autism n. 自闭症，儿童孤独症
toddler n. 初学走路的孩子
obsession n. 着迷，迷住
stigma n. 耻辱
prevention n. 防治，预防
CLAUDIA HAMMOND: As babies grow into toddlers they start chatting and playing with other children. They learn to interpret different facial expressions, and how to work out what other people are feeling, or most of them do. Some children have the developmental disorder, Autism, which means that they can find it hard to socialize or make friends, preferring instead to spend time alone. Parents, like Elizabeth Caleeber, are usually the first to notice. Her son Komo, was just a year old when she began to realize that he was different.
ELIZABETH CALEEBER: People began to notice that you know, that there was no speech, you know saying things like “Mommy” and “Daddy”. And then he did not like to, you know, interact with other children, he always wanted to be on his own; he had obsessions with certain things like cars. So people began to notice, especially my mother, that he you know I think he was different. So from that time on, I went onto the internet, I read books about what is it. So by the time he was diagnosed, it was like I already, you know, suspected it.
CLAUDIA HAMMOND: Elizabeth lives in Uganda with her four children. Komo is nine now, but it took him till he was four and a half to get a diagnosis. She told our reporter Sarah Granger about life with autism.
ELIZABETH CALEEBER: From my experience I have found that there is not much support. Disability here brings along a lot of stigma, people are most times ashamed or embarrassed to even admit that they have a child who has a kind of, any kind of disability. For most people you would find that they keep those kinds of children away from the society. So it is not easy.
SARAH GRANGER: Does it affect decisions you make about things that you do as a family?
ELIZABETH CALEEBER: Yes. Certainly, for a family wherever we go we have to you know consider that we have a child who is autistic. So if I’m going out with the other children, then I’ll…we’ll have to divide ourselves up, who is going to run after Komo, and you know how long can we stay out, because at a certain time, a certain environment would get to him, and he wants to go back to his routine. So we have to be very cautious of you know what kind of activities we engage in.
SARAH GRANGER: And how do other people react to Komo?
ELIZABETH CALEEBER: Well people’s reactions are really different. For some people he is really frustrating because they think he is being badly brought up and so as a result I always have to keep explaining myself. And for every opportunity I get I give off these leaflets, or if I have time I explain to people, “no he's not spoiled, he has a developmental condition.” It's quite hard.
SARAH GRANGER: Is there much prevention in terms of education for his development?
ELIZABETH CALEEBER: Services are still really lacking, the kinds of schools that are available are just a mixture of all kinds of conditions. And so it's for only that reason that I decided to start the Komo Center for understanding autism that can specifically address the needs of children who are autistic.
SARAH GRANGER: What are the biggest challenges for you as the mother of Komo, who is autistic?
ELIZABETH CALEEBER: He's going to be dependant on you know me for all his life. So sometimes I think about the future and I worry about if something happens to me? What if he gets worse? So I do have those kinds of mental challenges that I think about all the time.
CLAUDIA HAMMOND: Elizabeth Caleeber on autism.