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Meet the Parents

Owen and Cynthia Dlothi

Owen and Cynthia Dlothi

Parents
Owen and Cynthia

Profession:
Sales rep and Teacher

Age of parents:
40 and 31

Child’s name:
Thando

Age: 10 Years

Is this your only child?
No, older sister

Diagnosis of child:
Autism

What are the biggest challenges facing your child on a daily basis?
Thando can get aggressive and violent with me - he can be difficult to control. Lockdown was hard for us, he didn’t understand why he couldnt leave our flat.

What are the happiest moments you have with your child on a daily basis
Thando can also be very loving, people don’t know that about Autism. It’s not all bad.

Are you married?
Married.

Has your special needs child had an effect on your marriage?
Yes, I feel guilty for having given my husband a child with a disability. It has taken us a long time to undestand what Autism is and that it this is not caused by me or our ancestors. The more we know, the better we understand him and the more peace there is at home.

Are your family and friends supportive?
People have the wrong idea about Autism, especially in our community. There are lots of kids in Hilbrow who are not being diagnosed, if their parents took them to be diagnosed they would get help at school. As a lot of parents are working, we look out for each other’s children. While some people don’t want to have anything to do with Thando, there are also people looking out for him. So there are positives to living in a close community.

What has your child taught you about yourself, both positively and negatively?
Everyday I am learning, it can be exhausting. No day is the same, I get tired and lonely sometimes. This life is not easy but he is my son, his sister is very good with him and I’m so lucky to have her help.

Do you take time out, if so what do you do to relax?
Yes, TV. I like to watch series on Netflix.

What has made the biggest difference to your child’s quality of life?
He goes to a good school, I can see that school has helped him a lot.

What is your dream for your child?
Thando’s name means love, I hope he is always surrounded by love.

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