Gospel singer Esther Wahome has been off the lime light for quite a while now. The mother of three recently opened up about bringing up a child with autism.
Speaking to Word Is, the Kuna Dawa hit maker said “I have always shielded my son from the media, because for me, family comes first,” she said. “However, I believe my story can help people out there, so that is why I am speaking out.”
She admitted that the very first time she learnt about her son’s condition, she was very scared because she knew nothing about it. She got alarmed when at 2 years, her son couldn’t speak. It is then that they decided to seek medical assistance for a diagnosis. It took them more than 2 years before they could get a diagnosis.
Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by troubles with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Parents usually notice signs in the first two or three years of their child's life.
Esther said, "The name autism was very heavy on me, when we first got the diagnosis; it was this thing that we didn’t know about it. Before we even knew what it was, we totally leaned on God in prayer, and we got the courage to go on.”
Esther’s son would crave for milk. He would sleep with bottles of milk and consume large amounts, only to have very bad reactions. After studying the condition and understanding what it was all about, they began a painful process of withdrawing the harmful foods.
“The hardest part was watching my child cry when we began withdrawing the bad foods. Hearing him cry for that which I knew I couldn’t give him was the most painful moment for me. It was so difficult for him to understand why we were denying him something he had always been given freely, but we got through it,” she said.
Esther has however seen purpose in pain and continues to inspire families with autistic children through her story. She says the biggest problem families face is lack of knowledge of what autism is and how it can be managed.
“It can be managed. Today he lives a normal life,” she said. “If you come to our home you wouldn’t even know that he has autism from casual observation. Parents need to understand that it is not a death sentence, it can be managed with the right diet and therapy: it’s just a challenge like any other, just accept, adjust and advance.”