Caresociety's Blog

Archive for September 2009

‘Please’ is a campaign to help people with disabilities in the Maldives.

These children and young adults do not have sufficient services available to them. They are treated at best as second-class citizens and we aim to create awareness amongst the general public and raise funds for CDC (Care development center) in Care Society. We need your support to successfully manage this and in turn help kids who are in such situations. Please, Help!

Under the ‘ Please’ campaign we have organised a Read-a-thon in all the school in Male’, Villingili and Hulhumale’. ‘Read-a-thon for charity’ commenced on 13th of September 2009. Students of all participating school are given the opportunity to raise funds to help people with disabilities at CDC, by reading books. Parents are going to sponsor their child to read books. They are going to donate MRF 3.00 to every book the child reads over the following two weeks.

Please campaign is also centered around raising awareness about people with disabilities in the Maldives. Five documentaries are being produced depicting the hopes, dreams and every day lives of five different children with different disabilities.

Further more, a music show will be held on the 1st of October 2009, to emphasize the importance of this campaign. Helping people with disabilities is not only their families’ responsibility. It is our responsibility as a nation. Through this campaign we hope to mediate a way for people to learn about these disabilities and help them via donations.

Stop needing me all the time’… was a mother’s exhausted plea from the constant demands,
apart from the rest of the household responsibilities, on her by her eldest child.
It was a line I heard long time back when my friend gave me a book authored by the mother
of three children, two of whom were autistic. It was complete with lots of insightful
valuables on working with children with autism.
And that specific line touched my friend’s heart.

At the time when I heard the words, I was far…way too far to feel even remotely needed by my child.
He was barely four and was fiercely independent. So independent that he could care less
whether I existed in the world with him. I used to wonder who he thought I was. He’d never call me ‘mamma’…and just used my hands as a tool to get objects beyond reach…or to operate electronic gadgets that were beyond his knowledge. Sometimes I felt he recognized my hands better than he knew my face. Being autistic (As if that explains everything) he’d never looked at me……………..besides me, above me, through me…Yes…but never at me.

I used to become a clown when I thought he was staring at me…I’d widen my eyes, stick out my tongue, wriggle my ears and make all sorts of weird noises only to find his eyes still glued to the same spot just beyond me, when I move. I recall several of these instances where I had to blink back tears of disappointment.
I’d call out his name hundreds of times and get zero reaction…I’d force his face towards mine
and his eyes would never meet mine. It was as if he was immune to people’s my face.

Once I braved the circumstances and took him out to the beach. As soon as we reached the white stretch of sand I let the little body wriggle out of my arms and walk towards the sea. He looked so grown up and so beautiful. And I remember feeling momentarily proud…that is before I realized he wasn’t looking for me for guidance. The little legs just carried him away from me…and never for a moment did he turn back and see whether I followed. He would have gone to the depths of the sea and drowned had I not forcefully retrieved him to safety. He fought tooth and nails of course…At the moment I was his enemy. Scratching and biting he never realized I was just protecting him.

I used to see little children running to their mothers when they fall down or get hurt…And I used to get teary eyed at how they look at their mothers…. with so much trust….and immediately get well when their mothers’ kiss away their pains…I had wanted my son to come to me too when he got hurt or when he had troubles….I wanted him to trust me blindly like only a child could trust, his mother. But it was not to be….whenever he fell down he’d scream and squirm and run out of my reach….His hurt was his alone.
I was not to be a part of his pain. He’d rarely cry and would prefer covering it with the softness of the pillow than letting me comfort him to recovery.

He had an aversion to touch…He had an aversion to kisses…He had an aversion to people…
He would never let me hug him…pushing me away as if saying ‘I don’t need you’….And he never seemed to understand what my actions screamed… that I needed him…that I wanted him to love me. That I wanted to know the reasons when he smiles and the reasons why he cries. I wanted him not to deprive me of the happiness of being a mother.

We drifted more apart when I started working, spending nearly the whole day working with other children and returning in the evening…dead tired and dreading the time we’d be spending together in each others company. He’d be frustrated and bored. And we’d clash horribly when I try to train, teach and monitor his behavior and time.

When I finally decided to get better training opportunities for him, and a better understanding of autism and other disabilities for myself, I was nearly defeated. Far from being the nurturing mother and loving son, we were strangers…I to his world…and he to mine. Between us there was an unresolved animosity…until at the age of nine, a complete year after we moved….and then he began the journey towards the bridge that joined my world to his.

We’ve since passed that phase. He still has not reached halfway towards my world…But both he and I haven’t given up. Language has come amidst painstaking efforts. And with the ability to communicate we’ve solved most of those situations where previously we’d have faced frictions discord and tantrums.

Reading and writing and using the computer too has proved really helpful when he cannot manage to make me understand his needs orally.

Best thing of all is his relationship with me. I’ve finally found my son…who was so lost in the wilderness called autism, I was afraid he’d still be there in adulthood oblivious to everything happening in the real world.

And when we go out now, I find his hand reaching out for mine…and when he wants something from the shopping centers…..his eyes would search mine for approval. When he wants food at a restaurant he’d look direct at my face and read out his order. Now my attempts at making him laugh do not go fruitless…Rarely would I see him not break in to an amused smile….and his laughter when he is happy is just contagious…A more beautiful sound I’ve yet to hear.

It gives me deep pleasure knowing that my son understands I’m his mother. And his need of me is something I’ve only dreamed of for the first nine and a half years of his life.

He follows me now like only a shadow would it’s subject. He trusts me to make him better when he gets ill….letting me rub balm or give massages…he trusts me with getting his daily list of shopping before he comes from school…He trusts me with his interaction with others, knowing I can fill the spaces in the words he doesn’t know…and when he wakes up he trusts that I’d be there for him every morning… that I’d be there to go through his night routine…. In short he trusts me with his life.
And now sometimes, amidst housework, studies and the graphic designing work that I’ve started, and his constant following for something or other, I find myself silently pleading him to ‘stop needing me all the time’ 🙂

(Written by Aishath Rishtha. who was a teacher at CDC and a parent)


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  • Care Soceity: Yes, students can volunteer at Care Society. Please fill in the necessary forms. We will post them on the blog soon. Thank you
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  • rooza: hi, I would like to voluntarily work with you. What should I do. and where could I find the forms.