Mohammad*, the youngest of three children, is six years old. One of his sisters struggles with epilepsy. He has been diagnosed with autism. When Mohammad came to our Disabled Afghan Rehabilitation Project (DARP), he was very much in his own world and his mother had to hold him firmly by the hand at all times to control him. She had lost hope that her son would ever be able to connect with other people or learn or calm down.
After a few sessions of therapy in DARP, Mohammad was able to connect in a special way with the occupational therapist. In his own way, without any eye contact, he would tell him what he wanted to do or what he disliked. While talking with the mother, the social worker realised that she had never been given any information on autism and because she was illiterate, she could not find out for herself. She gave her some basic information and introduced her to a centre for children with autism. The mother was very hesitant about going and was concerned about the costs and how to get there. She wondered if Mohammad could learn anything at all. Finally she went to have a look. She could hardly contain her joy when she told the social worker that all the children there were like her son! She was delighted that neither registration nor transport would cost anything.
Now Mohammad is on their waiting list. We hope that he will get to know the other children there and find a place to socialize in a safe environment. Hopefully this will allow his mother some well-deserved rest and respite after six years of intensively caring for him.
* name changed