Challenges Media caught up with Dr Wan Himratul Azliza* whose husband is a heart surgeon. Dr Wan is an accessibility advocate, internal medicine consultant and lifestyle physician. She has 3 girls, namely, Serena Zara 9, and a set of twins with autism spectrum; Sofieya Zara 6 and Sharleez Zara 6.

Due to the situation in the family with both siblings who needed special help, Serena has matured beyond her age and taken responsibility being the elder sibling and has started her own business  to help her mum who is concern of their future.  Serena Zara Taufiq who founded “Serena’s Secret” is also Microsoft’s M-powered ambassador and advocate for the autism cause.

 

We used to be chased out of restaurants, gyms, swimming pools and public places,” shared Dr Wan.

CM: What would you like the public or parents to know? What can be done?

 

They can improve being part of  society with acceptance and intervention. However, the public just have to accept and allow  time for them to grow so that they can merge in the society. It’s all about acceptance and awareness. It is challenging to handle the twin girls with disabilities but it is very rewarding because we have seen progress at different growth level and speed. We have to learn to cherish the progress that we met from them. Never compare children to each other.

Every child can make us proud in their own way. Every child is different  in a different world.  Having children with autism is a hope to change and  make a difference to their life and our life by not giving up, just move on and don’t think so much of the outcome. We just give them input and chance, and the change will come. When my girls were diagnosed with autism, I was crying for 2 years and still had my emotional ups and downs. In a way we have children with autism, it’s important to educate  other siblings about acceptance and love.  It begins from home. When you get support from the rest of the children, it is so helpful. 

We should stand up in public and tell “I have an autistic child”.  If you can do that, it is the first step to healing.  Just move on and don’t give up!”