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Children still grow up separated from their families in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Farhod Artikbaev: ordinary father of a special boy
By specialization, Farhod Artikbaev is a communications engineer. However, the most part of his time he spends with children, particularly, with his eldest son. We talk with Farhod about his experiences of raising a child with autism.
Could you please tell us how you overcome challenges in upbringing a child with autism?
It is important to make a diagnosis. This helps to take proper care of the child and to prepare the child for the challenges of life.
Parents like me spend a lot of time on the Internet to communicate with the group of families, which care about children with autism. I communicate online with people around the world, who face similar challenges. In addition, I learned about pathologists and read a few books. Every day I study and try to provide my son with the necessary life skills. I want him to live confidently in the society.
It is very difficult to find a specialist, who can share a common language with these special children. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any specialists on autism in our country. Most parents like me educate themselves on the subject and spend a lot of time browsing the Internet and corresponding in groups of parents of children with autism. I have studied speech language pathology, read many books, and set online communication with parents fr om around the world, who have walked on this difficult path. Every day I learn something new myself and teach my son important life skills. I want him to feel comfortable living in the society.
How do you help other parents of children with autism?
I already have certain experience in this area. Therefore, I try to help parents of children with autism who don’t know what to do.
“Angelochek” (Angel) club was established at the Republican Center for Social Adaptation of Children. Its main goal is to inform parents on new methods and show them the right way, and most importantly, support them and show that they are not alone. We conduct various activities to assist children who have autism. In order to avoid negative thoughts, I take the children and parents to public areas. I show them that they don’t have to be afraid of public, or feel embarrassed of socializing with people.
In your opinion, how people like the health workers, neighbors, relatives and children can assist families, who have children with autism?
Often parents don’t know where to take their autistic children. Many parents are simply afraid of going to health facilities, since the child is afraid of crowds and they are literally afraid of standing in queues. I wish there would be specially equipped rooms for children with autism or other similar disabilities, wh ere a child would feel comfortable.
It would be great if qualified social workers could visit families with such children more often to provide them with psychological assistance. Sometimes, what parents really need, is just to be listened to.
We would like to see that people show respect and understanding. If you see a parent who has a child with autism, help him/her. For that there are simple things you can do. You can give them your place in a queue at the health facility or a grocery shop; don’t rush to take your child from a sandpit when a child with autism comes there; don’t blame parents for having a child with autism. An autistic child may be born in any family. It is not parents’ fault. Just show empathy for the parents and support them.