The Adventure of A Child with Special Need - The Search for Answers
This is a story from my friend's experience with autism. We thought it would be useful to share this with all of you.
Questions and Confusions
I knew that spending more time with my family and showering love for my son is much more important than anything else in this world.
Well…. when Keet was at the early age of 3, for me, the words of showering love seems a distant. All I knew was that I need to bring him to the therapies assigned by the doctors. As vivid as I can remember, those therapy offered by specialists were expensive. For each session of forty-five minutes and three times per week, it would have cost me an average a thousand dollar per month. Back then, as Keet was my only child, as an engineer, based on my salary to sustained the medical bills of Keet, it would have not been much an issue. But due to the intensive therapy sessions, I had left with not much a saving.
Desperate in search of a cure, not knowing that Autism is something very complex and related to the brain disorder caused by neurological dysfunction, all I knew was that the more the therapy applied, the faster will he recovered. Keet’s speech and language delays were major concern and need to be improved. Back then, he attended speech therapy twice a week. Degrees of impairment in Keet’s speech developmental were quite severe. Despite therapist effort, the progess of improvement was little.
Occupation Therapy or “OT” in short was of little help to Keet’s condition too. It trained his motor skills mainly on physical coordination such as crawling, climbing, jumping etc. However, after several months, there still shown no signs of improvement.
Desperately Seeking Answers
Back then or even in today asian society, cultures and practices differs from the Western countries. The term, “Autism” or “Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)” seems to have no meaning to the elders. My parent, especially my mum, decided to take things into her own hand. There was this occasion that she brought Keet to the temple in search of the solution.
To asian, that’s a common practice in search for an unknown answer. By seeking advises from the deity in the temple, one would be clear of all unknown disease and illness.
“No…..No…” exclaimed Keet, still speaking in single syllabus, as the grandmother dragged him into the temple.
“Mai Kia….Mai Kai, Lai, ah ma men sin…”, said my mum….translated, “ Don’t be afraid, come with grandma. We will ask the god of your problem.” Both my mum and Keet knee down in front of the deity.
Beside the main alter sat two men. One was a man with painted face and the other seems to be the interpreter. There was a scent of burning joss sticks and the room was hazy. My mum asked, “ Wo a soon mai kon wai…” translate “ my grandson cannot speak.”
The man whispered some code and then the guy with the painted face started into a trance. Keet was frightened and immediatey, he wanted to run away but was held down by my mother. As the shouting and erratic body motions from the man begin, Keet begins to look at me and shouted, “Papa…papa…help …..me….”. I felt so guilty in not being able to come to his aid.
As the man woke up from the trance, they said that my son was borne with a golden mouth and will only speak when he is five year old. Well, after paying the ang bao, “money”, we left the temple. In my mum’s mind, she must have gotten spiritual relief and comfort that things after two year later will work out by itself and be different.
However, to me, that doesn’t change anything. In fact, after seeing Keet being so frightened, I promised myself that that will not happened again.
However, in the later chapter of Keet’s life, he was met with same situations. Being imaginative and was always found talking to himself. After listening to some neighbors, my mum took Keet for another of those visits without my consents which later they told me that he possesses, “The Third Eye”.