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“My daughter is teachable!” 2020-02-21

Parents who take care of children with autism are generally under tremendous pressure. They usually have very little personal time and ignore their health and needs. Reina’s mother is a single mother. She had been exhausted from taking care of Reina alone and developed mental illnesses. “I think it was me to cause Reina to have autism,” Reina’s mother said. She recalled that she cried when Reina was diagnosed with autism. At the age of two, Reina could only speak a few words, often threw tantrums and hit herself. She was always energetic and refused to sleep at night. Reina’s mother did not know how to handle Reina’s behavioural problems, so she always satisfied Reina’s needs.

Reina’s mother hoped to return to the workplace and to arrange treatment for Reina. However, there were many constraints in reality, “Reina often got sick and I had to look after her. It is hard for an employer to accept an employee like me who has to take leave frequently.” In addition, their living environment was very poor due to sewage and mosquitoes. Both of them could not sleep well. Reina’s mother had no chance to take a break and felt her life was very difficult, “I feel so helpless that I have to face all these challenges alone.” She has eventually diagnosed with some mental health problems and needs to take medication.

A social worker had suggested that Reina’s mother arrange Reina to study at a Residential Special Child Care Centre (RSCCC), but she refused. Until she realised that Reina truly lacked basic self-care skills, she started to reconsider the suggestion. She was afraid that if she fell sick, no one would take care of Reina, so she finally sent Reina to a RSCCC.

Reina’s mother applied for APF’s treatment programme for her daughter. Reina’s ability to follow instructions and her level of compliance has improved significantly after receiving a month of intensive ABA treatment. Reina’s mother was very happy and regained confidence in Reina’s learning ability. “Now I know my daughter is still teachable!” she said. The effectiveness of the treatment has given Reina’s mother a boost and made her realise the importance of intensive and quality treatment. She has decided to take good care of herself first and will bring Reina back home someday. Although they are temporarily separated, their hearts are still connected closely.

Reina’s mother was invited to share her perspective on ASD and ABA services with Autism Partnership Foundation (operating in Hong Kong) (APF, HK). Reina is a past beneficiary of APF, HK.