Meet Mustafa, a 14 year-old who has that rare ability to drag you into a different world with his drawings. A true artist, who can’t resist to transform blank pages into capturing artwork within minutes when he’s in reach of crayons. At this age, he is already famous for being the designer behind Tohum Autism Foundation’s all marketing materials from tote bags to bookmarks. To us, Mustafa is one of a kind talented teenager. To people who doesn’t know him, he is different from his peers since he neither speaks nor makes an eye contact. He is sensitive to certain smells, noises and images and usually unresponsive towards social interactions. Diagnosed with autism at the age of 2.5, Mustafa can’t perform basic activities of daily life such as eating or going to the bathroom by himself.
At first, his family did their best to teach Mustafa to be independent in their own way. Yet they realized that intensive behavioral intervention would be more successful and Mustafa could accomplish so much more if they work closely with a team of professionals. So, his family enrolled him at Tohum’s special education school. Since that day, Mustafa has been making small but significant progress every day. Now, he can eat and go to the bathroom without any assistance. He is more attentive to what’s happening around him and reacts when he hears his name. He spends his days drawing in confidence since his teachers discovered his talent. While Mustafa devotes his days focusing on his strengths, his family participates at free educational workshops on autism offered by Tohum to better interact with their son.
There are over 350,000 children diagnosed with autism in Turkey. They all need nothing but genuine attention and special care like Mustafa. All they need is to communicate in their own way, discover their strengths and abilities and be more independent as individuals. Take a look at Tohum’s projects to give these special children a chance to be themselves through education.