In light of the International Autism Day, on April 2nd, “Seychelles Pension Fund in the Community” takes a moment to shed light on the condition through the eyes of a mother, and in the process rekindle our interest in Miss Myrna Hoareau, former Miss Seychelles 1992.
Ms. Hoareau is the mother of twin boys; one of which lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a condition that is often misunderstood within the society. This is a complex developmental condition, with no cure, that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and restricted/repetitive behaviours. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person. The challenge to communicate and behave as so called ‘normal’ people is regularly perceived as being rude, uncompassionate etc. This adds adversely to the trying situation many parents with children living with ASD experience. Thus, the need to realigned these perceptions through education.
‘When I first learned of my son’s condition, it was shocking and distressing news’ exclaimed Ms. Hoareau. ‘Every parent has very high expectations for their children. It’s like you painted a canvas for the future of your child and suddenly it is all erased. It is a feeling that is shared by parents with children on the spectrum locally’.
‘With time, fortified with better understanding of this condition, I learned to take solace from the ‘blessings’ that this condition presents to people living with autism. They have ‘extraordinary minds’! explained Ms. Hoareau. It is often said by those on the spectrum who are very high functioning that autism is not a disability but rather another ability due to so many of them having special abilities such as savants skills and special talents.
She added that support for parents with children living with ASD in Seychelles, has so far been limited. Thanks to the patience and determination of a very dynamic group of parents, we have been able to form “Autism Seychelles” an association presently in discussion with government for the establishment of a learning centre for those on the spectrum. Over the past few years the association has played an active role in raising awareness of Autism and a lot more people are now understanding of this condition.
Two years ago, Seychelles Pension Fund introduced a benefit that attends to the needs of dependent adults living with severe disabilities. This encompasses conditions like Autism and other restrictive conditions that do not allow them to work and look after themselves beyond childhood.
“My son and many others will forever be dependent on these benefits, thus, providing me with peace of mind even after I am gone” Miss Hoareau, still with the same beautiful smile that landed her the title of Miss Seychelles acknowledges. She is adamant that the birth of her twin boys has been the best thing that happened to her. She is a firm believer that God bestows on his kindest souls the task of handling his most precious creations…going by the mantra ‘Fall in love with your life’.
For more information about the Dependent Adult with Severe Disability please click on the link