Mara Angelique Mirajen was diagnosed with ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder when she was 2 and half years old.
This year will be the first time the "Son Rise Program" is coming to the Philippines this December 2017. Of course with the program it involves costs and fees. I don't know when and which country the program will be held in the next few years, or if Son Rise program will return in the Philippines. I am a mom of 4 children ages 18, 7, 4, and 2. Mara is the third child among them. I am a housewife, I take care of the children and Mara needs 24/7 attention. I bake goodies for extra income and my husband works at an office. We couldn't afford the fees, let alone all the daily expenses of running a household of 4 kids. Thus, this fund raising campaign was established. I have no means or ways to earn that much money to pay for the fees. Every night when I put Mara to sleep, I whisper a prayer hoping that someday Mara will be able to take care of herself and be independent. She needs this. She needs our help.
I recall her past years she was sitting alone all the time, never spoke, never saw us. Back then I realized I had to get some help and advise from doctors. She loves looking at reflections of herself just anywhere! reflective glass, windows, monitors, mirrors or anything that catches her reflection. She loves the rain when it pours trying to catch a glimpse of her reflection in the rain water. She loves tapping her feet in rain puddles. She walks and jumps to and fro all throughout the day, -- although I sense her body is tired, she never gets bored mentally and feels excited when she does it, oblivious of her surroundings including us, her family. She doesn't respond when we call her name, in which we have to approach her and touch her hand or arm, so we can get her attention. She has a cheerful disposition most of the day although she cries when she remembers something sad but cannot express it. We also have meltdowns too. She cannot eat by herself and has to be spoon-fed. She cannot sit down for more than 5 minutes at a time. She plays with her toys by herself. She doesn't share anything with her siblings. She doesn't speak to any of them. She is still in her diapers all day because she cannot tell us when she wants to go to the toilet. She often points at an object or raises my arms when she wants something. I can count about 10 to 20 words that she can speak clearly, other than that she mumbles phrases we could not understand. She cannot read words nor write. She can only do doodles. Circles and straight lines are even hard for her to write on paper. She couldn't count basic numbers from 1 to 10. The only song she knows how to sing is the Alphabet song. She likes being tickled and you can get eye contact during that time. She loves to hug, and kiss -- this is the best part of the day. And she just celebrated her 4th birthday last 12th of May, 2017.
It's been 5 months since we stopped her ABA therapy sessions, due to lack of funds, difficulties in financial at home. We paid her ABA therapy sessions for 1 year. And she regresses from time to time even during months of ABA therapy. We observed that it doesn't help her. Her eye contact is on and off. And it seems although the tutors keep saying she is doing great during the sessions, I don't see any significant difference in her behavior. The ABA tutors has not enabled us to help Mara at home. I have no training on how to take care of a child with Autism, NO PARENT gets prepared in life for this. I want to understand my daughter, reach out to her, communicate with her and help her function in life. And maybe one day she can go to school, have friends and be successful in life. I have been aware of the Son Rise Program, through facebook and youtube. And all of the families they were able to help with their program. I have started practicing with Mara, the basics of the Son Rise program, the "Joining" method. Curiously, she (Mara) responded very well! I saw my child for the first time look into my eyes, looking at me, at me! And not just at her reflections. She began interacting with her sisters during play, non verbally. She started hearing us, listening to us as we speak, learning words in her mind. That is why I am so excited that the Son Rise Program is coming to the Philippines on December this year! I want to learn the full program and start the program with Mara. But then again, I am worried we cannot afford it, since our financial difficulties in the past and present. So me and my husband reach out to you to help us reach our goal.
Autism Treatment Center of America has helped thousands of families all over the world cope with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome and other developmental difficulties for over 30 years.
See her journey at : https://www.facebook.com/MaraAutismJourney/