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All children should have the same rights

Published 22 May 2017

- I would have to pre-visit all practices and clinics, Luma says. I talked to the doctors to make sure the place is friendly and accepting. Then I would decide if this is the doctor that will treat my son. It can take visiting several doctors before finding the most suitable one. And then of course, I would take the chance to spread the word among the parents community to save them the hassle of doing the same thing.

Luma Jamjoum has made up her mind. She lives in Amman, Jordan and is the mother of two sons, Faris and Omar. She will make sure both of them have the same right to a good health and will be respected even though they have different circumstances in life.

When her son Faris was two years old her suspicions about Faris autism was confirmed. When he was born Luma knew at once that something was wrong. She consulted several doctors in order to make sure he was at good health but the doctors had different diagnoses. Some doctors said that this is normal and he’s going to be better in a couple of years, some others said that it is a severe case of behavior disorder with no hope for treatment.

It was very stressful for Luma and her family to find a doctor who would accept Faris and start treatment but with persistence they were able to do so.

- I would have to pre-visit all practices and clinics, Luma says. I talked to the doctors to make sure the place is friendly and accepting. Then I would decide if this is the doctor that will treat my son. It can take visiting several doctors before finding the most suitable one. And then of course, I would take the chance to spread the word among the parents community to save them the hassle of doing the same thing.
 

Fighting together gives more strength

Luma knows it is always best to help each other. If she stands up for other children other people will stand up for her children. She got involved with Sana, a partner organization of IM.

Luma contacted Sana for Special Individuals in order to get help to fight for her son. She started attending parents support groups with Sana and ended up volunteering with them. She doesn’t feel she is alone facing the world, and she believes in her son’s abilities and right to good health. 

- In addition, I founded an initiative called “Bahja” (means Joy in English) which gathers people with intellectual disabilities along with their families and hosts several activities for them, where we make sure they are well included along with their siblings and family members.  

Luma’s son is very well included in the society and very well accepted because Luma respects him and his different abilities and talents. It is because she believes in her son and accepts him, others do so as well.

There is a governmental exemption for any person with disability to be medically insured in Jordan, however, most of the families in rural areas are not fully aware of this fact.

There are also other challenges. For Faris to go through any kind of treatment, minor or major, he has to be under full anesthesia, because of the lack of doctors who can deal with autistic children.

Text and picture: Salam Shebli, Program Officer IM Jordan.
Bearbetning: Åsa Bremer Lundberg/IM.