This post is based on an email that was sent and in no way reflects the views and opinions of ''Met'' or Jamaicangroupiemet.com. To send in a story send your email to [email protected]

NO PREPARATIONS FOR AUTISM IN JAMAICA

easton0-Optimized

Mother of severely autistic adult desperate for a miracle
Mom of autistic son says she is living in bondage
BY AINSWORTH MORRIS Sunday Observer writer [email protected]
Sunday, January 27, 2013

HERMA Spence says she has been living in bondage for the past two decades; a prisoner of poverty and homelessness as she struggles to care for her mentally incapacitated 21-year-old son Easton Glen Pryce.
According to Spence, since her son first showed signs of what doctors told her was a severe form of autism at age two, her life has been going steadily downhill and she is now at a point where she desperately wants someone to take him off her hands.
Herma Spence and her mentally incapacitated 21- year-old son Easton Pryce. (Photo: Karl McLarty)
1/4
The last 15 years have been especially horrible, she said, as her son’s condition has only worsened despite all the medication prescribed by his physicians and psychiatrists.
She told the Jamaica Observer as she stood outside her father’s home in Albion Mountain, St Thomas — where she has been forced to seek temporary refuge — that she cannot envision the future without some kind of miraculous intervention.
“Living with an autistic child is like bondage. It come in like mi inna a cage. I want to move and I can’t move. I don’t have a life for myself. I am constantly in bondage and I am tired. I am just tired of it,” the single mother, who has no other children, said. She has no home, no job and no means to care for Pryce, who has been known to become violent.
Autism is a development disorder which usually appears in the first three years of a child’s life. It is a condition that affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills and is categorised in three stages: mild, moderate, and severe.
The tall, lumbering Pryce has been categorised as severely autistic. He tends to speak gibberish, is given to involuntarily rocking side to side, can barely feed, clothe or bathe himself, and is incapable of interpreting and following the instructions of any other human being. Controlling his violent outbursts has, for over a decade, been his mother’s trial.
Every day, residents of the small community said, Pryce can be witnessed walking around the town attacking people; throwing dangerous objects at anything, or anyone in his way. One of these random violent attacks occurred during the Sunday Observer’s visit with the family, where a cellphone being used by a member of the newsteam was slapped from his hands to the ground by Pryce.
He randomly screams short phrases or his mother’s name, or wanders around asking repetitively, “Yuh want bulla? Yuh want bulla?” “His behaviour is an embarrassment, especially around people who don’t understand,” his mother said mournfully, noting that she also fears others hurting him because of his behaviour, especially when he wanders away from the home at nights.
“I can’t feed him anymore and I can’t take it any longer. I am living and trusting in God, but with Easton, the more I try, is the more it seems like I am failing and this has been going on for nearly 20 years,” said the woman, who believes she is beyond simple depression at this point.
Her deep sadness has worsened lately as her father seems intent on kicking them both out into the streets if something isn’t done about the youth, whom they fear will hurt them physically while they are asleep at night.
“Right now, because of how he behaves, mi father out fi put mi out because him seh nobody, sick or nuh sick, nuh fi mash dung him place. Furthermore, him seh a kotch mi a kotch,” she told the Sunday Observer.
Her 70-year-old father, Kenneth Spence, confirmed Spence’s claim during a brief chat. “She nuh tell yuh seh a kotch she a kotch?” he asked.
Spence said she had noticed while her son was still a toddler, that his behaviour was unlike normal children. She related her concerns to the boy’s father — a man whom she said she had begun seeing after meeting him on a bus while travelling to work in 1990, and whom she thought at the time had great potential as a partner. But what had seemed to be a great connection, unravelled.
In the meantime, her son began to withdraw and she began to really worry about his mental state and sought attention.
“Before he started basic school, I realised that something was wrong with him,” Spence said. “He wasn’t doing certain things that normal children his age do, such as speech. I took him down to Jamaica Council, off Hanover Street in Kingston, and that’s where I first had an idea about him being autistic.”
Her life, like her relationship, started unravelling as well.
Spence told the Sunday Observer that when she gave birth to Pryce on December 6, 1991, she was employed as a seamstress at Lurl’s Fashion House located off Washington Boulevard in Kingston. She lived simply, but in relatively comfortable circumstances on Shortwood Road, St Andrew.
“Things weren’t that bad when he was born. I was working until 1994. I had to stop working because I had no one to keep him for me. I couldn’t take him to work,” said Spence, a trained and certified dressmaker.
She said that in 1994, she simply couldn’t fully comprehend what doctors meant when they said her son was autistic. She said although neighbours and friends tried to explain and advised her to put him in a special home for mentally-ill children before age six, the love she had for her only son compelled her to keep on trying to make a life for them both. She wasn’t about to simply give him up without a fight, she explained.
Today, that is a decision she regrets, given that what everyone warned her about has come to pass and she has finally had to face the repercussions of keeping a child who has grown into a violent and uncontrollable mentally disturbed man.
After Pryce’s father vanished from their lives, Spence said she went to the Family Court in downtown Kingston seeking assistance. They sent a social worker to visit her home and began some investigations to find the father, but after that single visit, she never heard from the social worker again.
“I was still unable to work and things were getting worse. I could not get him into school, so I also went to the CDA (Child Development Agency) when he was 13 years old. They said they didn’t have any space and they told me that he was already being well taken care of,” she said.
Spence, who was unable to pay for private care and special education, said after visiting that agency, she knew of no other place to turn to, and she lost all hope in Jamaica’s mental health system.
“It’s not that I never wanted to work. I wanted to work, but I had no one to keep him. I tried sending him to school and the teacher said, ‘Him can’t help himself’, so it never work out,” she said.
Her own health began to deteriorate, Spence told the Sunday Observer. She developed a severe pain in both legs and began to walk with a limp.
“At one point they (doctors) told me that a blood vessel keeps expanding, and they said there is a lump in one of my thighs, so that also forced me not to work,” she said, adding that she lived below the poverty line then, so she was unable to treat the condition and the problem gradually started affecting the other leg.
In 2003, the Christian woman’s only source of funds was the Full Truth Church of God located at 4 Shortwood Road, where she lived at the time. The stipend she received from the church was only able to buy food, but couldn’t pay rent and utilities for the one-room dwelling in which she and Pryce lived. So she packed up, left Kingston — the city where as a child, she dreamed of spending the rest of her life — and returned to her father’s house in St Thomas.
But this is another decision she regrets, as it has only made her situation worse.
“For the last 10 years, everything mi try fail. When mi did live a town, mi did have people who mi can talk to. Up here, there’s nobody apart from my father. Nuh church nuh deh nearby, like when mi did live a Kingston. And him (her son) is seen as an embarrassment, so people distance themselves,” she said.
“At the moment I am doing nothing much more than rearing 30 chickens. I’ve just started the chicken thing. Mi still a try. I want to work, because if I don’t help myself, then I can’t help him. If I can even get something with regards to sewing, I’ll happily take it,” Spence said.
“I came here with the intention of doing some farming. I planted some carrots and turnips, but it’s either the sun burns it out or the price isn’t good,” the obviously disheartened woman added.
At this moment, Spence believes the only hope she has for a better future lies within a kind person, a private organisation, or the State assisting her with her child.
“I wish there was a home that would be able to take him, because I can’t move. If I can’t work, then I can’t make things better for both of us,” she lamented.
According to Maia Chung, Cabinet-appointed member of the National Advisory Board for Persons with Disabilities and the founder of Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation, Jamaica does not currently have a public facility that caters to the severely autistic once they turn 21.
“As far as I know, there is no facility open for someone at 21 years old. There is no boarding facility,” Chung, who is also a mother of an autistic child, said last week.
Chung has been advocating the establishment of such a facility with the assistance of the Government. However, financing it presents challenges.
“Right now, one of the agenda items is advocating for a facility that can house the severely autistic because none exists. I have had discussions with a very high Government official about constructing a facility. He was all for it, but the challenge lies in co-ordinating the teams of the various ministries,” Chung said.
“You can’t build such a facility without help,” she added. “Ministries such as the Ministry of Youth and Culture and the Ministry of Health have to join for something like this to happen. Remember, they are youths also, so that ministry has to become involved.”
Chung said she sympathises with, and understands Spence’s predicament.
“When they are 21 years and older, they can hurt themselves and hurt people. Autism is at a crisis point in Jamaica. The Government needs to look at it because it is more prevalent now. The social support for the most vulnerable is not being addressed,” she said.
Kathy Chang, co-founder of the Jamaica Autism Support Association, wasn’t able to offer much more hope regarding State-assisted residential intervention for single mothers such as Spence.
“There are no major facilities islandwide to assist a mother like that. I would suggest that they visit their clinic regularly, see a doctor and get an assessment. Other than that, there are not many other options,” Chang told the Sunday Observer.
She urged mothers, especially those struggling financially, or who are living in rural communities across the island to seek intervention when their children show signs of autism before the child passes age six.
“There are stimulation programmes on Hanover Street in Kingston and offices that cater to children up to six years old are located islandwide,” Chang said.
She believes that very little can be done for Pryce now.
“To say that he cannot be trained at this stage is a major understatement. My son was toilet trained at five years old and that was a major accomplishment,” she said.
Diedre Gordon, Spence’s neighbour from her days on Shortwood Road, said Spence deserves the help she is seeking.
“She deserves a medal. She has been through a lot. I knew her after she gave birth to her son. She struggled a lot. She has fought many unbelievable battles,” Gordon said in a brief telephone interview.
“A dem woman deh yuh call madda,” she said

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Imprisoned-by-son#ixzz2JCHx8tRg

27 Responses to NO PREPARATIONS FOR AUTISM IN JAMAICA

  • Real says:

    WELL I CAN SEE THAT SHE HAS TRIED A LOT. BUT BECAUSE HE DID NOT GET ANY OUTSIDE HELP OR SCHOOLING HIS MENTALITY HAS WORSENED. IT IS VERY HARD FOR A SINGLE PERSON TO DEAL WITH ONE CHILD LET ALONE AN AUTISTIC CHILD. BUT HELP IS ON THE WAY.

  • Tawkchuet says:

    I really hope help will come soon , but this goes back to show how easy it is for a man to turn his back on his child but a mother a real mother can’t sad reality. May God bless them

  • Met says:

    Real I feel they dont have him on the right medication and he should have been in school..there is no school for them in Jamaica. Although it may take them longer to learn than regular kids the interaction is good for them

  • Anonymous says:

    This is really sad…That is a strong woman dealing with this by herself for so many years in Jamaica.
    They say boys have it worser than girls. Even in America after 18 years old there is limited resources, I know because I have a family member just like her son only thing they are American.

  • Real says:

    MET HE IS NOT GETTING PROPER MEDICINE>>>>>>>>>>> AND HE SHOULD NOT BE EATING SUGAR,,,,AND AS U CAN SEE THE LADY DOES NOT HAVE THE PROPER FUNDS,,,AND I CAN TELL U HE IS EATING A LOT OF SWEETS ……HIS FOCUS IS THERE SO HE COULD HAVE BEEN HELPED……AND HE WOULD NOT HAVE GONE TO THIS STAGE

  • Real says:

    I KNOW OF A YOUNG MAN THAT HAD THIS COUPLED WITH HEARING PROBLEMS AND SUCH …..BUT HIS AUTISM MIGHT HAVE NOT BEEN SEVERE….BUT HIM DRIVE AND EVERYTHING NOW AND CONDUCTS HIS OWN BUSINESS…………….YES AND HE LIVES IN JAMAICA

  • Met says:

    yes real…and the fact that it started at 2…usually it can be calmed but because they are so ”few” cases in ja nothing is done…usually children with autism are not violent

  • Real says:

    NO him wi get violent because he is not able to explore..as u can see mr grandfather does not want them there so him get the idea ….plus him mother stressed out and they probably shun him…it really hard …most of them have food allergy to and such but I guess it is not something that can me glamoured so the HIGHER officials put it on the LOWER shelf

  • Real says:

    as long as him did have a teacher weh supply to his needs and he was placed in a class with normal children him would a catch on….maybe not as fast as the other children but him would be probably functioning at at twelve right now

  • Met says:

    yes real but dem who a put pan lower shelf u know a dem have di autistic children..if he was on the right medication he wouldnt be reacting like that…if a even riddilin (sp)

  • Real says:

    yes caw dem nuh wah nuh body know seh dem pickney a HANDICAP….from i was born di minista se basically NUH HELP NUH DEH ..SO WEH HIM FI GO BELLEVUE

  • sweet says:

    SO THERE IS NOT ONE SCHOOL IN THE WHOLE OF KINGSTON FOR CHILDREN, WITH EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL DISABILITIES?

  • Ms.B says:

    She could seek held from the diocese of Methodist Church. They have specialist and a Home as well but I think she has to be a member of teh Methodist church and or be recommended by a member who is part of her community

  • good girl gone bad says:

    I feel it for this mother. What everyone said is quite true, if she was able to get the help for him long ago it wouldnt reach this far. Programs for ppl with these conditions should be put in place by the government but we know how JA govt set up already smh. Wah dem ago do wait til someone who is mentally ill harm ppl and then take action??

    Also, mi nuh like how di fadda ah deal wid dem. So cold. I mean i know its stressful on him as well but him neva haffi gwan so in front ah di media bout “she nuh tell u ah kotch she ah kotch!” Some ppl jus nave nuttin bout dem…

  • Those in need the most get the least attention. If the govt made love the answer for our problems, we would be the most powerful nation on earth. I blame them and all of us as citizens to make the effort to prioritize what is most important. We are slacking when we cant help the helpless. Donations for any cause comes with, “a money dem a look fi teaf,” but if a red cross, ppl will give money. Lets start trusting each other, and expect others to follow.

  • PhantomPhoenix says:

    ggb…is 10 yrs dem a’ kotch’. I don’t think the man cold. I believe him have fi remind the daughta sey him not going to accept full responsibility…him sey “sick or nu sick” him nah mek dem mash dung him place…sad but a so and he fears for his safety.

    She should have placed him in the home when he was young, work har trade and build up har self to have her home to take him back in, maybe another reason why the father not giving her 100% support along wid de fact sey de daddy run gone bout fi him business.

    *Good to know your partners blood type before pregnancy along wid dem family history and where abouts.

  • It is unfortunate that Jamaica doesn’t have the proper resources. Autism and mental illness on a whole has so many unanswered questions as far as treatment etc here in America where ppl are more receptive let alone in Jamaica where ppl are more or less uneducated about these things. I am sure his medication isn’t correct and he could probably benefit from behavioral interventions (therapy etc) which because he never got it at a young age probably mad his illness progress. This is sad. we need more programs in Jamaica to help people like this.

    I know Squeeze was starting something.

  • front row seat says:

    SUCH AN UNFORTUNATE SITUATION. THIS LADY HAS HER HANDS FULL. NO JOB, NO HOME AND NO HELP. WHERE CAN SHE GET SOME HELP? WHO DOES SHE NEED TO TALK TO? IF SHE NUH GET IT SOON THE BWOY A GUH GET WORST. POOR GRANDFATHER CANT MANAGE THEM. MINISTRY OF HEALTH WHERE ARE YOUR SOCIAL WORKERS?

  • PhantomPhoenix says:

    Ms B…you brought up something that peeves me at all times…the church. What are their purpose in our society besides the ‘brimestone and fire’ rhetoric? It’s a shame that this woman or anyone in need needs to be apart of their congregation in order to get help. I am anti-missionaries and churches for that matter. If you don’t accept their biblical beatings then you not entitle to aide from them.

    TOO MUCH church inna Jamaica. Dem hitch up every whey der is blight and misery. Yu can’t save souls that aren’t right in human form. People have to be contented inna human form before dem soul can find peace wid anything else.

  • adwa says:

    bwoy if i did have di resources, i swear seh mi personally woulda build couple school fi dem. this is so heartbreaking.

    jamaica so damn quick fi “farrin” up demself inna everything else, do they know that autistic/mentally disabled children receive a wealth of resources in america and that its government takes great strides to ensure their needs are being met? weh mek di farrin-minded eediat dem nuh copy dis too?

  • DivaNista says:

    So sad… He might need a gluten and sugar free diet. Unconventional but maybe touch of weed or weed seed sprinkle Inna him food to calm him down at night. A cloed supervised environment to tek him during the day. Poor family

  • Weed? you would give a person in there own world aka autisim weed? why? It’s too late for him, no medication can help autistic children except to make them lethargic if they get violent which more than likely they do, if they aren’t physically disabled. what he shouldv’e had was intense therapy where they teach him some functionality from when him did small. Autisim is fairly new on the disease spectrum everything is trial and error even here in america, at this point he needs to be in a home where he can be looked after by professionals.

  • Anonymous says:

    there are many different types of autism, each type manifest its self in different ways, for instance you could havee a child and that child was treated with medication however his behaviour could manifest itself just like this young man’s. Also sometimed a sufferor might even have one or more of the different types at tthe same time. it is strange but true, most people afflicted with these kinds of condition tends to be extremely bright, the problem mostly is, that they tend to not like to interact socially. If he is given a computer , even though he might not have gotten an education and might never have used one before, chances are he might have the potential to master it. This is a truly misunderstood condition and most geniuses carry some of the genes. take einstein for example he was considered an idiot savant who could not differentiate his left foot from his right yet still he was sso brilliant. truly a sad story. the granddad is a real pisa s..t. i can guess that it might be difficult at times but this is his grand child. supposen it was a stranger a wah him woulda seh. all i can say to the mother is ‘ mother keep the faith and just ask god to continue guiding and protecting you, he alone knows why he gave you the cross to bear’ you have done a good job so please congratulate yourself. to be honest i myself dont know how i would have coped. nuff prayers going out to you.

  • splashNdash says:

    Yes Met they have schools that cater to autism in Ja, like Abilities Foundation etc. Problem is they r private n based in Kingston.

  • Cindy Royal says:

    Metty, dis sad bad enuh, cuz early intervention really is the key to making autistic children more functional right into their adulthood. Mi feel really bad for her & upset that all the doctors & psychiatrist medicating him didn’t seek to guide her better & help her get help for her son.

  • Met says:

    Cindy very sad :(

  • Lack of education for both mother and son, improper living arrangement, lack of love, understanding and patience is the reason all of this is happening, and not to mention support from family and the community as a whole.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

[+] kaskus emoticons nartzco

Current day month [email protected] *

DISCLAIMER The views or opinions appearing on this blog are solely those of their respective authors. In no way do such posts represent the views, opinions or beliefs of “Met,” or jamaicangroupiemet.com. “Met” and jamaicangroupiemet.com will not assume liability for the opinions or statements, nor the accuracy of such statements, posted by users utilizing this blog to express themselves. Users are advised that false statements which are defamatory in nature may be subject to legal action, for which the user posting such statements will be personally liable for any damages or other liability, of any nature, arising out of the posting of such statements. Comments submitted to this blog may be edited to meet our format and space requirements. We also reserve the right to edit vulgar language and/or comments involving topics we may deem inappropriate for this web site.

****RULES**** 1. Debates and rebuttals are allowed but disrespectful curse-outs will prompt immediate BAN 2. Children are never to be discussed in a negative way 3. Personal information  eg. workplace, status, home address are never to be posted in comments. 4. All are welcome but please exercise discretion when posting your comments , do not say anything about someone you wouldnt like to be said about  you. 5. Do not deliberately LIE on someone here or send in any information based on your own personal vendetta. 6. If your picture was taken from a prio site eg. fimiyaad etc and posted on JMG, you cannot request its removal. 7. If you dont like this forum, please do not whine and wear us out, do yourself the favor of closing the screen- Thanks! . To send in a story send your email to :- [email protected]