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Temi Otedola opens up about her Brother Fewa in “My Story and Living with Autism” for World Autism Day

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Yesterday, April 2, was World Autism Day and to help create awareness, fashion blogger Temi Otedola shared a personal story on her JTO Fashion blog about living with autism with her younger brother, Fewa.

Fewa Otedola

She started off by saying “Autism Awareness day was launched 9 years ago to raise awareness and conversation about the people living with autism around the globe. with this in mind, I have decided to share my own personal experience with autism.”

Talking about how her parents told them about her brother, she says:

In 2004, my mum called my sisters and me into her bedroom. With the composure only a mother can have, she told us that our baby brother, Fewa, had ‘special needs’. While my sisters asked questions, all I could do was think about what this would mean for me, the already overindulged, youngest of three girls. Thankfully, my selfishness quickly wore off and Fewa quickly became the centre of our family. The role of an older sister always entails some sort of responsibility. However, the role of an older sister to an autistic sibling is a great deal more work. At first, it seemed like every day with him was a challenge, especially for my mother. I remember seeing my mum helping Fewa with simple tasks like brushing his teeth, helping him to get dressed, or feeding him lunch, with each day ultimately ending in exhaustion. Our family has been so blessed to have help from carers, but no one can deny the resilience my mother has had raising Fewa. It is the thing I most respect about her.

On her brother, she says:

Every day, I see him becoming more independent. Our relationship is becoming less one-sided; I can truly say that we are friends. Fewa doesn’t need anyone’s sympathy. He is the most genuine and caring person I know. This is probably why I have never seen Fewa’s autism as necessarily and totally negative, it is a unique characteristic that adds to the complexity of the person that he is

I am not naïve or unrealistic. I certainly have some gnawing worries about the future. Fewa will always need support of some kind. At age sixteen he still requires 24 hour help. I would say that the biggest misconception about autism is that people who have it are  socially inept geniuses  – Rainman, anyone? Yes, that is true for some autistic people, but there is a reason the official term is “autism spectrum disorder”. It is a spectrum, and it can range from children who are not able to speak at all to children who can go to normal schools.

On coping with Fewa’s autism, she says:

No matter what I do, I need to build my life with Fewa in mind. My parents won’t be around forever, and his care and well-being will become the responsibility of me and my sisters. It is true that consideration for Fewa will always affect the decisions I make in my life. Despite this, Fewa is by no means a burden. These worries do not reduce the immense love I have for my brother who has brought so much joy and shown me the purest form of love. To quote The Bard, “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.” It is Fewa’s unconditional love that has shaped me into the woman I am today – a sister, a teacher, a carer and a best friend.

Nana Otedola, Fewa Otedola, Wumi Otedola, Temi Otedola, Femi Otedola, Florence Otedola

Read her full post here.

26 Comments

  1. Lailatu

    April 3, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    “It is true consideration for Fewa will always affect the decisions I make in my life.” This got to me because at the end of the day this is what family is about. It’s not about the billions or lack of it, it’s about love and loyalty, having each other’s back. Mrs Otedola did a good job. I have noticed that sometimes, families with special needs kids seem to have the strongest bonds.

  2. jane

    April 3, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Eyaaaa, Every mallam with him kettle. this post is an eye opener. I love how positive she is about this. God will help you guys to always make decisions that will favor Fewa

    1
    • Spencer

      April 3, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Keep ur eeya to urself he needs no sympathy he is doing ok. And can some nigerians drop that eeya stuff it always sounds awkward and out of place.

    • fee

      April 3, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Why bodi dey pepper you?

  3. babym

    April 3, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Aww this is soo lovely. Such a handsome young man too. Family is everything. Very good on Temi for speaking up about these issues. We as a society just don’t talk about kids with special needs enough. Some families are going through these things and have no idea how to deal with it. The more awareness created, the less stigma and more solutions and help created.

  4. Seriously

    April 3, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Very touching. This is so much needed. Nigerians tend to hide it, be ashamed of it and see it as a BIG negative thing. I have a cousin who lives in Nigeria with autism and it’s been a challenge. I will definitely send this article to them. . It’s something we don’t freely talk about in the family and unfortunately my uncle and aunt treat him so differently. The stigma, ignorance and being in denial is the problem. My dad made a stupid joke about it the other day which I had to educate him on. He said, that’s oyibo problem. Special needs, disability is human being problem it’s not race, ethnicity problem neither is everything witchcraft.
    Thanks Temi.

    • memebaby

      April 3, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      i thought i sent this in for a min.. I have a cousin living in nigeria who I recently (well 5 yrs ago) figured out might be autistic.
      in the 90’s – 2006 he never used to play with us as kids or attend parties..he was sometimes at some boarding school in lagos or always stayed at home.. I have never heard him speak and he doesn’t have the facial features people living with Down syndrome have.
      No one says anything and that needs to change. Thank God for my generation and social media . we are more aware and speaking about various issues which were hush hush topics for our parents.

  5. rain

    April 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    lovely. family support is everything

    • Sammy

      February 2, 2019 at 7:38 am

      It true bro

  6. Honestly

    April 3, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Finally, their PR must be reading the comment section’s and taking the advice on how to market themselves more favourably. But don’t use the boy for attention or to make yourselves sound more human o. God is always watching his angels.

    • Dave Hole

      April 3, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      You should have kept your comment to yourself..

  7. Belgian

    April 3, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    I remember them being bashed for not talking about it, now Temi has and people are being so hateful to them. I wonder what it is about the internet that makes it so easy for people to make the most heartbreaking comments about people

    • Chocolate

      April 3, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      Who’s being hateful? I’ve found the comments to be very supportive. In fact first time I’ve seen majority positive comments on articles concerning them. They were being bashed because it looked like they were consciously trying to hide him, several times they have posted pictures and caption “the whole family” yet Fewa was nowhere in sight and Femi’s nephew would take his “place”. That’s what lead people in the know to question their motive. This is not the first word autism day they’ve ‘celebrated’ since finding out his condition.

  8. Anonymous

    April 3, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Family is truly everything. When my sister found out her second son was autistic, she literally died emotionally, physically and mentally. She was worried about what people would say, if he would be accepted and live a normal life. In-laws and her husband neglected her to her fate but thank God she had three strong sisters and a great mother. We dedicated our lives and finances to give him the best. Our company had to pack up because we had exhausted everything. He is eleven years old going twelve and he has improved greatly though we are dead broke but I can’t stop crying and laughing at the same time knowing how far we have come.

    • FunmiO

      April 4, 2017 at 9:34 am

      1 Corinthians 13:13 : Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love. As , you have all shown your unconditional love, the good Lord will richly supply all of your needs. Before ,the end of this month a great abundance will come for each person that has selflessly dedicated their life and resources to ensure your nephew has a good life. God Bless you

  9. alwayshappy

    April 3, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    God is good, he doesn’t always give us what we want but he always blesses us with what we need. This formation reminds me that #allweneedislove

  10. Sugar

    April 3, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Now i understand why Dj Cuppy said money is not everything in life, there are somethings money cant buy. If only money could cure Autism this handsome Fewa will be doing just fine. There is more to life than money money. My kudos to the entire family, it must have been a hard time initially. Lots of love to the otedolas.

  11. Weezy

    April 3, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    No family is perfect – even the very rich has problems. That’s not the point of Temi’s post, but it is something internet-savvy Nigerians really need to learn.

    It’s a good thing that she is talking about this – it can help reduce stigma towards the condition.;

  12. Hawtspot

    April 3, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Bella Naija I expect you to write and celebrate autism rather than talking about the Otedola’s. They are not the only ones that carry the burden of raising an autistic child. This goes down to show how insensitive people have become, all in the name of wanting traffic on your site and making money. This is a personal note and you dont need to publish it; but I find this behaviour of yours absurd. Please leave the dirty and insensitive journalism to the money-selfmade chicken Linda Ikeji.

    • Idomagirl

      April 3, 2017 at 11:16 pm

      You make it seem like BN broke into her house and stole this from her diary.
      Yes it’s a personal note but she made it public by publishing it on her blog.
      I really don’t see what you’re taking issue with.

    • Hawtspot

      April 3, 2017 at 11:18 pm

      please the last sentence reads “….money-selfmade chic Linda Ikeji” not chicken; God forbid I should call a humanbeing chicken irrespective of my opinion.

    • funmilola

      April 3, 2017 at 11:31 pm

      inasmuch as I didn’t enjoy reading cisi eze’s article on the “average Nigerian”, your comment proves you belong to that category.
      there’s a way you can pass your message to bellanaija without being insensitive and rude too.
      Na wa oooo, no wonder you typed “chicken” instead of “chic” as you claim

  13. Idomagirl

    April 3, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    So heartwarming and beautifully written.
    I so much admiration for the loved ones and caregivers of people with special needs. ❤

  14. Idomagirl

    April 3, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    So heartwarming and beautifully written.
    I so much admiration for the loved ones and caregivers of people with special needs. ❤❤

    • clementine iweh

      April 4, 2017 at 4:57 am

      Kudos Temi for this beautiful article.

  15. Anonymous

    April 4, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    @funmi thank you so much for your prayers, I really appreciate it.

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