Inspirational woman Dotun Akande (Vlisco Ambassador 2015, founder of Patrick Speech and Languages Centre), mother of a child with Autism, faced one of the biggest challenges in her life when her son was diagnosed, but decided to turn it into something positive – she established Patrick Speech and Languages Centre. A unique centre for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Asperger Syndrome and other related developmental disabilities , that today helps countless families that are dealing with similar challenges. Today we’re sharing a story of a mother who faced a similar challenge but was determined to find a solution for her son, After meeting Ms. Akande, she was inspired. She enrolled her child to PSLC. Things changed for the better. All because she never gave up on him and believes that dreams come true.
Ekene was a second child born to Mr and Mrs Ogidi. He was very fast in his early period of development. He walked at the age of ten months and started talking at one plus, but at the age of two plus, he suddenly became mute without any obvious signs of sickness. Apart from not communicating, he also became very hyperactive, restless and also very destructive at home.
He was enrolled early into nursery school to enable me resume work after my maternity leave. His sudden change in behaviour became a source of worry because he didn’t stay in the class and the teachers were not bothered. He stayed on the swing outside when other children were in the classroom learning. The class teacher would say that she doesn’t know what is wrong with my child. That he refused to sit down like others, he couldn’t recite nursery rhymes, etc. As concerned parents, we made enquiries from professionals (pediatricians) until he was diagnosed of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in LUTH. We were referred to one of the special schools in Lagos. Truth, they say, is bitter, but accepting that truth is a more bitter pill to swallow.
You hear parents say “I reject it, it is not my portion”. Whose portion do you think it is? Remember, God is the giver of children, ask Him to show you the way forward and stop living in denial. Do not pretend that the child does not exit, do not lock up the child in your house or abandon him/her in a caring home/ school. Accept the child for whom he is.
Challenged children have potentials that can be developed to skills if properly taken care of. If you do not accept and love the child at home, it will be difficult for outsiders to accept or show him love.
Our society is very hostile to children and adults with developmental challenges. We are stigmatized in public places like churches, schools, banks, markets etc. because we have a challenged child. Some people avoid visiting our home or even touching my son because he has Autism. They believe it is infectious.
I withdrew my son from regular school and enrolled him into a special school. He was there for 3 years. At age 6, I took him to a regular school for primary education. At age 6, I took him to a regular school for primary education. He completed primary school but the proprietresses refused to allow him continue his secondary education in the same school because of complaints from other parents (stigmatization). My son was denied access to education.
In April 2013, I attended a seminar and at the end of the seminar, I met the proprietress of Patrick Speech and Languages Centre. I shared my story with her. I have also read her son’s success story and this raised my hope again. My son was enrolled at Patrick Speech & Languages Centre and did extra lessons at home in preparation for National Common Entrance Examination.
He wrote the Exam just like other children. Presently he is a J.S.S. 1 student in a secondary school. He attends both the regular Secondary School and Patrick Speech & Languages Centre. He is doing very well in school especially in Mathematics: he now speaks and does every other thing his teen’s mates do. I have not given up on him because I know God will perfect his gift. This indeed is a journey of faith of hope.