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Take a step to make new friends 2019-01-14

Taking care of a child with autism requires a lot of patience and understanding. Chun’s mother revealed that she did not know how to help Chun deal with his emotions. She would get angry easily when Chun lost his temper. But there was once Chun said to her, “I’ve told you not to get angry” and she suddenly realised that in many ways children are mirrors of their parents. She is now working hard at controlling her emotions, but she still worries a lot about Chun’s emotions and his social development. Her sharing is as below:

In the past, Chun only connected with adults and resisted interactions with children. He just stayed at the corner of his school’s play area all the time. Whenever I encouraged him to play with others, he got angry immediately and said “I don’t want to play.” In fact, by looking at his facial expressions, I knew that he had the desire to interact with other children but was afraid of being rejected. In the past school year, Chun had very few opportunities to communicate with his schoolmates. I was distressed to hear him keep saying “I don’t want to go to school.”

For me, the most important thing for my child is not his academic achievement but social development. I always hope that Chun can study in a school which takes good care of children with special educational needs. Chun is very sensitive to others’ comments. He easily misunderstands people and thinks negatively. I am also worried that he would be excluded, ridiculed or bullied at school because he is a child with autism. I believe good social skills play a key role in Chun’s happy learning.

Chun had joined one-month one on one intensive Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) treatment at Autism Partnership Foundation (APF), and then joined the “Learning Buddies” programme afterwards for helping him improve his social skills. After six months of training, he is now able to walk into the crowd. I am really happy to see such a significant improvement! Chun used to throw a tantrum easily when he could not get the toys he wanted. He has become more patient and can take turns playing the toys. Besides, there are fewer arguments between Chun and his younger brother. He is now a self-disciplined boy who often takes the initiative in reminding his friends.

The happiest thing is that Chun would share new games with me and try his best to explain the rules even though his presentation and organisational skills are limited. It is worth joining “Learning Buddies” as I can see Chun’s great improvement. I desperately hope that Chun can study in a school which cares for children with autism and provides the most appropriate assistance for them, after his graduation from “Learning Buddies”.

(Recorded by APF)