GLOSS Issue 2 ( July / August 2017 ) - Page 36

PA R E N T I N G social issues that they need to constantly battle with. Donna says, “I remember what a wreck I had become after Ethan’s diagnosis. I slumped into deep clinical depression. I did not want to meet anyone or do anything for myself. My life was all about Ethan and nothing and no one else.” children with special needs as part of society. Also, I would like other mums like myself to know what to look out for while their children are growing up so autism can be detected early. The earlier the detection, the better the help that can be rendered!” All these four inspiring mums who have overcome so much to give the best to their special children, understand the need to provide support to others like themselves. They are carrying on with initiatives in their own little way to create awareness on autism. Indeed, having a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has its challenges but also its joys. It is extremely important for us as a society to understand this condition and provide all the understanding and help to such families as we can. Dedra has taken her mission to create awareness Other than health and mental turbulences, having to another level altogether. She has produced a a child with special needs can take a severe toll on a documentary based on her child, Ibrahim, and marriage. For instance, Donna’s his journey named Lemonade. Other than health and marriage almost dissolved. She says, Lemonade has garnered a lot of “At one point, my husband and mental turbulences, appreciation as a made-in-the I were on the brink of a divorce. Emirates movie and has, in fact, having a child with The pressure on our lives was just won several awards like the Lady’s too great.” Fortunately, Donna and special needs can take a First International Film Festival, in her husband managed to save their Ireland for best executive producer. severe toll on a marriage. marriage with counselling. Things Dedra also uses the movie’s also improved for the better when Facebook page to invite other they moved to Dubai from South mums like herself to share their Africa. “We managed to find a good SEN school for experiences. She is now looking to gain support to Ethan and that took some pressure off us as he was create a fund for families like herself to have financial getting the right help. Ethan improved significantly help to provide trained care takers to kids with special and we then had our second child, Eli, who is two and needs. “The financial pressure is just too intense for a half now,” she tells. families like us. As a society, we need to help such families to provide the best care possible for these Unfortunately for Andrea, her marriage could not children.” survive the turbulence. She says, “I had little or no support from Oscar’s Dad. Last year, when we faced Andrea and Donna, who are also friends, wish to band difficulties and lack of support at Oscar’s school, his together to create an informal meet-up for mothers Dad was not supportive in my pursuit to help my son like themselves to get together possibly once a month. and our relationship was affected. We decided to part They feel that mums like themselves need an outlet ways.” to voice out their concerns to other mums who will Andrea is now bringing up Oscar and her younger identify with and understand them, and guide them daughter, Maisie, as a single mother. in the right direction. Currently, Donna runs a parent support group on Facebook called ‘Autism Moms & Dads Dubai’. Creating Awareness Amina explains, “I am honest about my child and I let others know about his condition. He is my special child given by God and I am never ashamed of him. In fact, he brings such joy in my life in his own little way. Abdullah is so giving and loves me unconditionally”. Amina is happy to talk about her experiences with Abdullah and has done several live sessions on groups on social media to spread awareness. “Society needs to make things easier for parents like us and accept 36