Kun Gantari recalled the moment her second son Furqon was born 10 years
and the days she raised her baby.
remembered how responsive Furqon was in his first months. “He
always looked at
the camera when someone was about to take a picture of him. I
remembered how he
responded when I taught him how to clap and wave his hands,” the
mother of two
appeared to be a normal child until he turned eight months old. Then he
high fever. “After he recovered from his sickness, I began to
feel he was not
normal,” said his mother.
compared Furqon’s growth with that of her first child, who was
born 22 months
before Furqon. “When my mother came over to the house one day,
she wondered why
her grandson was no longer friendly with people he met and why he
psychologist friend recommended she see a prominent specialist, who
diagnosing her 22-month-old son with autism.
One week later, her husband and her found a therapy
clinic for autistic children and enrolled their son there. But after
of therapy without seeing any improvements in their son's condition,
then decided to quit the therapy sessions and hired two therapists
treat their son from home.
mother knows what is best for her son, so I decided to take care of him
with the help of our therapists,” said Gantari.
year later, Furqon’s condition improved and he was soon able to
The couple then decided to send their son to school. “We tried to
enrol him in
several playgroups and kindergartens, but none of them were willing to
our son,” said Gantari, holding back her
she received a call from Mandiga School - a special school
for autistic children - letting her know Furqon could finally join it.
really feel the ups and downs of raising a child that has special
needs. I have
shed so many tears, but now I feel I have finally born the fruits after
years of struggling. And I am very
grateful my husband and the whole family have always supported us
hard times,” she added.
Kristopher Agatha’s stepmother, also shared bittersweet memories
of raising her
autistic 12-year-old son. Kristov, as he is usually called, is her
first child, whom she started to raise in March 2007.
condition was saddening. He looked healthy from the outside, but his
full of wounds and allergies. He often bit his own fingers and arms
he got angry,” said Ane. Not only would he hurt himself, but he
attack people around him when relapsing, she said.
was also sad to find that Kristov’s nurses, who had been treating
her son at
the house for seven years, often tied his hands and legs even when he
and her husband enrolled Kristov in a therapy centre in North Jakarta
and consulted a psychiatrist, but their son was still was
still not showing signs of improvement.
we were committed to fighting for our son’s condition to improve,
what,” Ane said.
the next months, they moved Kristov to another therapy centre in South
Jakarta, and their son’s condition finally
improved, although sometimes he is still emotionally unstable.
couple also enrolled Kristov in therapy sessions for autistic children
school, regular counselling with doctors and psychologists, on top of
him diet and food supplements.
also swims, paints and does athletics. We encourage him to
socialise,” Ane said.
Rita Selly, a housewife living in Bekasi, did not need a diagnosis from
specialist to confirm that her seven-year-old son, Muhammad Malakalhaq,
and her husband simply looked after their son at home for around two
Muhammad began to show symptoms of the disorder. “When my son was
old, he began to show symptoms of autism. He did not talk and lived in
imaginary world,” Natasha said. “But we were living in a
rural area in
Pekalongan at that time, so it was hard to find a therapy centre. We
treated him as best we could.”
the family moved to Bekasi, Muhammad joined a therapy clinic at Yayasan
Keluarga Kita in Jatiasih, where his condition improved very rapidly.
He is now
able to read, count and communicate.
most mothers are devastated when finding out their children are
Chandra Dewi seemed to be much tougher when she discovered her son,
16 years old, was autistic at the age of five.
began finding it difficult to communicate when he turned two. When Dewi
him to a children’s clinic, specialists said her son’s
ability to talk and
socialise meant he was simply slow.
enrolled him in a standard playgroup and kindergarten. Actually, we
really treat him in any special way and just raised him as a normal
other children can do many things by themselves, why can’t
enjoys learning music, cooking, making handicrafts, computers and
Koran, and is good at those things too, Dewi said. He also improved his
socialising skills and adaptation to a new environment.
that all these mothers have come to grips with their children’s
as well as made many plans for their future, they suggested some tips
parents of autistic children.
most important thing is for Alit to be able to survive on his own and
does not always depend on me,” Dewi said.
She encouraged parents to be more accepting, no matter what was the
condition of their children.
her part, Gandari declared: “I want Furqon to be able to look
after himself by
using his skills. We are now looking for an area in which he excels, so
can focus on it for his future.”
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