Ibrahim is the story of a child with autism as only a mother can tell it. Mothers are often believed to have a sixth sense when it comes to their children. Some know when they have been hurt even though they are miles away; others have been found to show incredible strength when their child is in danger. Shahidun Rahman, the mother of Ibrahim, has both an acute sense of when something is wrong with her child and also an amazing strength of spirit to help her child face whatever hardships may confront him.
Shahidun was 19 when she became a mother. Her husband was still in Bangladesh waiting for a visa, so she had to raise Ibrahim herself for the first 10 months of his life. At first, he seemed like a normal little baby boy, but as time went on, Shahidun realised that he could not speak like other toddlers of his age could. He seemed to only babble incoherent nonsense when other children of the same age were using words like mama and dada. This was the first warning sign that Ibrahim was not developing his language skills as quickly as he could and it was a great worry for Shahidun.
As the months and years passed, he developed further difficulties. He could not interact socially as the other children could, he would have terrible tantrums if he did not get his way, and a routine seemed very important to him. His eating habits were also a great source of concern, as he seemed to only eat when he was forced to and he would only eat a few select foods.
Although his social and language skills were underdeveloped for his age, he was very intelligent in other areas. He could read Arabic at age seven and scored very highly on spelling tests – spelling words that many adults would find difficult.
In sum, the book Ibrahim tells of the frustrations and the many victories that Ibrahim and his mother have went through. It is listed on the National Autistic Society’s publications catalogue and is a must for any parent who has been touched by autism, or even new parents who are concerned by certain behaviours that their children may have. The book is clearly written and not over-dramatic, so a parent can easily understand the dilemmas Ibrahim and Shahidun faced and how Shahidun found her son help.
Ibrahim will be 16 on 19th December 2006 and, judging by this book, he has had more than his fair share of hardships and has faced his problems head on, trying his best to make his mother proud of him. Ibrahim is quite a remarkable young man and his mother’s love and understanding for his condition are clearly evident throughout the book. With the guidance of his mother, Ibrahim undoubtedly will succeed in whatever path he chooses for his future. Good luck, Ibrahim – you are an example to us all!