Guest: Saidat Abari
In Saidat’s story she openly shares about all the inner triumphs which get brushed under the rug while she talks about being a parent to a child with autism, a journey which began 20 years ago. She expresses what it was like to not have the opportunity and not give herself the opportunity to sit with that pain, knowing that it is a grieving of its own kind, to know that she must embark on a different parenting path. Saidat explains that when you are a parent to a child with an exceptionality, it is easy to have all your time get swept away looking for answers, resources, advocating, presenting as hopeful and with a positive spirit. She mentions that she felt this need to feel strong constantly and not let others know about her story of the pain she endured. Saidat has come to a clear recognition that she was not so much in denial as she was unaware of her emotional experiences at the time. She had been so used to hiding her emotions and moving on because there didn’t seem to be time to do the feeling, she is still learning to be completely vulnerable with herself. Saidat had a positive encounter with yoga, a certain kind that allowed her to just focus on just being vulnerable to the world. She took time to talk about how it would feel so overwhelming to navigate her world, and the life of social media and the pressure she felt from the posts of other parents — feeling the need to do what other parents did, experiencing guilt from all sides, wondering if she did enough of something, while not enough of another, or perhaps needing to try something different all together. Her key message to the listeners is that: feel all your feels — happy, sad, angry, frustrated; it is okay to grieve the life you have; it is okay to seek support you need so you can be supportive and courageous for your child; take care of yourself first, so you can take care of your child too; it is okay not to be okay.
Guest Bio: A motivational speaker, singer, songwriter, storyteller, entertainer, and children’s author Saidat has cracked the code to connect and engage with youth genuinely. Born to make people smile and impressive in her accomplishments, Saidat’s performances inspire, motivate, and empower children. From a desire to make people smile and a wish to build confidence in the younger generation, Saidat’s message of encouragement, self-worth, and community-mindedness is also a motivation for a global audience. She presents a powerful message from the heart that “One person can make a difference, together we can change the world!”
Saidat was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012 and in 2018 was accredited as the first Black Canadian female children’s entertainer in 2018. She also became the first female ambassador for the National Basketball League of Canada in 2018. Her program, “The Saidat Show,” was born in 2004 from a desire to make people smile and a wish to build confidence in the younger generation. Saidat has now reached over 800,000 students across Canada.
Thames Valley Children’s Centre: https://www.tvcc.on.ca/autism-behavioural-services
Thames Valley District School Board ( Special Education): https://www.tvdsb.ca/en/programs/special-education.aspx?_mid_=400