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Shing's Story 2016-04-15

When Shing was at 1-year-old, his development was very different from that of his sister’s, in which we realized that he had no eye-contact while interacting with others. Half a year later, we brought him to the Maternal and Child Health Centre in order to get an assessment or possible treatment, however the nurse didn’t think it was necessary because the assessment and treatments were very costly. Finally, at the age of 2, Shing was given an assessment at the government hospital and sadly diagnosed of Autistic.

I was very disappointed and frightened because the hospital did not provide any plans for treatment, all I could do was to go look for services for my son from various organizations with hopes of getting suitable therapy for Shing. His condition however did not improve. It was until we came across a one-month intensive training ‘ABA’ offered by Autism Partnership Foundation that we found hope again with Shing’s condition getting better. 

Before the training, Shing was not able to pronounce words properly, neither could he communicate, show reaction or have eye-contact with others. Therapist at the Autism Partnership Foundation assisted him in imitating different sounds, guided him to make active contact with others and arouse his interest in learning while making him more focused. After only a few days of training, Shing was already able to point to different objects, pronounce one-syllable words, make greetings after 2 weeks and able to take in orders and recognize patterns on playing cards after a month. As a parent, it was fascinating to see my son has improved so dramatically, especially from a state when he did not want to have contact with anyone to when he is willing to communicate and have less repetitive motions.

Compared with other therapies, I think ABA is very effective for children like Shing. He used to receive group training but the effect was not promising because the instructor had to take care of a group of children, which was hard for them to take in what was taught. When it comes to one-to-one training, each session is normally only 45-minutes with very little taught and neither was it useful.

ABA uses a long duration, repetitive training, where children can grasp the main points more easily. Patience of the therapist in teaching and guiding the child made even simple matching exercises effective. I think the therapy could also help Shing in emotion control, for instance, he used to cry in unfamiliar environments and did not know what to do when his parents were not around. But after the training, Shing knew clearly what he has to do and therefore I am positive about the results of ABA.

For underprivileged families, it is hard to provide therapy for autistic children consistently and I truly hope the government can give assistance and support for families with autistic children. In fact, I have tried to seek for other therapeutic services after the completion of the one-month ABA training, however they are too expensive to afford. For that, I hope the Autism Partnership Foundation can provide follow up services such as meetings between the therapist and parents to check on the child’s progress.

In addition, I have participated at the talks and workshops organized by the Autism Partnership Foundation in order to learn more about the ABA and the importance of the role of the family for children’s development. Shing and his sister’s relationship improved too, while they start to understand eachother’s needs, conflicts are reduced. As for me, I try to communicate with Shing more often and guide him into making sounds, pointing at objects and pronouncing words. Joining these activities has helped our family a great deal, giving us hope and eliminating our fear.

We are very grateful to the Autism Partnership Foundation and Quincy the therapist for her patience in answering our queries, we all miss her very much after the one-month training ended!