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All pictures: © Kayne


About Kayne and work

Kanyeyachukwu (meaning “let’s dedicate him to the creator) was born on a cold November 17th night, in 2009. He is the second son and third born child of Tagbo and Silvia Tagbo-okeke. An incredibly beautiful child from birth, his constant smile always attracted the attention of others around him wherever he went.

Growing up, we began to notice that Kanye exhibited traces of one that didn’t seem to be developing at a normal pace as other kids. This of course prompted our taking certain measures to forestall what we felt was a development that would soon pass away…. So with the application of constant therapy and careful supervision, changing his school to one, though expensive, was renowned and as we could see, had a whole lot of facilities than other schools, we began to deal with the situation as best we could.

Before long we began to get a bit more worried when we realized it was becoming somewhat difficult for Kanye to respond to things around him the way others his age did plus, he seemed to be in his world most of the time, not talking to anyone in the family yet, communicating with an imaginary friend or something(s) all day.

Kanye would gravitate from one behavioural pattern to the next without prompting. At some point he could answer a question, no one in his class could and then at the next he could just stare with totally no response when the simplest of questions are asked.

As things became clearer to us that Kanye indeed needed special attention, Silvia and I began to visit one specialist after another here in Nigeria and outside the country, in search of a solution. After running a series of tests, opinions would be divided as regards to Kanye’s behavioural issues. Some doctors would insist that the problem was not as severe as we felt, (a particular consultant told us he “looked fine” to her) while others either insisted on more tests or pronounced him AUTISTIC.

With that pronouncement we began to research extensively on the condition. Everything from the causes, different cases of those on the spectrum, those that were able to overcome it and how, ways by which families could manage the situation and joining a few parents groups online and in schools in order to help us cope with the situation and also to seek to help others.

While making enquiries as to ways to help children with autism we stumbled on a “light” that sort of illuminated so many dark areas, Arts. We noticed he became more fascinated with the arts early (in spite of his love for music, getting him to concentrate on the piano has not been so successful) and picked an interest in drawing.

And so we began a search for a good arts teacher and this led us to one of the most patient and of course, super creative arts tutors here in Abuja, Nigeria. She is Mrs Kokab Farhuk. 

She began to tutor him in the skill while we settled with correcting and encouraging (including applauding excitedly) him whenever he brought home any of his works.  

We discovered that Kanye was comfortable in this environment and gradually we began to understand what he could be thinking of and what certain pictures represented to him. We realized that Kanye is truly an exceptionally talented little boy who through art, expresses himself in a totally different way. 

For us, art has helped Kanye to connect socially as well as connect more with us. The questions you ask him about his works, of which he is eager to answer at any time, makes us encourage him to do more in a caring and more loving way. Never forcing to do what he wouldn’t want to do or use a particular color he doesn’t seem comfortable with at that particular time.

The journey is still on and though we can’t say there has been total recovery of our Kanye, we can definitely say there have been improvements.

All this by the Grace of God.