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Treatment improved relationship between the two sisters Taiwanese mother decided staying in Hong Kong for family reunion 2021-12-15

We interviewed a mother from Taiwan with two daughters, she talked about her struggles and gains in taking care of Risa, her little daughter with autism.

When Risa was two years old, she would often spin and did not speak at all, which was completely different from the growth of her elder sister. Risa’s mother soon felt that Risa was a little strange, “When Risa started to cry, she would cry for a long time, like for half an hour to an hour. I didn’t know how to comfort her. I thought that she might have developmental delay or autism.” Risa’s parents were anxious about it, so the mother took Risa to Taiwan for an assessment.

After Risa had been diagnosed with autism, the parents applied for treatment services in Hong Kong. However, they struggled with whether Risa should stay in Taiwan or Hong Kong for treatment. Risa’s mother stated that Taiwan provides a lot of resources for children with autism. Many schools have “integrated classes”. Teachers are able to teach children with autism to obey the rules and also teach parents how to conduct training for their children. On the contrary, the resources provided by the Hong Kong government are inadequate, and the waiting time for services is too long. “Risa has waited for a place at Special Child Care Centres since nursery class till kindergarten three now, but she’s still waiting.”

Risa’s mother originally decided to take Risa to Taiwan and study there, but then decided to stay in Hong Kong after Risa had received a month of intensive Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) treatment at APF. Risa’s mother said that Risa used to repeat others’ words merely. Risa now speaks more and can chat with people. “Risa sits nicely and writes in class now, and is more well behaved. She would also actively ask others what they like to eat.” The most important change is that the relationship between Risa and her sister has improved. “When Risa’s sister touched her, she didn’t like it and pulled her hand away. Now Risa likes being with her sister. They play hide-and-seek together and discuss what clothes to wear. They even kiss each other before going to bed.”

Risa’s parents could not bear to let the two daughters separate. Risa’s mother also felt the warmth of the whole family staying in Hong Kong and wanted to overcome all kinds of difficulties together. “I don’t want the family to be separated. As long as parents have patience and are willing to spend time with the children, the children will gradually improve. Their growing paths will become easier.”

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