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We hope to have four children —Newly-weds living with autism

Recently married Emeka and Busola Ahubelem, both living with autism spectrum disorder, say with the right support, living with the condition is not a barrier to finding love and being in a relationship.They share their dreams with ANGELA ONWUZOO

A 30-year-old businessman and teacher living with autism, Mr. Chukwuemeka Ahubelem, on April 10got married to the love of his life Busola,37, who is also living with the disorder.

For the Imo State indigene, it is a dream come true marrying Busola who hails from Ondo State and shares the same feelings with him.

Chukwuemeka, fondly called  Emeka, and  Busola met and fell in love at Champions Vocational Centre, Ogun State,last December.

Emeka, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 18, was a staff member of the vocational centre which is for people living with autism, while Busola  was a student. Busola  learnt  poultry  keeping at the centre.

The businessman said he was determined to make this happen and refused to allow  stigma associated with his condition to deny him his desire to lead a fulfilled life of becoming a husband and a father.

People with autism can live independently

The World Health Organisation saysAutism Spectrum Disorders are a diverse group of conditions characterised by some degree of difficulty with social interaction and communication.

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“The abilities and needs of people with autism vary and can evolve over time. While some people with autism can live independently, others have severe disabilities and require life-long care and support,” the United Nations health agency says.

For a newly-weds, though, disability does not matter where true love abounds.

Emeka and Busola say they are unlikely to have issues in their marriage because they have an overwhelming support of their parents and are economically empowered to meet their family’s needs.

According to the couple, with understanding and right support from extended family members, they will surpass the expectations of those expressing concerns about their union owing to their health condition.

An Advanced Certified Autism Specialist at Patrick Speech and Languages Centre, Lagos, Mrs. Dotun Akande, said though it is not common in our environment to see couples living with autism, with right support, people with the condition can be in a loving relationship just like anyone without the condition.

The couple shared their love experience with PUNCH HealthWise, saying they hope to have four children.Emeka said that there is something special about Busola that endeared her to him, compared to other women he had met over the years.

“She is beautiful. I love her. She is okay. I have been longing to get married all this while. We did traditional and court weddings. I was a lonely man before, but now, I have a partner and companion. We are going to have four children,” Emeka said.

Busola, who is over the moon, also shared her joy with PUNCH HealthWise, saying she is excited about the marriage and the care and love that Emeka showers on her.

The Ondo State indigene said, “I am happy  to marry  Emeka. I love him. He is calm and he dresses well. He is caring and loving. I was so happy on my wedding day.  I danced, ate and people gave me plenty of money and gifts. I am happy that I am married. We play together and wear the same colour of cloth. I want to have two children. But Emeka wants us to have four.”

They may not have children with autism

Speaking with our correspondent, Mrs. Akande, who is also a directorat Patrick Speech and Languages Centre, said to see people living with autism get married to each other is not common in our environment because of fear of having children with autism.

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