Disabled boy finally heads home

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 March, 2008, 12:00am

A 14-year-old mentally handicapped boy who has been separated from his family for almost seven years left Hong Kong with his father last night for his new home in Britain.

And despite his severe disabilities, Nauman Mohammad managed a smile as his doting father, Tahir Mohammad, prepared him for his long flight.

Nauman, who was born about four months premature, has been a patient at the development disabilities unit at Caritas Medical Centre since 1997. He has an IQ of less than 20, epilepsy, asthma and other health problems.

His family moved to Britain in 2001 but were unable to take him with them at that time. It has taken them nearly seven years to make arrangements to welcome him home.

Because Nauman is highly dependant and needs continuous attention, Mr Mohammad had to undergo six months of intensive training to learn how to take care of his son. Mr Mohammad said Nauman would be looked after at home.

'His condition has improved, so he can stay at home. My wife and I will take care of him,' Mr Mohammad said. 'My wife is a housewife and I'll work part time.'

Mr Mohammad, patting Nauman's head gently, said he was looking forward to being reunited with his wife and three other children.

Nauman's doctor, Aaron Yu Chak-man, said it was rare for children who were admitted to the unit to be allowed to go home - mainly because their families did not have the facilities and resources to care for them. 'About 30 per cent of the kids go home for vacations, but not regularly,' he said, adding that the parents of about 40 per cent of the patients had forfeited parental rights - these children were under the care of the director of social welfare.

Dr Yu encouraged families to give these children more care and emotional support. 'It's right that there are doctors and nurses at the hospital to take care of them ... but they can't give them their psychological and social needs,' he said.

The unit has about 150 patients.