Tuesday, September 27, 2022 | Safar 30, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

A mother who faced odds now hope for many

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Little did we know the story of an Omani woman's journey that passed through a road full of storms, grief, and anger as she walked with hope. Today, she is an inspiration and hope for many.


It is indeed a journey of patience for a mother with two children diagnosed with autism. With firmness, faith and persistence, she managed.


Maryam al Rashdi's story is all about a mother who turned her pain into a positive act for the world after her first son, Kareem, was diagnosed with autism when he was just two.


Her book, "In the Darkness of His Silence" a title that she gave remembering how she lived looking at her son's silence, was launched at the Muscat International Book Fair on Sunday.


Maryam set up a centre for autistic children called Ontario, which is close to hear because "Kareem uttered his first words at Ontario."


As any other mother would do, she didn't believe the doctors initially but believed in her child. As she slowly got in terms with reality, she had become a determined woman who had made up her mind to get her son a decent, self-dependent life and today, after nearly 2 decades, she has become an expert for children with autism and cognitive disabilities.


Her book, "In the Darkness of His Silence" a title that she gave remembering how she lived looking at her son's silence, was launched at the Muscat International Book Fair on Sunday.


"It was a very big shock for us, and it took several hours to make me believe it actually was," said Maryam talking about her son when he was diagnosed with autism.


"Those days, the pediatrician in this part of the world were not very familiar with autism. Not only that, at that time, there weren't any schools or programme for autistic children in the Middle East, and schools continued to reject Kareem," she recalled.


Maryam got tired when all nurseries rejected Kareem. Even family members were not convinced that someone with autism could lead a normal life.


"We had to make a big choice and sold everything that we had so that we could afford to get a better education and better life for our son, and we moved from Oman to Canada and years later, our center is named after Ontario," she said.


She is emotionally attached to Ontario because it is where Kareem uttered his first words.


"That was a huge event in my life, and I remain loyal to that place. Doctors once had told me that my son would never make it and he would never be able to read or write, but as a desperate mother, I never believed in them. I looked into his eyes and believed that he would make it one day," her inspiring words.


She slowly nurtured her son Kareem. Today, he's a professional pianist attending orchestras and plays his favourite piano with his friends.


"My dream is to have Ontario Centre in every country in the world, in different continents where I can help people, help the mothers to ease their pains and rub the tears of all the mothers across the world. I'm ready to go across the geographical borders to help these children lead a better life," she said.


@kabeeryousef


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