Koo Emanuel

Born: 1991
Financial adoption: Van Hees; Ank Broeders, both from Holland
Emanuel (Koo Ema or Ema Ema) is deeply autistic. He shows a range of stereotypical and self stimulating behaviors such as rhythmically clapping his hand, which is why he is also sometimes called ‘the clap-man’. It took him years to get used to his new environment. In the beginning he was afraid of other children and nobody was allowed to touch him. When getting to close and trespassing his safety zone, he could become aggressive and hit other children or run away scared. Now gradually Ema has found his place in our Community. Still he is a loner and very quiet and does not talk, but he allows you to greet him, look him in the eyes and hold his hand. Sometimes he expectantly waits for that to happen. He craves for attention provided it is gentle and true to his nature hates force or surprise. Koo Ema is a sweet young man and shows his shy beautiful smile quite a bit, provided you don’t force yourself upon him. In his ‘special attention time’ in the morning if asked he sometimes sings. You have to listen carefully otherwise you will not be able to hear it, but he sings! He also claps his hands when he hears music. When you give him a book, he will look at all the pages in a very interested way and look at it over and over again. At dinner time he will get his own and his “brother” Ntiamoah`s plates from the kitchen and bring them to the table where they eat. When he comes across something interesting, he will smell it, or touch it and then smell his fingers. When you are gentle with him, he can reward you with one of the sweetest smiles you have ever seen. He does not talk but understands a lot. Ema loves music and he can repeat any tune he hears. In 2007 he has started to dance and he now performs publicly with his dance-partner Pakor during our many parties. Ema attends Shalom special school in the mornings. He likes to walk and every morning his caregiver walks him to the hospital-gate and back and volunteers walk him every afternoon to town. His ‘brother’ is Ntiamoah, also autistic, and you always find them together. (Update Jan 2010 by Sue Hatton, Sereh and Ineke)