Author, motivational speaker, actress, business executive, columnist, and television personality Maia Chung speaks, writes, and shares things about her life. Why does she? Because it helps her manage various situations which make her happy, sad, agitated, and motivates her to be a better person. She has used art, poetry, essays, and just heartfelt and honest statements to put the world into perspective; hoping that at least one person can identify with her, and feel better for having taken the time to understand what she communicated from deep within her soul.
It’s hard being the mother of a child with autism, “A disorder that really is a hidden challenge. It leaves your child looking normal yet acting abnormal. In a world not so eager to stop and understand that it is a real problem and it hurts families in many critical ways,” says Maia.
Maureen Samms-Vaughan writes in her research, “Autism now affects one child in every 88 born. As this disorder is four to five times more common in boys than in girls, it affects one in every 54 boys and one in every 252 girls. Because of the impact of this condition on so many children and families, there is considerable research being conducted worldwide.” Read her full report Research On Autism In Jamaica.
Maia lives with her son’s autism and it has caused her to feel inadequate as a mother to him and his two older siblings. Maia feels inadequate because she does not understand autism. Maia writes, “I feel like I‘m always having to overcompensate with our autistic child and feeling I’m not doing right by the others.”
She finds it difficult to make it through the day, just being happy — even when nothing is wrong. Maia attributes this to the fact that for her, autism means that Quinn may never be able to adequately care for himself for his entire life.
Maia fears for other mothers who may not be financially able to care for their autistic child, she says, “I think I have it easier than many whose children live with this disorder, especially living in a developing nation such as Jamaica.”
However, she still worries when Quinn is out alone at school or outdoors, she thinks of him getting bullied, beaten up, or hurting himself because he cannot translate the situation the way a normal child would. Maia has written a book, Maia’s Journal, to help parents learn from her experiences
In order to help the fight against autism, Maia started The Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation (MCADF). The Foundation is committed to increasing the awareness of autism in Jamaica and helping others live with it. Maia and the Foundation have done tremendous work in providing aid to autistic children in Jamaica. MCADF has raised millions of dollars to assist persons living with the disease.
- 2012 Cabinet appointee The National Advisory Board for Persons with Disabilities
- 2012 Appointed to the board of the Jamaica Coalition for the Rights of the Child (JCRC)
- 2011 Lions Club of Mona and SEPROD Group of Companies Award for dedicated and outstanding attention to the cause of Autism
- 2010 Amazing Woman’s Day (United States Franchise)Pioneer Awardee – 2010 for Service to the Community – through The Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation
- 2009 First Global Bank’s Woman of Vision 2009 – Awarded for the formation and works done with The Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation in Jamaica
- 2009 NCB Nation Builder Award Winner – Achievements of the Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation
- 2008 Nominee for the Jamaica Broilers Fairplay Award for the television series, Specials. Specials took a look at the lives and struggle of the Jamaican Autism and disabilities communities and were aired in 22 countries in the region.
Maia contends that autism and its challenges make you a more strategic parent. She continues, “I don’t understand autism, I don’t like autism and I hope someday those who have it will have a way to live with it just like wearing eyeglasses if you have an eye problem — getting the full joy of life despite this thing that has taken over their total existence.”
The Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation (MCADF)
6 Constant Spring Terrace
Kingston 8, Kingston, Jamaica, WI