#HerWorldHerStory: Raising Seth – the journey of a mum with a special needs son

by Cara Van Miriah; Hayley Tai & Wen Xuan  /   March 8, 2020

#HerWorldHerStory is a collection of 60 women sharing their successes, passions, challenges, inspirations, hopes and dreams. Together, they give a snapshot of what it is to be a woman today.

Every month from March till August, we present 10 women navigating their lives now – and in their own words. This is Silvia Buniardi’s story…

Outfit, Cos Hair, Evangelyn Ariel Koh Makeup, Benedict Choo,
using Cle de Peau Beaute

She rose from the depths of despair to care for her son with special needs, helping him to be independent.

For many parents, caring for their children is tiring but a joy. For me, it was very challenging as the main caregiver of my son, Seth, when he was a child.

Before he turned seven, he was diagnosed with ataxia cerebral palsy, sensory processing disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and autism spectrum disorder.

I was burnt out as a result of caring for Seth round the clock – watching his diet, taking a brain gym course to better work with him, enrolling him in schools and therapy classes, and compressing his joints every two hours, every day – that I contemplated suicide, and even considered taking Seth with me. I had imagined that he couldn’t survive without me.

As a child, he could not sit up on his own, and was slow in his speech development. His extremely high threshold of pain and temperature meant he would hurt himself unknowingly, as he couldn’t feel anything when he stepped on sharp objects.

As a child, he could not sit up on his own, and was slow in his speech development. His extremely high threshold of pain and temperature meant he would hurt himself unknowingly, as he couldn’t feel anything when he stepped on sharp objects.

Looking back, I felt guilty for having (suicidal) thoughts when I saw him sleeping one afternoon.

It took me almost a year to pick myself up through self-care. I made time for myself from my daily routine to unwind by reading a book or watching a movie. My husband, friends and Seth were also my pillars of strength, who kept me together.

Today, at 20 years old, Seth has gone so far in his life, having completed his O-level examination in 2018. He is now pursuing a diploma in Infocomm Security Management at Singapore Polytechnic. I couldn’t be more proud of him – and us, as a family.

My ultimate goal is for Seth to be independent, and it’s driven by the thought that he will have to take care of himself when I’m no longer around.

Last year, I published my book Extraordinary You, about my journey with Seth. I wanted to share my story to encourage others who are in a similar situation not to give up hope.

This article was first published in Her World’s March issue. Grab a copy today!