The curious incident of the boy who found his voice


Joshua Sandy spoke for the first time when he was 10 years old. After undergoing a life-changing operation, the first thing he did was ask his mom for food. Diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Sandy was non-verbal, hyperactive, and had difficulty focusing. He had been to seven different schools, until his mother found the Carbonado Energy Autism Centre in Athlone. Run by Sunkiree Veerasamy, she nominated Sandy for a groundbreaking stem cell operation that helped him gain his voice.

By coincidence, Sandy was born two months premature on World Autism Awareness Day. Having a child with extreme autism can be difficult, but Sandy’s parents have tried to provide him with the best care possible. So when they learnt of stem cell operations being run in Mumbai, India, they were determined to give him a chance. With a 91 percent success rate for patients with autism, the Neurogen Brain and Spine Institute offers stem cell therapy for a variety of neurological disorders and spinal injuries. However, Sandy’s family couldn’t afford to take him to Mumbai. So they founded an NPO, Nosh for Josh, to raise funds for him and other children in need of treatment.

In April 2017, Sandy travelled to Mumbai and received the operation, and the results were almost immediate. He is now capable of speaking, is calmer, and can focus better. Sandy is a miracle child, born after four miscarriages. His parents have taken their campaign across South Africa in order to raise awareness about autism and provide support to parents with autistic children. Sandy’s mother hopes to give other children the same chance at a whole new way of life, knowing what a difference it has made for her son.