The following day, we headed to the District of Education of Bhaktapur, where we presented to 22 principals from different schools. Again, there were many heads nodding in recognition to the symptoms of autism and a few people shared that they believe the have family members and students with the disorder. Our presentation seemed to be received very well and we were told that we shared “much good information in a short time”.
The next day, Renee and I spend a lot of time at Autism Care Nepal interviewing parents. They were extremely honest and heartfelt as they told their stories and there were a lot of tears shed. There were many common themes during all of the interviews. 1. They were told by doctors that their child would grow out of whatever was wrong. 2. Their child has rejected by schools and he/she is unable to attend school. 3. They felt very alone until they found other parents (mostly through ACN) who were going through the same thing. 4. They have been told by people in the community that it is their fault because they just can’t control their child. 5. Some were unable to get a diagnosis or find out what was wrong with their child until it was past the crucial early years of necessary intervention. 6. They are extremely grateful that Knowledge for People cares enough about them and their children to come all the way to Nepal to help them.
We know that we are just scratching the surface of the support, interventions, and school programs that are so deserved in Nepal, but we are hopeful that we have uncovered something that can’t be ignored.