Syakirah and Danial
It was April 2013 when experts in CDC told us that our daughter, Syakirah was diagnosed with ASD. We were crush when we found out. Our hearts broke as my wife and I are teachers in secondary school, we have seen students living with ASD being isolated, being ignored, some are unruly and many are bully.
We enrolled our daughter at SMARTER in early June 2013. During this time our daughter usually screams and had tantrums for hours. She will refuse to go to SMARTER at times and have to force her to go. At times we felt defeated and lost as parents. One day I notice a normal looking and very talkative girl and was quite surprised to found out that she is a student at SMARTER. Her name was Win Chee. Win Chee’s parent told me that she used to be isolated and very quiet. Acceptance, patience and a lot of hard work from both parents and therapists are the key for what she is today. Win Chee become our inspiration. We were quite lucky that we have detected it very early and to do early intervention were possible. We saw a great difference with Syakirah now. She’s very loving and caring girl. She is able to communicate, express her feeling, able to read and write, make jokes and tease and so much more. She is academically inclined and able to follow normal academic class. We are elated to her vast improvement
Syakirah’s younger brother, Danial was also diagnosed with ASD. Although, it was disheartening as we hoped that he could help Syakirah, but we see this as a blessing as they can understand each other happiness and hardship more. As parents of an autistic child we have realise that the most important thing is acceptance. Accepting the fact that our child is special and different. This difference can result in isolation due to the inability of them to communicate with other children of the same age. Many kids don’t understand and don’t have the patience to tolerate or trying to understand why. It’s heartbreaking to see that everyday. As a parent you feel that pain does not decrease even though you experienced it many time. We are lucky we have full support from families of both sides. As both of our children did not feel left out and felt comfortable in family gatherings. Spending time with them and treating as normal as they we can does help in improving them to cope in this ever confusing world.
Having two autistic kids is a blessing. The experience so far is joyful. We love them very much and will continue to help and guide them as much as possible to be an independent, confident, happy individuals. We pray to Allah for good health and longevity for us to be able to do so.
For the past few months, there seem to be a lot of improvements for Darwishsyah especially in talking and following instructions. He can now talk with sentences up to 3 to 5 words. We are able to tell him simple instruction and he is able to follow what he needs to do. He is now able to identify items at home such as basket, door, glass etc. Due to his ability to comprehend and talk, we encounter fewer tantrums at home. Darwishsyah has also started to know numbers and alphabets. We realized this as he seemed to try to type words when using his ipad. He also seemed to be singing a lot nowadays. He will be humming to music almost every time when he is on his own.
Nevertheless, we are still having quite a challenge in some of his habits such as spitting, pushing people and buying toiletries. He spits and pushes people especially when we have visitors at home. We assumed it is his way of welcoming others or perhaps due to excitement with having families visit him at home. We are not sure why he likes to spits. We have tried to tell him not to do so, but for this habit, it is quite difficult for him to listen and obey to our instruction.
For the habit of buying toiletries, this occurred before. The habit came back last month. He will usually buy toiletries such as Colgate mouth wash and moisturizing cream. He seemed to be easily influenced by the advertisements that we watched on television. We are hoping this habit will be gone in a month or so. We have encountered this before and usually it last for few months. We tried letting him bring along the toiletries at home when he go shopping with us. But he will want to buy a new set of toiletries.
Currently, that are the only challenges that we have with Darwishsyah. We are happy that he could relate to almost all of our family. He especially relates a lot to his brother and cousins. We have no problem of sending him to Smarter daily though it’s difficult to wake him up in the morning due to him being awake till really late. We would like some help in finding some way to tackle his habit. We would also like to enhance his capabilities in learning the alphabets and numbers as it seems that he is trying to make out and type his favourite words. He seemed to be confused with some of the alphabets for example between the alphabets “E” and “B”. We would also appreciate if we can have some copies of the pictures that are used in class for interaction. It was stated in his report that Darwish is able to express his needs verbally and clearly with the support of pictures.