Not many people know na ang bunsong anak ni Martin na si Santino, ang anak niya sa naka-relasyong si Katrina Ojeda, ay “on the spectrum” o ’yong may ASD o Autism spectrum disorder na isang developmental disorder.
Hindi naman ito kailanman ikinaila ni Martin at open siya kapag tinatanong about Santino’s situation at sa mga struggles and triumphs nila ni Katrina bilang parents ni Santino, who is now a handsome 13 year old.
When asked kung may mai-a-advise ba siya sa ibang mga magulang with similar situation ay naging very elaborate si Martin.
Una, aniya: “If your child is on the spectrum, never introduce them as special. You don’t need to explain to anyone that your son or daughter has something... if they don’t see it on their own, that’s great, diba? In other words, there shouldn’t be no... I’m not one parent—and I think I speak for the mother of Santino as well—we’re not the kind of parents who want to introduce them as special, as different...we are all different, we are all special. So that would be my first advice... do not introduce your child as special.”
Pangalawa raw ay ang hindi pagsuko.
“Don’t give up. You need to be positive because these kids—the kids on the spectrum—they can sense your every mood, your every decision, your every facial expression... they can feel it and they’re ten steps ahead of you.”
Bukod pa doon, panigurado naman daw na may magandang sukli ang hindi nila panghihina ng loob sa sitwasyon ng mga anak nila.
“So, whatever you do, just know that better days are coming,” patuloy ni Martin. “They will make you proud. One day your kids will make you proud. I never thought that my son Santino would one day be playing the drums for me. Not just two or three hits...I mean a whole song. In our [concert] repeat last November to December, we had Santino in all of our shows. He played four concerts. He rode in the bus with us and we drove six to seven hours to San Francisco from LA...
“Right after a show, in the middle of the night, [he] still woke up, did the sound check, did the show, came out for the last bow... you should see it in the Instagram, you’ll see the pictures that we have bowing together and performing together...Who knew that that could happen?
“So, to all you parents with children on the spectrum, do not give up. Do not lose hope. Your children will make you proud.”
Wala ring pagsidlan ng pagka-proud si Martin nang tanungin kung gaya niya ay singer din ba si Santino, bukod pa sa pagiging drummer nito.
“He sings very well...Oh, my God! I think that’s next. I think the next time we have him in the show, he will sing.”
Malaking bagay, ayon kay Martin, ang consistent na pag-a-undergo ni Santino ng sports-social theraphy, kung saan every other day daw ay may ina-aral at pinopokusan itong bago.
“On every other day, he goes...he learns to skateboard, scooter, acrobatics... I mean, everything to strengthen their core, to make them confident that they can stand on their own... and part of that is music. That’s how he’d learn to play the drums.
“He does the drum, he’s learning the piano and with skateboard now, he jump off ramps...very carefully. But he can do it. Before he couldn’t even stand on the board. And now he’s jumping on ramps. You’ll see...Sports Social has an Instagram account, you’ll see him there. He’s one of the people there. [It’s] Sport Social Las Vegas.”
Ayon pa kay Martin, hindi lang si Santino kundi ang dalawa din niyang anak kay Pops Fernandez na sina Ram at Robin ay pawang maituturing na mas talented pa kaysa sa kanilang mga magulang.
‘“All my kids are more talented than me,” walang-halong selos na say ni Martin. “Robin plays an instrument, we [Pops and I] don’t. Robin’s voice and Ram’s voice? They have a higher range than me. You haven’t heard Ram sing yet. Oh my God, someone who saw him in our show said, ‘That kid should be in The Voice.’
“You know what, I never even thought of because Ram is not serious about his singing. Santino is another one. They’re all pitch perfect. I am not. She [Pops] is not.”
Incidentally, ang makabuluhang tsikahang ito with Martin ay naganap sa press conference para sa nalalapit nilang Velentine concert series—Martin and Pops Twogether Again—na gaganapin sa The Theatre at Solaire on February 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21. Nauna na silang nag-sold out sa maraming cities in the US last year. Patunay lang na kung onstage—and even onscreen—chemistry ang usapan, hindi sa hindi malilimutan at binabalik-balikan ang Pops and Martin tandem.
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