Recorded on October 2022
[00:01:51.600] – Yen:
Hi, everyone. My name is Yen Tesoro. I live here in Lower Hutt. I’ve got three kids. And the youngest one is Isaiah, Isaiah is seven, and he’s been diagnosed with autism. He was diagnosed, I think, when he was about two or three. It’s been a long journey. Just like any other family when a child has been diagnosed with autism, all of emotions and feelings mixed feelings and emotions in one place, which could be overwhelming for anyone, really.
[00:02:41.510] – Lloyd:
When did you find out? What’s the queue that you feel like something’s not right?
[00:02:48.790] – Yen:
I saw I didn’t have eye contact. He was not talking at all. So he was nonverbal. He’s not listening. Well, that’s what I thought, that he was not listening. I used to call his name, but he wouldn’t listen. He would pull me, just pull my hand to go where he wants me to go, or give me a glass, an empty glass, just to say that.
[00:03:22.160] – Lloyd:
He’s not going to speak about like, Mommy, can you help me?
[00:03:25.270] – Yen:
No. And until now, he’s like that. He’s seven now.
[00:03:29.450] – Lloyd:
And how is it? Where are you from, the Philippines?
[00:03:34.090] – Yen:
I came from Kalapan City in Oriental Mindoro. My mom is from Kagayan Valley and my dad is from Pantabangan, New Eta, Eseha. So they met in Calapan.
[00:03:46.320] – Lloyd:
I thought they met somewhere in the middle of it may have for you. Before going to details of autism, tell us about your journey going to New Zealand. What made you decide that you want to migrate from Calafan?
[00:04:03.920] – Yen:
After I graduated, because I’m a social worker, I graduated with B. S. Social work from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. I worked in foundation. It’s called World Vision. And then I went to NIA, which is National Irrigation Administration in their training space capacity. And then I finally went to DSWD, being a social worker and stuff. So I worked there for about a year and a bit before I came here in 2006. It was just me. It was like, I just want an international social work experience. And I didn’t know anyone here. Luckily, one of my friends from DSWD knew someone who lives in Oakland. And then I just went flooding with them.
[00:05:17.040] – Yen:
We were together in the Philippines as boyfriend girlfriend. And then I went here. After a year, he was going to do his master’s degree in Germany. So he came here for 50 days. And then he went to Germany to do his master’s. That was in 2007. But then we got married here. And on our first year anniversary, I travelled to Germany.
And yeah, this is our first year wedding anniversary, we traveled a bit. And when I came back to New Zealand, I was pregnant with our first born. I was here for that long, I think it was a few weeks before I gave birth when he decided to come here, even without finishing his degree during that time. But he completed it with the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.
[00:06:33.260] – Yen:
So we lived in Auckland for four years. And then he received a job offer in the South Island in the West Coast as a geologist in Stockton Mine. And then we lived there for seven years and had our three kids there.
[00:07:00.530] – Lloyd:
Youngest son about the autism and his journey. So when you found out that he has autism, I don’t know what’s the right term because some parents doesn’t like the word he has autism and some preferred autistic. But anyway, regardless of how you want to call that, when you found out that he has autism, could you correct me, you went to the GP, right?
[00:07:22.140] – Yen:
Yeah. We asked the GP to refer us to a pediatrician.
[00:07:29.440] – Lloyd:
In the pediatrician? And then it’s in DHB?
[00:07:31.780] – Yen:
[00:07:32.450] – Lloyd:
Hot Valley DHB then? Yes. And then after that, tell us more about the journey when you went to the DHB. How long did you wait for.
[00:07:40.970] – Yen:
That time? Months. We waited for months and we kept on pushing for the appointment. I think he was diagnosed at CDS, but he’s been diagnosed.
[00:08:00.010] – Lloyd:
With autism. Is it autism? Because for my son, he’s diagnosed with classical or classic autism. I don’t know how to differentiate.
[00:08:09.950] – Yen:
Because before they have ADHD Asperger’s and all that stuff. Now it’s just the same. Now it’s just the same. just autism. It’s just autism.
[00:08:16.330] – Lloyd:
Okay. And then during that time when you found out that your son has autism, how did you feel?
[00:08:21.720] – Yen:
Like when I said, mixed emotions. It’s like we have this dream of your son being somebody because we’ve got two daughters already and they’re both neurotypical. So we just didn’t expect that I saw is going to be a child with autism.
[00:08:45.820] – Lloyd:
And how did the father feel?
[00:08:48.990] – Yen:
Both of us felt it was actually him who pushed for it because he was the one who said that something is not right. But then it was me who was like, I’m mostly the optimistic person. And I was thinking, You know, it’s going to change. It’s just a phase. It’s going to come right.
[00:09:22.410] – Lloyd:
I remember when I was speaking to, you know, Jocelyn Cahes? She’s the host of Culture Connection. I’ve spoken to her about it and I was telling her somewhat the same story that you had. My wife is so calm and I was so worried, how can I support or how am I going to support my child? Given that I don’t know anything about autism.
[00:09:50.420] – Lloyd:
It’s a struggle and we’re not even going through the path or we’re not even asking for the support from the government. We’re still just on the acceptance phase.
It’s still a long way. Same thing like, Okay, my wife is so calm and I am not. What’s the secret.
[00:10:12.800] – Yen:
Behind that? I was just maybe hoping that he’s just normal. He’s our first boy. He’s our only boy. We had two girls. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it’s my husband who’s really pushing for it. And he’s very worried about his future, about our future, what are we going to do? There’s a lot of unknowns and a lot of worries. What are we going to do? What should we expect? What are the supports that we should be getting to help him?
[00:11:03.530] – Lloyd:
You mentioned about support. So how did you navigate support in terms of… I don’t want to compare one family to another, but when it comes to seeking for support, I’m actually more keen on why don’t we have any standard support? My journey is different from your journey. You have the way, though. Wellington. Early Intervention Trust. Early intervention. My other friend is going through CAMs. I’m with the DHB.
There’s no straight path. So how do you feel about that?
[00:11:40.640] – Yen:
I just feel lucky that we found out about the Wellington Early Intervention Trust, and they work with children below five years old. So from about the time that the child has been diagnosed up to applying for horse funding until they go to school. So I feel like they are really supportive in terms of wrapping us, like a wrap around service for Isiah.
So they have occupational therapies, they have music therapies, they have speech language therapies, and they have an early intervention teacher who goes to kindy to support Isiah, like a certain time, like certain day of the week. And then even when Isiah has to go to the big school, because he’s primary school, that early intervention teacher went with Isiah, went with a kindie as well, so that Isiah will feel in his transition to the big school will feel supported. Yeah.
[00:12:54.990] – Lloyd:
Right now he is with a teacher aid, right?
[00:12:58.550] – Yen:
Yes, there’s a teacher aid at school. He’s also working with the RTLB.
[00:13:05.860] – Lloyd:
From Minister of Education?
[00:13:07.860] – Yen:
Yeah, from the school. From Minister of Education. He’s also got a speech language therapist provided by the Ministry of Education.
[00:13:16.370] – Lloyd:
How often does the support comes in?
[00:13:23.060] – Yen:
There’s an IEP. Individual education plan that they would set up at the first term. It should be every term. They review it every term. And there’s some goals in there, some tasks, and then it’s going to be reviewed again. So there’s a number of professionals sitting in that meeting, the teacher, the principal, the RTLB, the Minister, the Minister Trey, the parents, and any other professionals involved. So yeah, that’s how we are doing it at.
[00:14:08.190] – Lloyd:
The moment. How is he doing at home? How is he playing with his brother or… Sorry, his sisters. His sisters. Yeah.
[00:14:18.790] – Yen:
He’s doing really well, I think. So Isaiah was nonverbal for such a long time. It was when he was five, when he started to speak. I can remember it was during the pandemic when we were on the lock down period. I think me and my husband being at home and his sisters being at home. And I’ve also got my mom and dad. There’s seven of us at home. That he started to like, you know, it really helped for him to start talking.
And it was such a big a huge thing for all of us. We celebrated for… It’s part of it. Yeah. And he started saying the colours, all his numbers, all the You show him a photo and he knows what it is. And during that time, he just started to say a lot of things all in a short period of time. So it’s like, we waited for this long, and then when it started, he really started. And we’re just really amazed with his progress. He’s singing the video game machine. He’s singing all these songs and he would know all the lyrics. He would type.
So that’s how we usually communicate is we let him type or we ask him to write, although his preference is typing on device.
[00:16:03.210] – Lloyd:
Does he write? I mean.
[00:16:04.510] – Yen:
Can he write? He can, but he is like a dager. He’s singing with my son. Yeah. And he knows all his alphabet. That’s actually his, I think, super powers. The alphabet and the numbers. He’s quite hyper lexic, so hyperluxia.
[00:16:26.830] – Lloyd:
What does that mean?
[00:16:27.960] – Yen:
It’s like an overwhelming obsession with numbers and letters and words. And we are using that to help him more.
[00:16:39.270] – Lloyd:
Yeah, that’s what I was trying to get into. For my child, it’s somewhat the same. How do you use that? I’m curious now, how do you use that letters and words so that you can communicate.
[00:16:52.100] – Yen:
With him? Yeah. So he’s been provided with a talker, but we also have an iron iPad at home and books.
[00:17:03.700] – Lloyd:
You read? Do you read the books with him on a regular basis?
[00:17:09.320] – Yen:
I try, but he really prefers the iPad and watching videos on YouTube over and over again. But what we find is that because he’s really interested into the letters and words, the video machine, because it’s got all the lyrics, it’s full of words.
And so he would really be interested in it and really happy just seeing all the letters, even when we go out and he would see anything written on the walls, he would read it. And he actually is really good at reading and spelling. Although he’s got a speech impediment, he cannot say the sound of letter N. Right. so instead of the sound of N, he would say the sound of B or M. For example, he wants noodles, right? He would say, I want noodles. Noodles. Or when he’s knocking on the door, instead of saying knock, knock, he would say.
[00:18:21.390] – Lloyd:
Knock, knock. But at least.
[00:18:23.170] – Yen:
You know that that… Yeah, we know. But other people wouldn’t know.
[00:18:29.060] – Lloyd:
But still a good step. I mean, as long as you can start talking to parents like a typical child who can express what.
[00:18:38.250] – Yen:
They want. And we also attend private speech language therapist who’s teaching us how to use scripts. So he’s got a script like I want, or we’ve got a number of scripts that he uses.
[00:19:01.520] – Lloyd:
Like pattern or.
[00:19:02.790] – Yen:
It has patterns.
[00:19:04.260] – Lloyd:
In that private therapist, that’s part of the funding funded?
[00:19:08.570] – Yen:
No, it’s private.
[00:19:10.010] – Lloyd:
[00:19:10.670] – Yen:
Of your own pocket? Yeah. It’s $130 for 30 minutes.
[00:19:14.540] – Lloyd:
30 minutes. Wow. And we were looking at private therapist as well. And every single person that I found out, we find is like long waiting list.
[00:19:28.360] – Yen:
Yes. I mean, long waiting list, but we went through the process. We just put his name on the list and waited for it. And after a few months, we got a call. And it’s also about following up. You haven’t heard for a month, for example. So you just email them, how far away are we?
[00:19:49.850] – Lloyd:
So when you applied for him, how long is it?
[00:19:52.590] – Yen:
What’s his number? Waiting list? Maybe 6 to 8 weeks during that time. I’m not sure at the moment.
[00:19:59.970] – Lloyd:
A few years. Ago.Before pandemic. That’s before the lockdowns.
[00:20:04.470] – Yen:
[00:20:05.360] – Lloyd:
After the lockdowns. Okay.
[00:20:06.400] – Yen:
We had another speech language therapist in the past just after he got the diagnosis. And we felt so frustrated because it’s not talking. So we stopped it.
[00:20:22.670] – Lloyd:
They have different rates, right? For you, one 30.
[00:20:26.920] – Yen:
Per 30 minutes. Yeah, about $80 for the other one before.
[00:20:31.150] – Lloyd:
Who decided for the 30 minutes? Should it be like one hour or just…
[00:20:35.060] – Yen:
It’s usually 30 minutes. Even the music therapy is 30 minutes.
[00:20:40.630] – Lloyd:
Maybe they don’t want to stress the child.
[00:20:43.920] – Yen:
Because of the music. And they would usually give you the skills. They advise you what to say. You’ve got an assignment that you need to follow for the next two weeks. And then they would be asking you, what have you done? So it’s like practice, practice, practice. Although it’s really difficult with us having a business and having full time work. It’s just a matter of making time.
[00:21:18.120] – Lloyd:
Wow. And then for that, that’s 30 minutes per week?
[00:21:22.550] – Yen:
Fortnight. Per fortnight.
[00:21:26.640] – Yen:
And I think one thing that really helps us as well in terms of our emotional and mental health as a family is that we found three other Filipino families with child with autism, and then we have regular meetups once a week.
[00:21:48.890] – Lloyd:
Maybe we can join you.
[00:21:51.800] – Yen:
Welcome to come and join us one time. Yeah, all.
[00:21:55.890] – Lloyd:
[00:21:56.420] – Yen:
Yeah, all Filipinos.
[00:21:58.230] – Lloyd:
So at least it’s not going to be a little challenging in explaining to other people, like I’ve been speaking English since office.
[00:22:06.250] – Yen:
And we help each other find resources in the community in New Zealand. We tell them, Oh, you want your child to have swimming lessons? We have this national swimming fund that we can apply for.
Because we started for Isaiah to go swimming lessons. It’s about $328 a term, which is quite expensive. So we just researched and asked others and they said, Oh, there’s actually this fund that you can apply for. And I got all the forms. So I just sent it to my friends and we do that.
[00:22:56.550] – Lloyd:
Is this the hat?
[00:22:59.490] – Yen:
No, it’s like Nationwide. I can give you the form if you want. Any form. Any form. This is the second term that I’ve enrolled him and we have been paying. Their deadline is the end of September.
[00:23:17.470] – Lloyd:
Is it helping for your son, the swimming?
[00:23:21.170] – Yen:
He loves the water. Even if it’s like play, but there’s a one on one teacher who shows him all this. They got everything that can help him learn.
[00:23:39.480] – Lloyd:
And they know that he has special needs.
[00:23:42.150] – Yen:
Oh, yes. Okay. Yeah. It’s like a special swimming lesson just for him. And they are very experienced. They know what they’re doing. Because we’re just on the sidelines because the three kids are doing swimming lessons at the same time.
So we can see him enjoying the waters, being so confident in the water. Even if, for example, I think this term, the goal is for him to learn how to put his head under the water. So it’s like the whole term, that’s the goal. So I think last on Friday when we had the lessons, he put his head up to here. Wow. So that’s progress.
[00:24:39.880] – Lloyd:
Feel like at home we have this bathtub and we fill it with water and he wants to stay in the bathtub and just stay there and come. And then he doesn’t want to.
[00:24:54.270] – Yen:
Go out. That’s really good because his other autistic children have sensory issues. They have a lot of sensory issues. And some of them, they don’t really like the feel of being in the water, it makes them uncomfortable. But just like my son and your son, they welcome the sensation of being in the water. So that’s a really good sign.
[00:25:18.630] – Lloyd:
Okay. I mean.
[00:25:20.250] – Yen:
All these children, they have queers. They have all their special things that they want that they like, quite obsessed with things. And you just have to find what that is that they would really, really like. One of our friends, he loves the Legos, for example. So he’s building and building. And you can see all these things that he’s presenting. It’s really amazing.
[00:25:48.220] – Lloyd:
So how is he with your other friends? You have a group, right? How is he with other autistic child?
[00:25:54.380] – Yen:
His spine, they’re all fine. They’re all fine playing side by side. They don’t really interact.
[00:26:00.980] – Lloyd:
It’s all parallel. Let’s go play. They have.
[00:26:03.830] – Yen:
Their own thing. They have their own interests, so they don’t really mind other kids being with them. But it’s just the same at school.
[00:26:16.110] – Yen:
And He’s doing all this. He’s overwhelmed. We’re actually looking for a good noise cancelling device at the moment. So we are asking our friends if they know of anything like that. But we don’t want the device to be totally cancelling all the nights. We want him to still hear the conversations. We just don’t want him to be overwhelmed. The school has a device for him at school. So whenever we go and pick him up, he’s wearing one of those. So the Ministry of Education provides I did him with one.
[00:27:01.840] – Lloyd:
Okay. There’s this respite, right?
[00:27:04.580] – Yen:
The Life Unlimited?
[00:27:06.330] – Lloyd:
Yeah, I think that’s Life Unlimited. So we just took the funds from there then bought him the ear muff. Couldn’t find someone before who can look after because you can use that so that you can have some relaxation.
[00:27:19.080] – Yen:
Yeah, respite. Your partner. So that’s a carer support.
[00:27:23.020] – Lloyd:
Yeah, you also have that, right?
[00:27:24.590] – Yen:
Yeah, we’ve got 60 days a year.
[00:27:27.150] – Lloyd:
60 days. Yeah. Okay. I think that’s standard.
[00:27:30.660] – Yen:
No, it used to be like 13 or 14, and then it just increased and increased according to your needs. So you need to let them know if you need more. When you get to the yearly assessment, they can tell you, Okay, let’s give you some more.
[00:27:48.850] – Lloyd:
So they will be reassessing. I’ll tell my wife that. Yeah.
[00:27:53.220] – Yen:
And they now have this form that you can write in it and tell… Because you know your son more than anyone else. So you can write in there what he’s like, what does he like, or what he doesn’t like. And introduce him to the assessor, basically, and tell them what are you doing with him, what activities does he like.
[00:28:26.760] – Lloyd:
How is he with that? Does he have some friends?
[00:28:32.450] – Yen:
I think at the school, all his social needs are met because his classmates love him. I don’t really know if he knows them, if he knows the names of his friends, but then we can see that the kids really love to hug him or touch him, hold his hands. Yeah, no, I haven’t really heard any problems in terms of his classmates.
[00:29:04.790] – Lloyd:
And then I really feel like they are aware about the names.
[00:29:08.230] – Yen:
Oh, yeah. Really good feeling when your child starts talking. Starts to talk. Yeah.
[00:29:14.560] – Lloyd:
And how’s the ORS application process for you?
[00:29:19.050] – Yen:
So, well, I think early intervention trust helped us to do that. So, yeah, they’re really supportive and they’re the ones who said that, we can help. I think that if they think that you won’t get it, they will tell you that you’re not going to get it. Let’s not bother applying. Although some parents would be quite disappointed or frustrated, but maybe because they really see that actually compared to the other children who might need help, your child is fine. He wouldn’t need help. Although some schools, they provide teacher aid, even if it’s not funded by the Ministry.
[00:30:11.320] – Lloyd:
They’re using, I think, emergency funding based on what I heard from someone and so on.
[00:30:19.260] – Yen:
But luckily, my son got approved. It’s quite a high funding as well. When they submitted the application, he was really nonverbal. So my son is actually not yet toilet trained.
[00:30:39.520] – Lloyd:
Same with him. So how do you deal with that? I mean, is he still in NAPIs?
[00:30:44.520] – Yen:
Yeah, we are using the cloth NAPIs. Well, that’s my business because we’re into reusable s o we don’t really ask the government to give us the funding for the nappies anymore. But you can.
[00:31:01.010] – Lloyd:
You had that monthly nappy box, you used to have that?
[00:31:05.400] – Yen:
No, we never asked for that. And it was offered to us, but we declined it. We said, we’re using cloth. We are really conscious with our environment, the impact.
[00:31:20.520] – Lloyd:
I’m going to talk to you about that later. Any strategies that your support is recommending so that he can be toilet training?
[00:31:30.030] – Yen:
The penetration is referring us to Explore. Have you heard of Explore?
[00:31:36.500] – Lloyd:
No. There are a lot of things that we haven’t heard that were uncovering like one.
[00:31:42.060] – Yen:
Explore is like their specialists, and they have occupational therapists who can help. But for us, we have been referred and we are going to welcome that support to get the strategies. But we have decided because he turned seven this August that this coming summertime, we’re going to really push him to do it.
We started doing it before we started and stopped because he just was not ready. He just didn’t want it. And it’s like to avoid frustration and conflict because we’re basically wanting to focus on the successes that he’s having at the time that we don’t want to stop this progress his progress on this area just because of this. So we supported him on these areas, like the talking, the swimming, because he’s doing horseback riding as well at the moment.
[00:33:12.260] – Lloyd:
Okay. What are his goals that you have set with his support team?
[00:33:19.410] – Yen:
Some of the activities that he’s doing at the moment. So it’s actually one of the goals already in there. There’s some reports that they told us that he started to do it, but maybe not consistently. It was the lights in the changing room, I think that was the…
Because he’s quite sensitive to the light. So they learned that maybe if they put another type of light in there while changing him, it would be so much better. I think he was not happy and he’s crying and screaming because of that light.
[00:34:02.910] – Lloyd:
It’s an LED light or?
[00:34:04.880] – Yen:
I’m not sure. Maybe this light is quite bright. Yeah.
[00:34:09.630] – Lloyd:
So have you changed your light.
[00:34:11.930] – Yen:
At home? No, but our lights at home are not really bright. So maybe that’s helped.
[00:34:25.520] – Lloyd:
All right. So for the horse… Riding for. The disabled.
Riding for the disabled. I keep on telling. I interviewed the person, the manager, of that riding for the Disabled because I’m curious about the horse. Every time I spoke about the riding for the Disabled with some of the parents that I met, I kept on telling them that I read this book, The Horsebook. Have you heard about that? There’s this autistic child, his name is Rowan, and his condition has helped him improve by riding his horse. They have a horse at home.
[00:34:58.960] – Yen:
Wow. I was like, okay.
[00:35:00.180] – Lloyd:
Maybe we can just go there in the riding for the disabled person. Let’s not buy a horse first. But yeah, I think it’s a good… So you’re just starting for…
[00:35:11.130] – Yen:
Yeah, just this term. It’s been seven times, I think it’s about seven weeks in this term.
[00:35:22.060] – Lloyd:
Okay. And how is it? Do you find it helpful or do you find it improving his condition?
[00:35:29.280] – Yen:
They have been sending us some photos. When he comes home from school, I would be asking him, Did you see the horse today? Yes or no? And he would say, Yes. At least you’re.
[00:35:46.120] – Lloyd:
[00:35:47.230] – Yen:
From the… Yes, he knows how to say yes or no. But that’s one of the lessons that we had before when we were attending ES DM. Have you heard of ES DM? Yeah, I heard.
[00:35:57.800] – Lloyd:
[00:35:58.520] – Yen:
Yeah, it’s like for the whole term. The goal is for him to learn how to say yes or no. So that is really helpful. And then I would ask him, so what’s the color of the horse? And he would tell me the color of the horse.
[00:36:14.990] – Lloyd:
Is it your parents who are here or your husband’s parents? Going back to the diagnosis, when you got the diagnosis, usually Filipino culture, you don’t have any autism at that time growing up. When you were growing up, rowing up in the Philippines, we don’t know anything about autism at that time. And especially for parents, he will.
[00:36:38.150] – Yen:
Learn about it.
[00:36:40.280] – Lloyd:
How is it for your parents?
[00:36:43.560] – Yen:
I think that it really helped my son to be around more people in the home, especially my dad. He’s really patient in terms of talking to Isaiah, teaching him math, teaching him how to sing on the video. Because I work full time. So it’s him who’s always at home and Isaiah would just go to him and let him be with him. And they both would watch something on TV together. Because my dad’s quite patient because my mom is sick. She’s on dialysis and it’s a really difficult thing for us at the moment because her health is up and down. Yeah. But I saw her really loves being around people. Yeah.
[00:37:46.830] – Lloyd:
So how’s your… Big thing that I’m asking somebody. How’s mom? Is she.
[00:37:52.060] – Yen:
Doing okay? She turned 70 in July. But at the moment, she’s having some issues, high blood pressure or high calcium levels and all these things. So I regularly get phone calls from the hospital whenever she’s doing blood tests, mostly every week. So it’s another thing. I feel like I have a lot of experiences in a lot of different areas. A lot of different areas. Yeah.
[00:38:28.510] – Lloyd:
You’re amazing. How can you manage your time? I’m still trying to figure out.
[00:38:32.560] – Yen:
How can I manage my time. It’s quite difficult, but because I’ve got a supportive husband, I’ve got a supportive parents at home. I’m just doing it.
[00:38:42.380] – Lloyd:
When did they arrive here? Did they arrive with you at that time?
[00:38:45.930] – Yen:
No. They came when I am as a resident when Isaiah was born. When I applied, I think that was in 2010, 2009, for my mom and my dad and my brother to come to New Zealand as a resident. So it’s been granted.
[00:39:07.570] – Lloyd:
Wow, lucky you. That’s during the global financial crisis.
[00:39:11.740] – Yen:
I think they were the last ones and then they cut it. They changed it.
[00:39:20.910] – Lloyd:
You’re still lucky.
[00:39:22.270] – Yen:
Very lucky. Wow.
[00:39:24.570] – Lloyd:
Did you go home or go back home to the Philippines just for a visit? Have you paid the visit to the Philippines? Yeah.
[00:39:32.850] – Yen:
The last time we went home was in 2018.
[00:39:36.580] – Lloyd:
How’s Isiah when you went? I think I was.
[00:39:39.700] – Yen:
More focused on my second daughter, who’s got multiple allergies. So I got a lot of issues. But yeah, I saw him was fine. He survived. Yeah, he did. He did. He did. He’s going home. He’s going home.
[00:39:53.410] – Lloyd:
Especially, Philippines is noisy.
[00:39:55.320] – Yen:
I think my children got sick and we spent a week or something in the hospital. But I’ve been expecting that because that always happens. The change of weather, the change in everything, water, and they would have gastroenteritis. Same thing.
[00:40:18.090] – Lloyd:
We went home and they said, We cannot go there. Why? My tummy is hurting.
[00:40:24.060] – Yen:
Yeah, very difficult. And the weather is really hot, especially if it’s around April. So I need to make a mental note of that, not to go home in April.
[00:40:38.160] – Lloyd:
Is he okay? I feel like he’s okay traveling. Yeah, he was fine.
[00:40:42.850] – Yen:
As long as there’s phone or some toys. That he can play. During that time, I think I was still breastfeeding him. So I think that helped. He has.
[00:40:53.330] – Lloyd:
No diagnosis at that time?
[00:40:56.460] – Yen:
I think it coincided with that time. I think, yeah. He was, maybe not, because he was born in 2015 and that was in 2018. So maybe he hasn’t been diagnosed yet. And you.
[00:41:10.660] – Lloyd:
Don’t know anything about it yet. Yeah, okay.
[00:41:12.790] – Yen:
Or maybe we are waiting for the diagnosis.
[00:41:17.370] – Lloyd:
We’re waiting for.
[00:41:18.660] – Yen:
The appointment, maybe. But we had suspicions. Is he.
[00:41:22.430] – Lloyd:
In medication now?
[00:41:23.730] – Yen:
No, he’s not in medication. We’ve been given some melatonin for sleeping before, but he never took it and he’s sleeping with us. So he’s fine in terms of sleeping.
[00:41:37.170] – Lloyd:
Have you tried moving him to a different?
[00:41:39.880] – Yen:
Yeah. He say, Okay, we don’t. No. So that’s going to be another challenge because he really needs to move. He’s seven now and he’s quite big. So we need to do that.
[00:41:53.490] – Lloyd:
I remember the time when my son used to wake up in the middle of the night, 12 AM, 1 AM. And then when he wakes up, he couldn’t go back to sleep. And so because he’s awake, he’s going to wake up.
[00:42:10.630] – Yen:
Everyone else. Everyone. And we.
[00:42:12.650] – Lloyd:
Were carrying him for hours and hours. Very difficult. And then I will switch places with my wife and then I will do the carrying. And then when it’s around five, six AM, that’s the time that he’s going to fall asleep. And then it’s my wake up time. So now I need to concentrate for work.
[00:42:39.650] – Yen:
Very difficult. That’s one of the challenges because some of these children, they don’t really sleep well. I think we’re just a bit lucky that Isaias is sleeping fine. There’s a few times that he’s quite unsettled. That was when he had the general anesthesia for his dental work. So he had the dental work, pulled maybe four or five, and then put some metal. I can’t avoid for 30 days.
[00:43:16.580] – Yen:
Any recommendations or suggestions or advice you can give to parents who are just starting their journey or maybe who are in their journey, who are confused as I am, or just any general advice that you can give them?
Just don’t be afraid to ask for support or help. And if you think that the support is not getting to you soon enough, just push for it, really. And talk to other people who might have the same experiences as you do. And find out more. There’s a lot of Facebook pages or Facebook support groups, and they would be able to give you information. Just having a child on the spectrum, I think it’s a blessing. It’s really a blessing because they are such amazing children. They’re gifts to us.
[00:44:22.410] – Lloyd:
You learn a lot from them and you become more patient. That’s what I learned. Oh, I’m this patient now. Filipino culture, sometimes if you’re irritated, sometimes subconsciously, you tend to shout, especially when your kids are noisy.
[00:44:48.030] – Yen:
Usually, it’s the parents and how do you deal with your own stresses and your own behaviors. So how do you.
[00:44:57.850] – Lloyd:
Cope up if you’re overloaded?
[00:45:00.620] – Yen:
I think I’m a naturally calm person. I don’t get rattled very easily. And I think it’s also because of the nature of my work.
[00:45:10.710] – Lloyd:
Because you’re used to working with children?
[00:45:18.040] – Yen:
And their family, and it’s mostly problematic. So I wouldn’t be able to last my job if I’m easily rattled or if I don’t have the patience. Yeah. Okay.
[00:45:32.770] – Lloyd:
Thank you for your time.