Neighbour ‘curses to death’ kids with autism, calls cops on the family repeatedly
Being a mother is hard as it is, but being a mother of not only one but two autistic children, in the middle of a global pandemic and systemic lockdown, with your neighbour calling the cops on you every time your children run across your flat and cursing at them to die, is a plight that most of us probably wouldn’t have to deal with.
As a parent of an autistic child, stress is not a stranger in Karen’s life.
With two children under the age of 6, been diagnosed with autism, this mother of two has her hands full with full-time parenting, trying to toilet-train them and get her oldest child to try to eat by herself.
But with a neighbour in the midst of all this allegedly applying undue pressure on this small family, Karen is hoping to raise community awareness on empathy towards families with special needs children.
She speaks to theAsianparent to show parents in similar situations that they are not alone, and to educate the public on being a little more gentle and considerate towards families dealing with autism.
For a parent of an autistic child, stress is a common enemy
Family plagued with communication issues
Karen’s oldest daughter, who will soon be six years old, had to undergo heart surgery to patch up holes in her heart when she was around 4 months old, stunting her physical movements and delaying milestones.
She is diagnosed with autism, together with her brother who has also been diagnosed with developmental delay in addition to autism.
“In the beginning, we could only communicate with them using Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and Communication board as we had to try to minimise the chances of them from getting frustrated which lead to meltdowns because they are not able to verbalize their thoughts, so communication was always a huge issue,” she notes.
The PECS and Communication boards are both forms of alternative communication and visual representations of language, in which a child with little or no communication abilities is taught to interact with an adult by giving them a card with a picture on it, to relay a request.
Karen also notes that the children display “extreme behaviour via extreme tantrums” at random times, and the family must immediately observe what happened and determine what triggered them in order to resolve the issue.
During times like these, any established links to communicate with the children break down completely and it is very challenging to understand what they are trying to convey.
“We struggle most at trying to prevent them from harming themselves or others during their meltdowns. My girl will hit her own head with her hand or bang her head on other items and sometimes may even grab other peoples’ hair tightly or hit their head during such outburst. My boy will pinch, scratch, beat or grab people tightly, oftentimes causing bruising on me and my husband,” Karen says.
“It has been so challenging physically, mentally and emotionally having to handle all their behaviour and having to train them in their daily life routine. I am constantly facing lots of obstacles too because they are not able to tell me so I have to keep trying ways to understand their needs all the time. I am physically and mentally drained as I am alone at home with the children most of the day,” she adds.
In the backdrop of these issues that are common with families dealing with autistic children, Karen has to also put up with a neighbour that calls the police on her and who also ‘curses [her] children to death.’
“My direct neighbour downstairs has been constantly complaining about the noise from my children. She will always accuse them of jumping and stomping, even when they were not. But what was really hurtful were that a few times when we heard her scolding and yelling by her window, she would curse for my children to die. I mean, what human being would curse for someone else’s children to die? It was extremely hurtful and traumatising,” Karen says.
The problems with her neighbour started from the moment Karen’s family moved into the house.
However, the complaints that started with the very first day of moving into the flat intensified as the years went on.
For full article, please visit: https://www.asiaone.com/singapore/neighbour-curses-death-kids-autism-calls-cops-family-repeatedly