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Facing Autism Twice

Often the harder part is not dealing with the unique needs of an autistic child, but the reactions of other people.

“We don’t have such a big problem in handling our children as much as we do in handling others in the public,” Sumreen said. “But there is no point in crying or being emotionally disturbed. If we do this we can’t give them anything. If we make ourselves strong and mentally prepare ourselves, it’s good for them and it’s good for me. Then I can teach them something.”

Sumreen and Rais share this positive outlook, and seem to have a special understanding. But an unexpected challenge they faced as a result of the South Asian culture was that people tried to cause a rift in their marriage.

“We are Muslims so sometimes we are allowed to marry more than one person. So people guide Rais: ‘Why don’t you try this? Get married again, try having another child with that wife and see.’ And I tell him, ‘Rais, this isn’t a solution, because even if there is another wife she will look after her own children. This won’t solve my problem, nor will it solve yours.’”

Amazed by her honesty, I asked Sumreen where she gets her strength.

“You don’t get this strength so easily. That’s why I say parents need friendships. Parent support groups are necessary because when many parents meet each other, only they can give you strength. Otherwise some teacher, some doctor can never give you this kind of strength.

Sometimes what happens to other mothers is that they isolate themselves. These types of mothers must get out, must see things. When you see your surroundings and see other children and other parents doing a hard job, you find a strength in yourself that, ‘No, we can also do this. We will do it well.’

Before I had that a lot, that I’d stay alone, and I wouldn’t want to take the children out, or go out myself. I’d feel scared. Now after having met teachers, gotten counselling, listening to my heart, I have now realized that you should get out. When there are courses or seminars and things I go and then I realize that I am not alone; so many people are suffering.”

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12 Responses to Facing Autism Twice

  1. Nipa January 10, 2010 at 3:59 am #

    This article means alot to me and I am sure it will give great strength to all parents who read it. Sumreen and Rais are truely amazing human beings. Thanks Uttama for penning it down so beautifully and truthfully.


  2. Yaseen Ghori January 11, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    People are born to enjoy others’ problems, but they inversely suffer from the same if they are theirs. If it happend to them they would have different suggestions and steps for their loved ones. Both, Sumreen Rais and Rais Azam have shown their ongoing stamina in the war of baseless social commments.BRAVO!

  3. saiqa zulfiqar Ahmed January 11, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    such a thought provoking interview for parents who can’t cop with their special children.I know Sumreen personally she is a very strong person & had been steadfast through all her calamities .
    I know how stressful it is to manage with special kids in a conservative society of ours.both sumreen Rais n Rais Azam are outstanding humanbeings may ALLAH bless them with more courage ,stamina & knoweledge n n reward in hereafter as ALLAH says in QURAN ‘verliy after every stress there is a relief’
    hats off to you both
    love & regards

  4. South Asian Parent January 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    Their story truly is inspiring, and as South Asian parents, they are wonderful role models. We admire their honesty, their endless optimism, and their ability to make peace with a society that constantly challenges them.

  5. Najwa January 24, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    An encouraging story that anyone with an autistic child in thire life should read.
    great spirit to fight!

  6. Nirmal January 27, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    This is truly touching even when I am fully aware of this story. Samreen rais is like an aunt to me. I have spent my childhood at her place playing with the boys who have now MASHALLAH grown up to be so handsome. :)

    I have tears in my eyes. I just have all my prayers with them at all times.
    Know this samreen aunty. i love you :)


  7. Nirmal January 27, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    And I am so proud of u!


  8. Yasmin January 28, 2010 at 6:37 am #

    May Almighty Allah shower his blessings upon U & your family Sumreen.. My heartiest prayers are always with you… You both are really very special… You are really a strong lady & a role model for everyone out there.. Feel sorry for not being there for U when ever U needed a friend to share your feelings.. But I am always there for U when ever U need me… You’ll always be in our prayers…
    Luv U all..

  9. Momal January 28, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    Its so nice to read this,i simply luv u sumreen aunty. I know u had to face lots of troubles in ur life and im glad thats all over with ur strength and courage.MashAllah zeeshan and shahzaib are grown soo much.
    Im glad u guys have settled down well,may all those prob making idiots always stay away from your life and you guys always stay happy.

  10. Mabel January 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm #

    I am so happy to meet this wonderful family…their sons’ SMILES could really brighten a gloomy day…

    Zeeshan is part of my life… thanks for the inspiration Rais & Sumreen!

    God bless you and your family…

    See yah!

  11. Nizar ( Hasan's Dad) January 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    As a parent of an autistic like child I think I can understand and really appreciate the meaning and the value such kinds of kids add to our life.I have met the parents of these two nice kids and their parents in a very recent gathering.They are really wonderful and give me and my family a very big push forward.

    Nizar ( Hasan’s Dad)

  12. Pratima January 30, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    “We are the special people and that’s why God gave us a hard target” This positive attitude of parents doesn’t give stress rather gives more relaxation. So much to learn from Sumreen and Rais. Can solve many problems with such attitude. God bless them & their children.

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