Being a father
It was four years ago when on one afternoon, my wife and I staggered home from our local medical centre. Our then 3 year old daughter had been diagnosed with Autism. We knew we had a big challenge but we could not figure out the real size of it. This was followed by what seemed like endless appointments with different professionals.
Slowly we began to gain some footing. Asante started becoming our inspiration. Her love for routine made us more organised. She made us cry, laugh and more importantly be patient. We have met wonderful people along the way. And above all, we obtained our lesson that what Asante and all other people with Autism and severe learning disabilities want is to be understood.
There was a time when Asante's challenging behaviour had made us get to a dead end. The whole family was under a lot of stress. This prompted me to start on knocking on several doors. That's when I came across the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF).
After attending one of the CBF's workshops on Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), I realised that we had a very much needed tool in our hands. I started transferring what I had learnt from the workshop to all members of our family. We slowly started implementing family based PBS. It's been about four months since we started this but the changes are so remarkable. Most of the challenging behaviours are now being replaced by more positive behaviours and Asante is now developing her own lifestyle and her access to our local community is more regular than before. One of the things which brightens my day is being out and about in our local community with Asante.
The basis for my optimism in Asante's future is knowing how much I can contribute to prepare her in becoming as independent as possible. Sometimes all she needs is the words 'you can do it' and that makes her take a step which she has never taken before. Both Asante's mum and her brother who is now 16, could not resist laughing, when I once said that I can't wait to support Asante in doing some newspaper rounds along our street. Well, I thought she could love doing this sort of thing as she likes 'sorting out things' and putting them in different places.......