Autism Abroad: A New Life for Makhi

Hello, we are the Nielsen family. In 2007 Makhi was born. My wife and I were so thrilled. We each have a child from a previous relationship. So when we found out we were having a child together, we were ecstatic. We had so many dreams for Makhi, we talked about his future , about what sports he would play to what kind of music he would listen to. After he was born we noticed a few things. Slow to no speech. Waited until 14 months to walk. But what hurt was that he started to say momma and dadda, and then just stopped. Without knowing it we started a journey that was chosen for us long before Makhi was born.

2009 was difficult for our family. That is a year we will never forget. We were told that everything we ever dreamed of was no longer possible. It was devastating but we never gave up. At the age of 2 Makhi was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder & Sensory Processing Disorder. I ruptured a disk in my spine and damaged the nerve in my spine. All in the month of December. A lot of pain and tears followed. We spent the following years trying different ABA therapies for Makhi, moving from one city to the next trying to find the best help, and mostly they were working. Sometimes he would flourish and other times he would stop and not do anything. But all in all he was doing well. Until he started school.

I went to physical therapy for my back but by the time Doctors realized what was wrong my body had started to heal and there really was nothing they could do. The disk slowly healed, but the nerve remains a constant pain all day, every day.

But since the day we stepped foot in Ecuador everything has changed. Makhi and I both have felt the difference. Makhi really has changed since we got here. He talks so much more. Expresses his opinion. A lot! He plays with his toys the way he is supposed to instead of waving, spinning or hitting them on something. You can see the change in his eyes. He is so much more aware of what is happening around him. The change is truly amazing.

Back in Canada when my wife and I would go for walks, she would always have to walk slowly for me because I would typically be in too much pain to keep up with her. But here it is opposite. I have to wait for her, she can’t keep up (Don’t tell her I said that). I rarely ever feel any nerve pain. And when I do I can take an Ibuprofen and problem solved. It feels great to feel no pain for the first time in almost 6 years.

We have been living in Ecuador for 5 months. If this kind of change can happen in 5 months, my mind soars with wonder at what the future holds for Makhi now.

With the $35,000US ($47,000CAN) raised we will be able to get our Investors Visa ($26,000US investment plus fees) which will give us our residency.  Also it will be used to continue to blog about our experiences in Ecuador and show how it has affected Makhi. There are many different visas but you must meet the requirements. And the Investors Visas is the one that best suits us.

Since arriving in Ecuador we have meet many amazing people. Meeting Stephane changed a lot of things for us. We have begun looking into business opportunities in Ecuador. We are in the process of opening our first business together with more to come. But we must be able to stay. Once we have our residency we will be able to focus more attention on working with Makhi and building a better future for our family. We will also be able to fly our other 2 boys over ($5000) so they can see the progress in Makhi and see where we are going to live. They will continue to live in Canada so we wish to buy them new computers($2000) so we can stay in contact with them will we are here.

If the target goal is not met we will have to return to Canada until we can build up enough money to get the Investors Visa. My concern is we did not expect this kind of reaction from Makhi. He has gone beyond our expectations and I worry if we go back, will it cause delays in his now amazing development. We must continue to be able to stay here so Makhi can have as normal a life as possible. Every child deserves nothing less than a happy life. And here in Ecuador is where Makhi is truly happy and so are we.

In our blog we have explained more in detail what we went through living in Canada and after the move to Ecuador. Our blogs focus is on any changes we see in Makhi since we got here. From how he responds to school work to how he plays with his toys.

All donations are greatly appreciated, and I also ask that even if you cannot make a financial contribution that you share the details on Facebook, etc. to help us achieve our goal. Thank you so much for taking the time to come and learn about our little family. We hope that life smiles on you and that you have a great day!


Aaron Nielsen
Milton, NS

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