There is an issue that must be addressed. For too long, this sector of our society has remained silent, unheard of. I am talking about people who have dreams, just like you me. They are passionate and pure – they just have to do it in their own way. The world was not cut out for them as cleanly as ours. We are selfish to think that our lives are difficult. What about theirs?
I am talking about people who have a different neurological pathway: Autism. Down syndrome. Slow learners. Deaf. Blind. Mute. And those with many more ‘problems’. I am talking to those who day in and day out suffer, and yet, as eloquently as I can put it, take it as normal. No, this is not normal.
When we are young, our parents slaved away to clear out any and every problem we had. It’s great, but have you seen the suffering they have to go through to ensure that they can do everything they can? Caged up in a choking white office with the A/C throbbing and giving up faced with the relentless summer heat for nine hours or more – you might have thought that they didn’t love you when you were younger. Did they prefer having a job more than you? And then you realize how powerful a single green-tinged sheet of paper can be, and how hard you have to work just to earn a fraction of it.
Now think how hard the parents have had to work to support the children, beautiful and innocent, who have been given a different mindset? Think of the extra costs of speech therapy, ASL courses, tutors, lessons… Think of all the time the parents missed out during the child’s youth – not knowing how to help them, and so paying experts to help their child.
From personal experience, I attended a meeting which discussed this issue. The atmosphere was striking in the humid room – the parents appeared calm and collected, despite (as Mutairi put it) 1.5 to 2 percent of every 100 Kuwaiti children have autism. But in Kuwait, expat parents face additional hardships. The special schools denied them admission because they weren’t Kuwaiti, and services were really expensive as well. And the pitiful bickering continued.
However, this is not the matter of being a Kuwaiti… it’s about a child. How hard is it to help a child, expat or not?! How can we be denied of such rights? Why is this a business? It should not be this difficult. This is just immoral, no matter how you try to bend the truth. Because at the end, denying a child with dreams and hopes is no different from murder.
Now, what about schools? Well, we are a community, a society. We should not be segregated. So please just bring down the barriers between ‘us’ and ‘them’. We are a single entity – sure, these children may require more time with their tutors, but please, lower the barrier.
Dear brothers and sisters, I know I have gone quite harsh on this, and frankly I wanted to add more – a lot more. However I felt this article should portray the passion so that this issue can be highlighted. To parents – I know it is difficult, but I urge you not to lose hope. Your children will blossom, and they will be the most beautiful of all. However, it’s not like I thought that you would ever give up – you are strong – and God has gifted this to you, because he knows that you are most deserving.
By Sana Kalim