Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 26th 2015 Contents ing laws and then move on to the difficult
but not impossible task of enforcement.
Once we put the necessary support mech-
anisms in place as they did, I believe we
can also be successful in T&T. I feel the
Government has the responsibility to be the
forefront of increasing awareness which
would lead to acceptance of people with
autism and other disabilities. There is an
urgent need for our society to become a
more caring one. A society that is willing
to accept differences and diversity. People
with autism can contribute to our society
and indeed some businesses in the developed
countries are now employing people with
autism especially in the IT field.
If someone only reads a couple lines of
this interview what would you want them
I really wished they would read the entire
article however, I would like the readers to
know you can either fight autism or embrace
it. I have done both and fighting takes too
much energy. I am sure everyone else has
already repeatedly told them about the
downsides, heartaches and the difficulties
facing them on their journey with autism.
Life doesn t have to be perfect to be amazing
and my son is living proof of that.
Do you think fathers generally are ful-
filling their roles as involved people in the
support of their children with disabilities
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt April 26, 2015
Health, Ministry of Education and the Ministry
of People and Social Development implement all the
plans written in many policy documents.
On the other hand, parents and families need to
become empowered so they can become stronger
advocates and demand the services their children
need so they can achieve their fullest potential.
What are the some of the misconceptions or
misunderstandings about children with autism?
There are so many misconceptions about people
with autism but I will just list a few at the top of
• Many people or the relatives feel that autism
is caused by bad parenting. This is not so.
• A child must make eye contact in order to under-
stand verbal communication from another person.
For some children, looking away from a voice often
results in better communication.
• All people with autism prefer to spend their
time alone. While I agree this may be so sometimes,
but people with autism may want to interact socially
but may not naturally have the necessary social skills.
• A child will grow out of autism. It is a lifelong
disorder, but early intervention and the right support
at the right time can enhance a person with autism
• It is a mental condition/disease.
• People with autism are dangerous. While there
are many individuals who may exhibit aggressive
behaviours, those behaviours are almost caused by
frustration, physical and/or sensory overload and
similar issues. It is very rare for a person with autism
to act violently out of malice.
• Stimming (repetitive behaviour like flapping or
rocking) is undesirable and should be stopped. Repet-
itive behaviour like flapping or rocking can help
some people with autism deal with chaotic envi-
ronments or stress, or it may be a form of personal
expression and sometimes communication for people
While these may be a few, there are many other
misconceptions. I would like to encourage people to
educate themselves about autism to dispel all the
myths and learn the facts.
What do you wish someone had told you when
you found out your son had autism?
First, I would like to say that Kendell was not offi-
cially diagnosed until age six when we had the oppor-
tunity to travel abroad in 2003. I learnt about autism
after reading about it in a book I bought on the
roadside in 1999 while on my way to work. His pae-
diatrician at the time dispelled all notions and reas-
sured me it was not autism and that he did not look
autistic, he should be placed into a school so he
could learn to conform by following other children.
In 2000, ASTT was presenting a parent/teacher
training workshop and my sister-in-law invited me
along. I had the opportunity to learn more about
autism, the challenges that lay ahead and strategies
that will be useful.
However, at that moment, I felt scared and
depressed all at once about how the rest of our lives
clearly was going to change. I questioned my inability
to shield him forever from judgment, ridicule, and
mean children and adults. As I sat in my seat sobbing
inside, I wished someone had held my hand at that
moment and reassured me that everything was going
to be OK, reassured me that getting the services that
is needed will be easy to access and that my son
will be fine.
What do you think T&T has to do to reach the
level of North America and Europe when it comes
to opportunities for people with disabilities and
legislation protecting their rights?
T&T has not yet ratified the UN Convention on
the rights of persons with disabilities. We need
binding legislatives to be enacted or amend the exist-
Is your child autistic? Don't give up hope
From Page B1
Continues on Page B7
Links Archive April 25th 2015 April 27th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page