Caring for a child with Autism

When James was two years old, he was diagnosed with Autism. With the help of early intervention centers and therapy, James made it through primary school. However, when James turned 12, he started displaying an overtly aggressive behaviour. The fact that he was also going through puberty did not help his mother, Natalie and her husband, and was increasingly tough to control. They subsequently took the decision to home-school James, to help overcome this.  

When James turned 16 and a ½, his aggressive behaviour became extremely hard to manage, because he was now a lot taller and bigger than his mum. Despite their best efforts in avoiding visiting the IMH for the longest time, they were at their wits’ end, and were faced with no other choice.  In August 2019, James was warded for slightly over two weeks. In his first week at IMH, he was not allowed to leave the ward at all, and it was only after 10 days when he had started taking medication, that he was allowed to move around the IMH compound with his family. It was then that they discovered the Ronald McDonald Family Room at IMH (Family Room) and made one of the fondest memories for the entire family.  

When asked what were three things that came into mind whenever she visited the cosy Family Room, Natalie would cite Relief – for the caregivers, Happiness – for her son James, and a Comforting environment for both caregivers and their children to take a break at.  

James loved his cup noodles, and when he saw and realised that the Family Room offered cup noodles – it instantly became both a motivation and an incentive for him, knowing that he would be rewarded with loads of snacks, if he was “a good boy”.

James was subsequently discharged as he was doing a lot better with medication. He now sees his Psychiatrists and Psychologists once every couple of months for reviews, and always makes it a point to visit the Family Room for his cup noodles and snacks every time he sets foot into IMH.

– Natalie, mum of James

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