A Nigerian mum, Opeyemi Ogungbemi-Ebagua took to her Facebook page today to celebrate her Autistic son, Justin, who turns 10 today.
Opeyemi penned a heartfelt thanksgiving to God, her friends and family members, as she reflected on her journey as a mum with a special need’s child.
She narrated how devastated she was when she learnt her son was autistic, how she and her family have worked together to help Justin and also encourged parents with special needs children.
Here’s what she wrote below:
I’m grateful to my father for the golden opportunity to witness 10years of God’s goodness in my son’s life. I will start by saying Having Justin is the greatest achievement. I can remember exactly 10 years ago. Waiting patiently for this my superstar child. It wasn’t an easy one. It took 24 hours of labour b4 Dr Iketubosun of Georges Memorial Hospital decided to cut me open when i wasn’t dilating. I remember the fear on Williams’ face don’t blame him it was his first having a baby. Finally this baby came out and i couldn’t believe my eyes. He was the cutest thing i have ever seen in my 25 years. I’m grateful for this gift.. fast forward to his 1st bday. We had a carnival.. i remember having my friends from all over to grace the event. We had mega fun.. lol. Then when at 15th month i started noticing this handsome dude isn’t blabbing, my mum told me don’t worry Ope boys are not fast. I remember 1 morning driving to work with my friend and sister Ene Isa. I told her about my fears of my son not blabbing or talking. She then adviced i talk to her sister inlaw Dr Zilia. I made the call and she educated me about something i haven’t heard about in my life. AUTISM!!
Now Justin is 2 years he wasnt talking and he was always very aggressive. He attended a Mrs Adesoye’s creche then at VGC (Babies to toddler creche). Dr Zilia gave me Dr Grace Bamigboye’s number. She is a speech pathologist. I remember getting an appointment for evaluation and then my world became dark when Dr Grace broke the news to myself and My husband that Justin might be under the spectrum of Autism.. i asked what is THAT? I bursted into tears. After she explained. I went online and read about different cases, watched videos on YouTube. It was like my world is coming to an End. And that was how we started the Journey.. It was challenging both mentally and financially.
I remember my sister inlaw Mrs Laide Abel giving me her expensive jewelry worth hundreds of thousand then to sell to pay for few sessions of therapy. Im entirely grateful to my angel Antie Laide (tears of joy). She always encouraged me and told me God has plans for Justin. God is the only one that repay you for all. We cried together. I really don’t know how to express how i feel about you. Thank you! During this journey i met some wonderful angels in human skin. I met Ada Daizy during one of those days of marketing in Oceanic bank and we got talking about my son. ADA you are unique human being im entirely grateful to you Ada paid for for several therapy sessions. She got her friend involved as well Sara. God bless you guys. My dear friend Julieana (Oloori as popularly called of Julieana Ali train a Nigerian child) gave severally towards Justin’s therapy sessions. You have a heart of gold. I remember owing Dr Grace Bamigboye several months but she didn’t 1 day stop or embarrass me for payments God bless you! God kept around me wonderful people around me that encouragement in this journey.
My boy Justin’s therapists are the best. A lady Smart Base centre ( can’t remember her) she was the 1st therapist to work with Justin. Tope got few words out of him. He was the 2nd therapist that worked with him. and then my brother Freedom. Freedom gave me encouragement at all levels. He took Justin as his brother.God bless you Freedom and your family. Talking about therapy. Dr Grace left instructions of diet and daily supplements for him. He had to take Candigest capsules( could only get this from a lady called Sandra in cooperative and from jand) 2 hours before breakfast and also other tabs like probiotics, omega 7, oestrocare syrup and many more. He was on no diary and wheat diet. I had to get rice based milk and pasta from Mrs Mosun owner of Nutri centre in Lekki she is so pleasant. My son was asked take seasonings out of his diet like maggie, knorr etc We had to resolve to crayfish. He refused to eat and grew very lean.
I remember days of changing schools. I get calls like ‘please come pick your child’ regularly. But God honoured me with beautiful people.. To mention few Mrs Moji owner Acorn Montessori lekki then Babies to toddler creche , Mrs Abosede of ABA centre then in Greater scholar school, Mr Karim Isa, Mrs Lilian Rotibi of Lilytots school Mrs Ajari of Eritoy…..
I have been blessed to meet these wonderful people with the heart of gold. Here i am today June 2nd 2018 celebrating the special child God gave me. Now he is my best friend, always ready to help. My amplifier… He will echo whatever i say. My boy has improved and he is improving. In all this God has been so good to us. Our all sufficient Father that answers our prayers by fire. I bless God for protection despite Justin being stigmatized, preventing a near death situation years back in church when my boy jumped into a pool and God kept a white man there swimming at 9am on sunday morning. Its been a journey..
I am writing this to encourage whoever is going through this that God will never forsake u and your child. Keep at doing your best for your child. I waited 5 years before Justin could call me Mummy. It was the sweetest word ever! I followed my God’s giving instinct at every decision i made. And lastly early intervention is key to defeating Autism. I didn’t stop Justin’s therapy and today Im happy i stood by my decision to fight it to the end. This write up will be incomplete without mentioning the love, support, understanding and prayer of his siblings (Olivia and Jason).
I have got so much love for you guys. And to his Daddy thank you.. thumbs up to US! Its a journey like i said earlier and i see the future so bright for my Justin Osagie Oreoluwa Ebagua. Let me pause at this point… Journey of a special need Mother. Opeyemi (Opido) Ebagua.