Born: 1985
Ntiamoah has spent twelve years in the mental hospital in Accra before coming to our Hand in Hand community. He is severely autistic and deeply handicapped. He attends the morning program at the autistic hall. Ntiamoah can stand at one and the same spot for long periods of time, without moving an eyelid and staring into nothingness. If nobody takes him to school he will stop halfway and stand there motionless for hours, till he is found and prompted to walk further. It is difficult to connect and engage with Ntiamoah. In the past he only looked up at the sky but nowadays he makes some eye contact. If Ntiamoah is happy, he will start giggling. This especially happens in the swimming pool, a place which Ntiamoah likes very much. He always stands on the same spot, playing with the elastic of his swimming suit, or washing the wall of the pool with lots of energetic splashing. These are all rituals, and the way he likes to dress himself is also compulsive and ritualistic. Ntiamoah is very particular about his taste and if you dress him into something which he does not like, he will immediately take the clothes off again. He absolutely does not like to wear shorts and anything shabby. In the right attire however he is happy and showing off like a dandy. The reasons for these rituals are about his great need for predictable patterns in his life to help him to feel safe. This is true for most people with autism but it seems especially so for Ntiamoah. Of late Ntiamoah has started to enjoy hard physical work and every morning he fills the water-barrels at the dormitories and at the autistic hall. This satisfies him for some time and can make him giggle with pleasure. Being able to do some physical work each day which is also predictable all helps to make Ntiamoah feel safe and enjoy life.
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