Tender love melts autistic heart

By Wu Jin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, January 25, 2018
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In one of his duels with Dumbledore, Voldemort, attempting to enslave the soul of Harry Potter, was scared off because he couldn't face being overwhelmed by the immense tides of friendship and love infusing the spiritual world of the young boy.

When it comes to love, fiction and reality often share common ground.

In Shanghai, a young boy named Heng Heng was diagnosed with autism. However, instead of being separated from other children, his mother insisted on sending him to an ordinary primary school. 

Almost five years on, Heng has made big process with the help of his teachers and classmates, who have managed to understand him through great patience and love.

"I like Teacher Cao, Headmaster Zhu as well as Class Four and Grade Five," Heng said recently. In a few months, the 13-year-old boy is supposed to graduate from Shanghai Pingyang Primary School where he was admitted to attend classes accompanied by his mother.

In 2013, the school's headmaster Zhu Hong told Heng Heng's mother he could not be admitted to the school, being shocked by the young boy's capricious temperament during the interview. The young mother was advised to send her boy to a special school.

Despite believing she was well prepared for the denial, having previously undergone such an experience, Heng's mother cried uncontrollably.

"I'm eager to send my boy to an ordinary primary school, where he can come to know how an ordinary children study," she explained.

"I gave birth to him, so, I should enable him to experience something; be it good or bad, as long as he can participate, he'll not live to regret it," she added.

With long eyelashes and fair complexion, Heng, on average two years senior to his classmates, looks nothing unusual, other than when he becomes over-emotional.

"His father and me, both strong-minded and diligent, never expected our child should turn out in that way," the mother said.

Heng's father is an engineer with a doctoral degree and his mother a senior executive in a luxury goods company. Before becoming aware of the autistic world, the middle-class family was on the brink of collapse as they grumbled and complained to each other when the boy was diagnosed with the mental problem.

Heng Heng's symptoms went unnoticed until he was two when his mother found that every time she brought him into the open air, the toddler showed no interest to find playmate, but, instead, ran laps around the playground alone.

Then, he reached the year for entering kindergarten. However, instead of being admitted to the kindergarten near his community, Heng Heng was sent to a special institution designated for autistic children.

Although his parents started to accept the reality, the mother was still pained whenever she saw the other children escorted by their parents to normal kindergartens.

Despite the teaching from the special institution, where the child learned to recognize apples and oranges in pictures, he remained unable to distinguish real fruits in supermarkets.

At five, Heng was eventually admitted to regular kindergarten, but he still needed to receive the training at a rehabilitation center. To give her child all possible love and care, Heng Heng's mother quit her job, giving up a handsome salary and devoting herself wholeheartedly to the education of her boy.

"With no one to teach him, his condition would surely deteriorate," his mother explained.

Driven by her strong determination to send him to ordinary schools, the mother started to visit many primary schools, seeking to persuade the headmasters to permit her son to addend the classes. However, her efforts didn't pay off until she met Zhu, who sympathized with the tearful mother and promised the boy a seat in the class headed by the school's most patient and amiable teacher.

"Let's have a try", said the headmaster as he comforted the stressed mother.

However, the attempt to admit Heng to the school was a big challenge. Even though the school was experienced in providing access to special children, most of them were quiet or self-absorbed, unlike Heng, whose quick temper might disturb the entire class should he lose patience and grow angry.

The admission of Heng needed the understanding of the entire school.

The class Heng attended is signaled with seven different colored petals, which indicates that, whatever their advantages and disadvantages, the children can make their world beautiful, explained class teacher Cao Binbin.

Despite being a little nervous during the first few days in school, Heng Heng's classmates made friends with him since their class teacher told them that, although he was older than them, his psychological age was much younger and he needed their friendship.

Four-and-a-half years later, the boy has become quite adaptable in the class where almost all his classmates have taken turns to sit beside him, except those whose height does not allow them to sit on the back row. Despite his temperament, his classmates have taken to him as a cute boy or a younger brother, and brought candies to him to calm him down when he loses control.

Although a slow learner, Heng Heng has also made big progress so that his IQ has become equal to pupils in grade three.

In the past few years, Cao has never assigned any student to look after Heng Heng, but the pupils have volunteered to help and befriend him, especially as their efforts started to be paid off.

He has become more and more engrossed in classes and seldom bursts into anger any more. Moreover, he has begun to show his concerns to other such as fetching the thermos cup to one of his classmates who had left it behind.

Min Rui, an expert from the center of early intervention and recuperation of autistic children, credited the equal communication with achieving the improvement.

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