Autistic yet so affectionate and that’s all Mom and Dad need
During pregnancy, a woman prays and hopes for a healthy baby. She will do everything to ensure that, and when the bundle of joy comes, everything has new meaning. However, there are those mothers who did everything right, and though all did not go as planned, they still experienced the sheer joy at birthing new life.
Thirty-seven-year-old Marilyn Patmore was over the moon when she found out she was pregnant. Being her first child, he got the best prenatal care, but after birth, there were signs that something was wrong. The worrying began.
"When Romario was born, after a while there were telltale signs that something was wrong. He was delayed in everything - walking, creeping, talking - everything. After a few doctor's visits, it was confirmed that he had mild autism. With little experience as a new mother, I worried a lot because I thought I had done something wrong."
With hope that his diagnosis would not affect his life significantly, through family support, Patmore began living and started worrying less.
"My immediate and extended family were a tower of strength and continue to give unwavering support. I remember when Romario was two, my mom, who was an infant school principal, took him to school, and, by his interactions with the kids, it motivated him to do things I thought he would never do. He walked with a little pulley, but gradually, he moved faster, and when others thought he would hurt himself, he just proved them wrong."
Wanting the best for their son, Marilyn and her then husband, Omar, decided to take Romario overseas for intervention.
Upon their return to Jamaica, Patmore felt he needed to continue in an environment that could lift his spirits and help him actualise his true potential and so enrolled him at the Charagape Elementary School in Mandeville.
"When you have children like Romario, you can't lock them away and think they are not trainable. I have seen vast improvement in Romario and I'm happy that he came to this school because the teachers are amazing. Persons told me not to push him to the level of a nine-year-old, but now, Romario is just shy of a few things a nine-year-old would do."
For his father, Romario's ability to pick up when someone is sad and his need to make it right is one thing he absolutely admires.
"He is very affectionate. Once he gets to know you, he will hug you constantly, hold your hand and even express his love. Though I'm away, our relationship is not hampered as we talk morning and evening and he always fills me in ... it's hard not to love Romario. He's a sweetheart."