The last three years have been difficult for Stacy Dowden and her family after her son Denver was diagnosed with Autism back in 2016.
“I found out he had autism after a fall, a head injury when he was three and I took him to Mt Hope and they did an x-ray and nothing came out of it, but after that fall he wasn’t the same,” Dowden said.
“I had to hold the bottle for him, he stopped talking,” she continued.
The single mother of two has been trying to get treatment for her son who according to doctors needs three forms of therapy, costing $300 per session.
“Right now, there is no free school in Trinidad that offers help for children with autism,” she explained.
Dowden who is unable to work because there is no one to babysit her son even offered her services to a special needs school for free but she was denied.
“I’m just so fed up, I’m trying with my children, I is a good mother I doh party, I doh go no way” she cried.
“This keeping me back because I’m seeing my son getting older and people looking at me like I cah see bout my son, why she have him like that,” she said as the more tears rushed down her face.
Three years ago she got some assistance from the Rotary club that paid for a part of her son’s three months therapy with Therapy Works. She saw improvements.
“I went every day…at the end of the month they say he was going so well they say he would have been able to integrate to regular schools,” she said.
She applied for an extension but did not get it and Denver’s development regressed.
Dowden also receives a grant from the Government for her son but she uses it to pay rent.
“I had to move four times for the year because of the child with the autism… he’s very hyperactive and he makes a lot of sensory noises that people may not be familiar with and maybe irritating,” she said.
She said the 6-year-old climbs a lot, something neighbours found distasteful and dangerous which led to her having to move.
But that’s not the only bad experience Dowden faced with her son. She has also been put out of taxis and tenants had their own diagnosis for Denver.
“He asked me if the child possessed,” she said.
It’s, for this reason, she wants to raise awareness about Autism.
“To say that to a parent that trying it does just deflate your attempts, the public is very insensitive and I really fed up dealing with the public,” she said.
With everything going on in her life the single mother was diagnosed with depression and anxiety because she worries for her Autistic son Dowden and also for her 15-year-old.
“My older son he doh have no time with me, he cah stand the noise he does feel shame when we go out, “she cried.
The mother said she tries with her sons especially the younger one but she’s not an expert, she’s asking for assistance from anyone and NGO who could help Denver with his therapy.
Anyone willing to assist Dowden and her family can call 714-5210 or 486-9043.