It has been a minute since Esther Wahome unleashed a song. She has stayed away from the public eye because of a much more important task, parenting.
In an exclusive interview with Word Is… the popular star known for hits like Kuna Dawa has revealed intimate details about parenting an autistic child. Though she has mentioned it in the past never has she been this open and candid.
“I have always shielded my son from the media, because for me family comes first,” she admitted. “However I believe my story can help people out there so that is why I am speaking out.”
When she first discovered that her son was autistic it was a very scary time for her because she didn’t know what it was.
They were alarmed when their son couldn’t speak at 2 years old, and began seeking out various medical practitioners for answers.
It took them more than two years to get a diagnosis and when it finally came it was a bittersweet moment for them.
Esther Wahome said:
“The name autism was very heavy on me when we first got the diagnosis; it was this thing that we didn’t know about it. Before we even knew what it was we totally leaned on God in prayer and we got the courage to go on.”
Autistic children typically crave for substances that are not good for them. For Esther’s son it was milk. He would sleep with bottles of milk and consume large amounts only to have very bad reactions.
After studying the condition and understanding what it was all about they began a painful process of withdrawing the harmful foods.
“The hardest part was watching my child cry when we began withdrawing the bad foods. Hearing him cry for that which I knew I couldn’t give him was the most painful moment for me. It was so difficult for him to understand why we were denying him something that he had always been given freely, but we got through it,” she explains.
Over the years though Esther has seen purpose in pain, and she continues to share her story to help the families that have autistic children.
According to Esther the biggest challenge was a lack of knowledge of what autism is and how it can be managed. Many families struggle to come to terms with the condition because they just don’t know what it is.
“It can be managed, today he lives a normal life,” she says. “If you come to our home you wouldn’t even know that he has autism from casual observation. Parents need to understand that it is not a death sentence, it can be managed with the right diet and therapy: it’s just a challenge like any other, just accept, adjust and advance.”
Though it was not really on her wish list, Esther admits that parenting an autistic child has brought joy and purpose to her life. She admits it has brought her family together and given her music depth.
Autistic kids are endowed with other supernatural gifts like photographic memory and those gifts have helped her appreciate her son even more.
“These kids are really gifted, they have a lot to offer if only we give them a chance.” she adds
Dr. Lincoln Kamau is a Behavior Analyst & Education consultant according to him, while no medication can correct the impairments underlining autism, medications are often used to treat behavioral problems.
This include self-injurious behavior, aggression and tantrums that keep the person with autism from functioning more effectively at home or school.
“Before spending time and money and possibly delaying progress, the family of an autistic child should gather information about the various options available. Learn as much as you can, look at all the options, and make your decision based on your child’s treatment needs.”
Adding, “Among the many methods available for treatment and education of people with autism, applied behavior analysis (ABA) has become widely accepted as an effective treatment. If this is not available in your area, consider treatments that target specific deficits in learning, language, imitation, attention, compliance, and initiation of interaction.”