‘Parents actually started feeling that their child will never be fine again’

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Illustration: Dwijith CV
Illustration: Dwijith CV

It was just the start of another day of hectic schedules and work at the hospital and clinics when I received a call early morning from a client regarding his three year old child with developmental delays. I could feel that he was very tense from his tone and I explained to him how difficult it was for me to assure him of the progress of his child without seeing him. Being in the field of rehabilitation of children with special needs, I have witnessed so many children who had been snubbed by society as retarded, mental, dumb and what not, doing exceptionally well under the quality intervention through a team of professionals.

After a few days I could meet the child and after the evaluations for his development, planned for the intervention process involving the multidisciplinary team of pediatrician, special educator, speech therapist and occupational therapist. Intervention started with the parent counseling and building rapport with the child. Strong base needed to be developed from home so that the services provided in the clinic are replicated in totality. Talking to the parents you could sense that the child had been misjudged at different levels and unprofessional labeling had been done so many times that parents actually started feeling that their child will never be fine again.

We started the intensive intervention and parent training and set goals aiming at independency of the child. The child started responding as if he was never taught before. Children with special needs should be taught the way they learn. They are children who are differently abled but unfortunately labeled. Picking up on small concepts and recognitions of family members resulted in the much needed happiness and the smiles on the parents of this little angel. Day by day we saw tremendous changes in the understanding and interaction of the child. The best day came when he started using words like Papa, Mama, meaningfully and addressed to parents. Intelligent enough now the child started playing tricks and every time he needed attention and unconditional love, he would utter mama and she used to come running to shower all the love to the child. We could see the connection being developed between parent and child. The bond of love, understanding, security and yes the courage to work harder on the kid developed to make him completely independent.

Normality in India is defined more by the societal norms rather than the standard guidelines. The question often asked by the parents after receiving a diagnosis is, “Will My Child Attend A Normal School”? I have seen different parenting styles wherein some parents of children with special needs are so determined to work with their children that they don’t bother about the social labeling and incompetency that our society repeatedly reminds them of.

In a period of few months the child started picking up almost everything. After months of intervention there came a day when they wanted to hear the magical words about attending the school and yes at the final evaluation I knew it he is going to fare well to be ready to visit the school and socialize in a natural setting.

The child performed above average and parents all through the session knew that their child has nailed it. A hug from the child while leaving my chamber helped me work harder for the children with special needs and support their families throughout the journey. I dream of a barrier free society where there is no disadvantage that the children with special needs have to struggle with. I hope to serve many more such angels.

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