Date: Feb 13, 2013
I start my mail with this beautiful saying that motivates me everyday.
"Stagnation is death and Movement is life, Today well lived will make every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope ".
I would like to inform you that Firas will be leaving to Riyadh on 28th February . At this moment I am in short of words, but this mail is a "BIG THANK YOU " for all that Firas has achieved .
THANK YOU for teaching him to relate to the world that spins around him.THANK YOU for making a whole lot of difference in his world. THANK YOU for everything you have done and will continue to do to create a better future for Firas. There is no other profession that so directly, shapes the lives of our children.I want to thank you for doing the most important work of all -Teaching SPECIAL CHILDREN. THANK YOU for being there!!!
Thanks Smita,for your amazing programme, let me tell you' YOU ARE THE BEST'. Karuna, for literally being a pillar in times of crisis, for listening and making sure my worries were sorted, for assuring me on many things and taking action on them.To all the trainers for their tireless efforts, patience and hard work. Thank you for trying to figure out every day how to manage the needs and for loving the ones who are hard to love because they make your days so difficult.
I now begin this journey that will lead me into another phase of my life. I know that for sure, there will always be a bright dawn ahead with equal amount of challenges to face for which I would need your guidance and assistance. I am proud to be a part of BMI and Firas as a student of BMI !!!
Happiness that Firas is embarking on the road to maturity and Sadness to bid you all GOOD BYE !!!!
Thank you for teaching Firas !!!!
Date: Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 4:06 PM
Below is compassionate portrayal of a mother's desperate quest and journey into understanding the perplexing condition that controls her son.
Firas was diagnosed as mild to moderate Autism when he was 2 and half years, he was different basically non verbal. Initially,we just thought he was high strung, angry and strong willed. We thought he is a slow learner may be too shy and will catch up once in a joint family set up.
Long tantrums that involved behavior such as hitting and throwing objects in the house were quite frequent. His behavior has been very rough since I remember. The only way he played was spinning-up objects in the corner of the room for long periods, watching moving objects from the corner of his eyes. Thereafter, we noticed things that were rather unusual for a child of his age. For example, he was non verbal (no babbling) no pointing, made no eye contact, no response to name call, no smiling or social responsiveness, did repetitive activity (stimming), flapping arms, filling and dumping buckets of toys, stacking up any item(books, tins) and was highly sensitive to touch and interference, he never showed any interest in the one who is eating or the food itself, he could go without food and never ask for it, he ate mashed food only when forcefully fed. He could not chew; he drank water through a medicine-filler, preferred to stay in a room for hours together and watched repeated animated movies. He would be awake for long hours at a stretch. He hated the presence of any new person and would hide his face to avoid contact with them. He hated the word "NO" and would throw a tantrum on being corrected. He would line up toys in a very neat and organized manner. He would push his baby sibling and showed no feelings.
He never shared things. Diaper changing sessions proved to be a mammoth task. He never reacted to pain and the list could go on…..
The most blaring thing about Firas though was that he was completely non verbal even at 3 years 7 months, but as he was diagnosed with ASD we had taken the initiative to start up therapy and that was the best thing that we could do for our child. We started his early home intervention programme followed by weekly 10 hours ABA therapy. Firas is currently attending BMI for approximately 30 hours per week. Granted, as a parent we did not choose for our child to have ASD. However, we could choose how to react to it and what we are going to do about it. Initially, it was the toughest thing, the trauma that we went through along with the child's inability to understand were herculean at that time.
Prayers were our first support then came all the help. It was as if the Almighty was facilitating everything, step by step ; Early intervention programme helped immensely as the intensive therapy began our total dedication, commitment and efforts too doubled, we started seeing results. I think Firas's early intervention proved a miracle. Firas has made tons of improvement. This is why I am such an advocate of early intervention.
Here is what Firas can do now at age five. From being totally non verbal, he can speak and can sustain a conversation upto 8-10 sentences. He has an amazing vocabulary. He loves to learn and is very receptive. Responds to his name call, does pretend play with his sibling, does not push him anymore, in fact, he is very caring of him and if anyone scolds or shouts at his brother he comes to his aid. He enjoys playing with his peers and can tell if someone is emotional and can recognize it. He can answer some basic questions too. Tantrums seem to be a history. He enjoys doing activity craft work, coloring pages and making paper models. He shows a lot of interest in reading and writing. He has developed new tastes. Playing with the
iPad and computer games are his favorite past-time, he also complains when his brother does not share it with him. He is getting independent day by day, he manages to brush his teeth in the morning, when thirsty he can independently fill his glass with water and drink without any assistance and is potty trained. He mentions the weather condition and understands if it is rainy or windy or too hot. He helps in watering plants. He can hum a few tunes and knows most of the rhymes and children's songs. He is not shy when a stranger comes to the house and greets them while opening the door for them. He now knows most of the extended family members. He laughs at comical jokes. He has stopped stacking things and lining them up. He feels sad when he is scolded and can cry too!! He expresses his desire to visit his aunts and cousins. He goes to the store and patiently waits while mom does the shopping and helps by picking stuff from the racks and pushes the trolley. He understands the visits to the doctor and can tell if he is sick or if he has a stomach ache. He fully cooperates during a haircut. He distributes gifts to others. He has an appropriate telephonic conversation or a video chat with his father.
The best part is he listens and follows instructions. He is not really trapped inside a private world with an inability to interact or do things. It is tough to imagine what was then and what is now for him. A lot yet to be accomplished in terms of his social skills. But we now understand that there is a way and all we need is an attitude and determination along with a hard working team of trainers to help him overcome his difficulty. Through this amazing journey, we have realized that the characteristics of autism can be modified and controlled and therapy has made a world of difference in his progress as a thriving little boy. It is a really weird place to be when you realize you can't really picture what your child would be like if he wasn't autistic. And you catch a statement from your well wishers about it and wishing it weren't the case. Firas would be Firas if he wasn't the way he is. He'd be someone else. But today, totally connected to say 'MOM I LOVE YOU', 'I WANT TO HUG YOU BEFORE I SLEEP', thereby strengthening my faith and sometimes putting me in doubt that probably the missing puzzle is between me and him.
This is my boy!!! I am proud of him and love him for what he is. It's all about faith, it's looking up towards the heaven and seeing the quiet beauty in hundred shades of grey, and knowing there is the promise of a rainbow just above.... Firas is God's gift that's sent to tell me of His everlasting love, hope and blessing. Firas has gone through a great deal of transformation, whether it was in his reception, interaction, learning, compliance or communication. Whatever type of transformation he has made, I would be failing on my part if I forget to thank BMI headed by Smita Awasthi for her continuous support in guiding me through this whole process. I especially appreciate the excellent individualized programme provided to me, specifically designed to meet his needs and goals .This customized program enabled him to tap his potential and in implementing strategies to diminish problem behavior and teaching necessary skills. I would personally want to thank Smita Awasthi along with her efficient team. Their assistance and expertise has been invaluable to me during this process. Thank you for being there, while most of them would give up on a student who is struggling with his learning.
None of these programs would have taken effect without the help and co operation of the enthusiastic hard working team of trainers at BMI.They are truly committed in helping him to achieve his potential .Again, thank you all very much. I greatly appreciate your sincerity and commitment towards improving the lives of individuals and families at large.