DR RADICA MAHASE
“NEW year doesn’t mean anything in my world nah! I have a child with special needs and if it doesn’t impact on him in some way then it doesn’t make any difference to my life. My life is my child and everything I do is to make his life better.
“When a new year starts and he is still in the exact same place, without anything new happening in his life, then I just feel hopeless. And I start to think, it’s a new year but what’s there for him. It’s not good to start the year feeling hopeless.”
These were the words of single mother Tricia, whose son Daniel is 15 years old and low functioning on the autism spectrum. Daniel has been home for most of his life as Tricia was unable to find a school willing to work with his special needs. When she did find a school she could not afford to pay the school fee which was $8,000 a term. Tricia relies heavily on her parents to help her with Daniel when she goes to work at a grocery nearby. Sometimes, during her lunch break, if the grocery isn’t too busy she would go home to check on him and let her parents get a short break.
Tricia’s words reflect the thinking of many other parents of children with special needs. To many parents, a new year brings a sense of anticipation along with fear and hopelessness. Another single mother, Aliya said that she was hoping it would be a better year for her child.