“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” –Jimmy Dean
When I had my last child she was as healthy as a fiddle with laughter that could melt a stone-cold heart. She was adorable and had the type of cuteness you only see on TV or in films. I was so happy with my bundle of joy that I would occasionally take pictures of her undertaking important milestone such as taking her first step or saying her first word. I know this is something every parent does for their children but my baby was special from day one.
Tragedy struck when she was hit by a bout of childhood measles that left her permanently deaf in both ears. I was distraught and would not be consoled by anyone or anything. My initial reaction was to point accusing fingers at the devil and his evil ways. I prayed, fasted and spent a lot of money on pastors to ask God to reverse what the devil had done.
I soon came to the realization that God has given me lemons and I must learn to make lemonades with them. The big question on my mind was how does one care for a child with a disability such as hearing impairment?
Before long I was on the internet looking for information on how to care for my child. I read every article and blog on raising children with disabilities. Through the research, I read stories of people with similar conditions who had gone on to live a normal life. I was determined to make a success story out of my child at all costs.
First thing I did was to withdraw her from her regular school to a special school that caters to children with her type of disability. It was difficult in the beginning because it meant she will lose all her friends and also start afresh.
Initially, she had difficulties adjusting to her new condition and would cry her eyes out when alone. I had to comfort her with stories of others who have successfully coped with such predicament.
I also signed her up for support groups for children with special needs. Through the support group, she made new friends who gave her the necessary emotional support she needed to cope with her predicament.
Although the journey to helping her cope with her predicament wasn’t an easy one, but it was worth every single effort that I put in.
Eventually, she became independent and could do things on her own without any help. I was proud of the little successes she had chalked within a short period of time. My goal is to see her achieve her dreams of becoming a special needs teacher one day.
Here are some important lessons I learnt helping my child cope with her condition
Spend time researching the kind of condition your child has so that you will know how best to help your child.
Surround her with positive-minded people who will encourage her on this journey
Speak to experts who understand your child’s predicament for tips on how to care for them
Make your child a top priority in all you do
Find a support group that provides support for children with needs such as your child.
Work on strategies that works for you and your child because what worked for child A might not work for child B
There is no shame in asking others for help because you will not be able to do it all on your own.
We might not be able to reverse what life throws at us but how we decide to respond to it makes all the difference. There are many people living a fulfilled life because of how they decided to react to their condition. There is always ability in disability; don’t limit your child!