MEET MARY AND EDUARDO
On a beautiful July afternoon, WHCHC Housing News sat down with WHCHC residents Mary Diaz and her son Eduardo to enjoy big Macs and fries.
Diagnosed with autism, Eduardo is shy and does not volunteer any words, but remains extremely attentive to the conversation, and he probably knows just about everything that is being said. He gives us both a friendly shy smile, and it is a pleasure to sit and talk with him and his mother.
Mary and Eduardo moved into WHCHC’s Fountain Avenue
Apartments in November of 2008. For several years Mary had
cared for both her elderly mother and for Eduardo. Mary had
filled out an application and was on the WHCHC wait list when
her mother passed away.
“My mother knew we were going to get an affordable apartment
at some point, but we didn’t know when. She was so happy to
know that we would be taken care of. On the day of her funeral
I got home and there was a message on my answering machine that there was an apartment for us, and I just knew it was a gift from my mother....she is my angel!”
It is a full-time job for Mary to care for Eduardo. He attends Virgil Middle School’s special education classes, and does extremely well, getting along with all his classmates. He also participates in class activities at the Lanterman Center as well. “Eduardo was a wonderful baby, and there was no indication that there was anything different about him until he was about 2-1/2 years old, when I realized that, although I had been speaking to him in both Spanish and English ever since he was born, he was not comprehending Spanish at all.” Mary had raised her daughter in this bilingual way, and knew that he should be fluent in both languages by that time.
Mary said that Eduardo talked early, and in fact talked all the time until around the age of 4 or 5, and then began to withdraw, and now talks very little.
One could not imagine a mother more suited to care for an autistic child. Mary is respectful of Eduardo’s preferences and treats him with dignity as a young adult. Most of all, she showers him with the kind of love that fosters self-assurance. Blessed with a sweet and kind disposition, it is obvious he is enjoying his life.
Eduardo has just turned 12, and is on the brink of many new discoveries and avenues for exploration in his young life. He has just begun to discover music, playing the piano and the guitar, and also making things with his hands. “He loves movies on TV, but his favorite thing to watch is the Food Channel. He likes to watch the chefs take pots and pans out of the cupboards, and make all the different plates of food!”
Both Mary and Eduardo love the location of their apartment. “We can walk to Target, and the market--everything is so close. Eduardo’s favorite thing is to come home to our apartment. He just loves it!” Mary loves it too, and loves knowing that she has the security of an affordable home to live in and raise her son.