were available to us. We went to speech therapy 3 times a week, occupational therapy twice a week, tried horseback riding therapy, water therapy and I took some training in understanding and dealing with a child with Autism.
After all the hard work, Emile is now able to express himself, he can do everything that any kid is able to do. He may do it slowly or late however, he is doing it. My son would never have been as functional as he is if he had been in the Congo. Instead, he would have been hidden away somewhere or tied up so he wouldn’t go anywhere.
There is no early intervention and many parents don’t even know about this condition. There are no services such as speech, occupational, ABA therapy for kids with Autism or the right of education for these children.
In Congo, parents often cast their children away as cursed or that they are possessed by evil.
If I can give even one child an opportunity to say hello through this program, my job will be done.