Let me first declare at the outset that I am by no means an expert in autism. I am not sure what makes one autistic, I have no idea what causes it, and more importantly, I haven't a clue on what to do to make it go away (in fact, I don't actually think it can ever go away..)

All I know and would like to do is share with you "autistic" tales of my beloved and gorgeous 4 year old son, Raiyan who was recently ( and finally) diagnosed to have the autistic spectrum disorder . Since becoming an "autism parent" in this age of internet technology, I have unsurprisingly been googling bits and pieces on autism as much as I could, in particular reading up the symptoms patients with ASD have and stories shared by other parents of their special children.

From my reading, I was also astonished to discover that there is 1 in 150 children in Brunei that suffers from autism or autism related disorders and yet I knew so little of it prior to Raiyan being diagnosed. I mean I knew autism existed as I have a cousin who is autistic but apart from knowing that it caused him to not be able to speak properly and constantly walk on his toes when he was younger, I knew nothing else. Whatever the case, I doubt anyone can deny the worryingly high statistics considering our small population.

In all honesty, Jeff and I did think Raiyan was possibly autistic as he still did not speak understandable language by the time he was 18 months, so that was when we brought him to have a year of ocupational and speech therapy at the Child Development Centre in Kiarong. However, in all those times Raiyan spent at CDC, not once was he ever diagnosed as having autism so being the relieved parents that we were, we quickly (perhaps admittedly too quickly) shoved the notion under the carpet and hoped for the best.

Though we did witness some progress thereafter, in particular he managed to build a vast amount of vocabulary and was even able to read before he turned three (!!), in the end, we were still highly concerned that at 4, he still wasn't able to have a conversation and was still speaking his demands using 2-3 words at most.

For that reason, we decided to shift him to ISB where we thought the learning process will be different from his previous school which we found was only really good in helping him read and write but was absolutely useless in helping him improve his communication skills. It was Raiyan's teacher at ISB who then referred us to a mother of Raiyan's classmate who, thank our lucky stars, is an applied behavioural analyst. It was at the first consultation meeting between her and Raiyan in early December that she told us in her professional opinion that Raiyan does indeed have ASD. We then briefly discussed therapy arrangements for Raiyan, which she advised should be as intensive as possible in these early stages (she actually said it would be preferable to start therapy at 2 years old but at 4, Raiyan is still well below the possible maximum age of 6, so hopefully there is still much hope for his case). Due to the unavailability of both herself and another therapist who works alongside her in December, we then decided to start immediately in the opening of the new year.

So tomorrow, when Jeff drops off Raiyan at school on the first day of the second term, he will be receiving the ABA programme prepared for Raiyan and insyaAllah, this journey for the betterment of Raiyan will officially commence.

Through this blog, I will share not only Raiyan's tales of the past and present (some of them, I am ashamed to admit are quite amusing actually!) but more importantly, I will share Raiyan's experience with the ABA treatment he will be going through in the hopes that I can help other autism parents to see and then choose if it is the kind of treatment they will be interested in.
Wish Raiyan loads of luck!


Anonymous said...

Hi. My son has just turned 4 2weeks ago, and he does possess many traits of ASD. I'm very very worried, been having rough nights myself. I would appreciate if you can share your knowledge with me; ABA practitioners in Brunei plus programs. You can reach me on my e-mail,
Thanks so much! Your entries are very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Hi. My son has just turned 4 2weeks ago, and is currently attending Kindy in an International school. He does possess some worrying traits of ASD, which worried me to my core! I would very much appreciate if you could share your experience in search of ABA practitioners in Brunei with me. My email address;
Thank you. Your entries are truly inspiring!

PURPOSE:Hoping for more understanding and less judgment from all.

 To show the importances of early intervention and an evidence based treatment to help reach the full potential of the child.

 Offering other parents hope to have faith in the positive progress of their child.

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