Monday, October 27, 2008

How did Autism affect me?


As I grew up I never heard the word Autism...


although my mom is a pediatrician ...growing up in the 80s & 90s between 2 Arab countries ...Egypt & Saudi Arabia....I never once heard the word....


Nonthelesss I had a cousin ...he was much younger than me...at the time politically correct labels were not used & we knew he was mentally retarded....He lived with the rest of the family in a small town off Mansoura...a rural area...that lacked any facilities that can deal with his special needs...


Ofcourse looking back my dear cousin was Autistic & in no way was he mentally retarded....he communicated with the rest of the world in his own unique style....he was behind in his language development & ofcourse his social skills....but I remember very well that he could memorise the small suras after only hearing them 3 times...


I remember also his 1st day of school when he was dropped off to the nearby school only to find him back at the house half an hour later after the teacher told to go home & not come back....


He had a good experience within a special school...but unfortunatly it did not last for very long as the school was closed after the '92 earthquick ...now his only passtime was spending the whole day roaming the streets & the farm land around his house...he had to bear the abuse of kids on the streets making fun of the way he talked or whatever he did....we had a close bond ...him & me....


I felt I had an obligation to do something for kids like him...& sobhan Allah ...one day I was watching TV...it was during my 2nd year in Med school...& someone was talking about starting an organization for special needs...I wrote an entry in my journal that day...it was like making an oath to make it my purpose in life to make a school or a home for kids with special needs...


I forgot all about this oath ...for years...& what happened after my graduation was only an act of Almighty Allah...I became a Psychaitrist..I specialised in Child Psychiatry...& now I'm responsible for an Autism center in Mansoura that is home for over 10 families living with Autism...I feel that every time I try to take another route than this one Allah pushes me with His gentle guiddness to this road again....


Alhamdu leLah ...I'm most grateful for having my cousin in my life...to remind me of all the good things that I can do to help them & through that I may heal my own wounds....


1 comment:

Noi said...

Wow, this is so inspirational...thank you. I shall be dropping by here often. We seem to have a lot in common ;)