We are all important. We have all been born to be equal and notwithstanding our differences, we have the potential to develop our talents, give love, and smiles, and contribute to our communities. Such is Armando, a six-years-old boy, living in a village on the outskirts of Lezhë. During first years of his life, Armando's parents could not understand the boy’s behavior. At three years old, after several medical tests, they learned that Armando has autism specter disorder. A reality unknown to them, despite the economic difficulties, they were willing to do everything to support their child.
“In the beginning, Armando didn’t understand much. He rarely articulated any word. Now there seems to be hope for our son. He has started to understand many things, articulate more frequently, and has learned new words,” tells Armando's. Armando has not been able yet to attend the kindergarten as he lives in a remote area lacking urban transport, but from since he turned three is was enrolled into “Hello Life” social programme.
Through the mobile unit, the “Hello Life” team in Lezhë travels to the boy’s house once a week. They follow an individual development plan that the experts have shaped for him.
It is inspring to see that Armando has created a strong emotional connection with Erada, a speech therapist. She says that the weekly work is life-changing for Armando.
“In the beginning I noticed lack of communication by Armando. He had repeated behavior and specific reactions. Today I am confident for his progress because Armando improves daily. Now I see more positive changes than disorders,” tells Erada.
The work with Armando is focused on all the essential triangle elements that affect the child’s life: children, family, and community. In addition to the help given to the child, his family members are also consulted and trained to help in the process of Armando’s integration.
“I am very happy with the improvements my son has since the first day of therapy. As a parent, I see my child’s progress from session to session,” says Armando’s mother.
The child loves sweets, especially biscuits and he has learned how to ask for them. Making small but firm steps, Armando continues to improve in the field of social interaction, communication, and behavior. He can identify different body parts and comply with simple directives like stand up, sit down, give, applaud, and other. Armando identifies all the family members and also different everyday life objects. He recognises colours and can mimic the length of sounds with the help of therapists and parents. The bubble bottle and the ball are his favorite objects, which he is now able to point at.
The therapist says that the identification of comprehension skills is satisfactory. Armando likes games and has learned to use toys. The boy completes simple puzzles quite well and can play with the forms box; can insert beads into a thread and drive pins into their respective place.
The family hopes that Armando will grow, progress, and build healthy social relationships and why not to create a career and build full independence.
World Vision, in collaboration with Lezhë municipality, offers weekly home therapy for 40 children in this area through “Hello Life” social programme. In total, 196 disabled children receive home service through this programme in the municipalities of Librazhd, Prrenjas, Dibër, Bulqizë, Lezhë, and Rrogozhinë. This programme is supported by the social fund of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection in the municipalities of Librazhd, Prrenjas, Lezhë, and Rrogozhinë.