Raising a child with a disability can be one of the most challenging experiences a parent can face, but Connie, the mother of 23-year-old autistic son Givens, is a shining example of tenacity and resilience. She has faced many difficult situations while raising Givens, but has always found a way to overcome them with patience, love, and understanding.
Givens was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when he was 2 years old, when Connie began to notice a significant difference in his development compared to his older brother. With the help of a pediatrician and a psychological assessment, it was confirmed that Givens had ASD. Then, Connie decided to put her focus on how they could better support him instead of dwelling on the diagnosis.
Overcoming Challenges: Loud Noises and Puberty
One of the biggest challenges Connie faced while raising Givens was his sensitivity to loud noises. He was scared of the sound of the microwave and washing machine and would cover his ears when they were in use. Connie wanted to help him overcome his fear, so she slowly exposed him to the noises at a safe distance and explained their function to him. Over time, Givens became less afraid of the noises and Connie was able to help him understand and cope with them.
Another difficult time for Connie and Givens was during puberty. Like any other child, Givens went through significant changes in his body, but he was unable to express his discomfort. This caused disruptions in the household, particularly with Givens’ older brother, who was studying for his O’ Levels at that time. The family tried many things, including bringing Givens out on late night drives to help Givens sleep through the night, but ultimately had to wait until he matured and could better understand his needs.
Discovering Givens' Passion for Arts and Crafts
Despite the challenges, Connie always remained focused on helping Givens live a fulfilling life. She discovered that Givens had a great interest in arts and crafts, and encouraged him to develop his skills. Givens had been making clay artworks to sell on carousell, but he began working at Bizlink, a social enterprise that takes care of individuals with disabilities – with his role being data entry. However, when the pandemic hit, Givens’ routine was disrupted, causing him to be very restless and the work at Bizlink to be affected. That’s when they discovered Jojomama, where artisans could craft resin products similar to Givens’ clay works.
How has Jojomama helped Givens' develop Skills and Confidence
Connie signed Givens up for Jojomama’s workshop and with Given’s passion for arts, he quickly got the hang of it. One of the things that Connie appreciates most about Jojomama was that caregivers were allowed to be present during the sessions. This allowed her to assist Givens and help him learn more efficiently.
Through Jojomama, Givens also learned important social skills, such as how to greet other artisans and communicate with them during meal times. He became more confident and his self-esteem grew as he saw his products being sold with his name card and unique characteristics.
Connie believes that organisations like Jojomama are essential in the lives of people with disabilities. They provide opportunities for individuals to develop their skills, build confidence, and connect with others. She encourages all parents of children with disabilities to join organisations like Jojomama and empower their children to live fulfilling lives.
Supporting Organisations like Jojomama for a Better Future of Individuals with Disabilities and their Families
Connie’s story is a testament to the resilience of parents raising children with disabilities. She faced many challenges while raising Givens, but through her dedication and love, she helped him become a more independent and confident young man. Jojomama played an important role in this journey, providing Givens with an opportunity to develop his skills and build important social connections.
Organisations like Jojomama play an essential role in supporting individuals with disabilities and their families, and we can help ensure their continued success by offering our support and recognition.