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Waseem’s Story


“Purpose” by Hiyam Rahman
I ask what is my purpose and what is my aim / What do I gather and what do I claim / I embark on a quest to find and discover / The answers to questions I have to uncover / Sometimes it takes years to get to your destination / Though rough at times it is done with determination…

I started writing poetry soon after my son, Waseem, was diagnosed with autism. I feel fortunate I can express my emotions through my poems. They have been a constant source of strength and inspiration, helping me cope with my worries and become a better advocate for my son throughout his journey.

My husband Awni and I married young. I was only 20 when Waseem was born, but we were thrilled to be first-time parents. However, shortly after his first birthday everything changed. Almost overnight, Waseem withdrew into himself. He stopped talking, letting us hug him, and showed little interest in playing with his favorite toys and games. I was scared, wondering what happened to my happy, little boy. Our pediatrician said he was probably just going through a phase but Waseem continued to regress. I was filled with guilt, convinced I was the problem.

Thank you for letting me share my story. Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health helped our family when we were in crisis. The programs that changed my son’s life would not be possible without the support of donors, like you.

When he was three years old, we finally learned what had been causing Waseem’s behavior. We knew nothing about autism and were devastated to be told he would never lead an independent life and would be forever severely developmentally delayed. It was as if our hopes and dreams for our son has been dashed…until we found Devereux.

Shortly after we began a frustrating search for help, we thankfully learned of Devereux. When the world around Waseem seemed obsessed with labeling him, Devereux wanted to give him his own identity and a life full of promise. He was taught in a small classroom with individualized attention from an amazing team of committed and caring teachers and clinicians. The Devereux team handled his many challenges and self-destructive behaviors with empathy and expertise. They guided us each step of the way. Devereux gave us hope and helped to heal my family.

The transformative care Devereux provides is made possible by the support of the greater community. Please consider making a gift today so that innovative programs and services can continue providing hope to families like Waseem’s.

When Waseem became a young man, it was suggested he would benefit from living on his own. I was again filled with sadness and guilt, wondering how my son leave our home. The wonderful Devereux staff never pushed. They waited until we were ready to take this next big step. Waseem moved into a cheerful and warm home in a lovely neighborhood and he never looked back! Awni and I were at peace, we had made the right decision for Waseem to live at Devereux.

Devereux’s century-old tradition of inspiring hope and promoting meaningful life choices combines compassionate care with transformative treatment, empowering individuals with cognitive, emotional, and behavioral differences to access support and achieve their dreams.

Today, Waseem is 32 years old and - thanks to Devereux - doing great! He enjoys the company of his three housemates and attends an excellent Devereux Day Program. His favorite fall activities include pumpkin picking and drinking cider at local farms, volunteering at animal shelters, horseback riding, and fun visits to the zoo. Waseem loves being outdoors as much as possible and is always enthusiastic about taking long walks in the park with his Devereux staff.

When Waseem comes home for the weekend, we all love visiting local restaurants and enjoying some ice cream. On the weekends, he also enjoys listening to music or watching television with his brother. Waseem is very happy, enjoys his friends and family, and his constant lovely smile would melt your heart.

Devereux cannot bring together compassionate care, industry-leading interventions, and family engagement without your support. Public agencies, which fund their services, simply do not cover the cost of the advanced care and life-changing services Devereux provides. Please make your gift today by clicking the button below.

Thank you for helping Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health create some certainty in this uncertain world by supporting their mission to unlock and nurture human potential for people living with emotional, behavioral or cognitive differences.

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