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Meet the Parents

Iris Mahlalela

Iris Mahlalela

Parents:
Iris Mahlalela

Profession:
Credit Controller

Age of parents:
34

Children's name:
Janet and Thando

Age:
12 and 9 Years

Are these your only children? No, I also have a 3 and 1 year old.

Diagnosis of child:
Janet was diagnosed with a severe intellectual disability (SID) and Thando was diagnosed with both a severe intellectual disability) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

What are the biggest challenges facing your child on a daily basis?
Communication, they cant express themselves due to their limited speech. Socialising and playing with kids their own age is a challenge as some kids make fun of them. Touching is another issue, they feel awkward when hugged or if someone tries to hold their hand.

What are the happiest moments you have with your child on a daily basis?
Thando is very energetic and she loves music, so everyday we play music, dance and laugh.

Are you a single parent or married? Married.

Has your special needs child had an effect on your marriage?
The 2 girls are from my previous marriage, they were not the cause though of the divorce. I remarried and my husband is very supportive and tries his best to find ways to communicate with them.

What has your child taught you about yourself, both positively and negatively?
I am strong and loving, I have resilience. They have taught me to be open minded and to enjoy every moment in life.

Are your family and friends supportive?
My sister, brother and mom are very supportive. They understand the girls and are loving towards them.

Do you take time out, if so what do you do to relax?
I don’t take time out from work, studying, being a mom, being a wife, I cant afford the luxury of time out :). I think the only time I can say I take time out is when I listen to my music and take a long hot bath.

What has made the biggest difference to your child’s quality of life?
Education, being in a school (Back 2 Basics Education Support Centre) where they can cope and be understood.
Eating healthy, exercising their minds and just good old playing.

What is your dream for your child?
They can be anything they want to be. My dream is that society will become more accepting of their situation.

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