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PIA Press Release
2005/12/01

Feature:
Special struggles

By Mai B. Gevera

Davao City (1 December) -- "If only I could turn back time and make sure that my child will come out normal just like any other kids in our neighborhood."

"My child asked me why he's not like his playmates, and it hurt me so bad."

"It's hard to accept that my child will grow up not able to taste the same privileges other kids get to experience."

These are but of the strong lines extracted from the testimonies of parents who have children with special needs.


Hearing the deaf

One of the hardest things a mother could be slapped off is the reality that her son cannot forever speak and that would mean that she will hardly be heard.

No matter how harsh this reality is to her, she has learned to understand and communicate with her child even without words.

For Judith Valdez, mother of her only child "Rap-Rap" proudly admitted how hands-on she has become when she learned about his child's hearing disorder.

Though at first, she underwent into a denial stage with her disbelief that Rap-Rap will forever suffer hearing and speech problem.

However, when Judith enrolled her son in a school where he studies with children having the same case, she then learned little by little that there is no best way to help her son but accept him, love him, and support him all the way.

"He may not become a soldier just like his father, but I have high hopes that he could become a very important person someday," she said.

Judith, this early, is already teaching Rap-Rap the value of information technology. " It's already accepted that with his limitation, my child has to embrace a career path that would be friendly despite his disability."

She plans to enroll him in a school where he could learn entrepreneurial skills. Judith is awed by the names built by persons with disabilities in the field of business and economics.


Battling Autism

An eight-year old girl believing that she has her own world is considered the most special child of Alberta Tan from Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

"Joy-Joy" is said to have lived for eight years already but she possesses a brain equivalent to a two-year old.

This was the biggest challenge given to Alberta who until now seeks the question on how Joy-Joy acquired such disorder.

She has to keep reminding herself that her daughter is extra-special. Although her other children play and study normally, Joy-Joy enjoys her own in a small corner and believes that she is happy in her own world.

However, Alberta later learned that she has to teach her normal kids to treat Joy-Joy like a normal one.

"I told them that Joy-Joy has to feel that she belongs in the family and that she deserves to be treated fairly."

But she also constantly reminds the other kids to give her extra special care because Joy-Joy badly needs it, as she is a person with autism.

Alberta learned to extend her patience. " An autistic child would really test one's patience." She narrated that suffering mental delay pushes her daughter to pee anywhere she wishes to.

"She never feared danger. I usually worry when she does things that put her life at risk. That is why I really see to it that I'm beside her all the time.


Appreciating Forceless Muscles

At seven, a child with muscular dystrophy asked her mother " Is there God?" His mother, Lovelley, could hardly control her tears when the child further asked, "Why did He allow this to happen to me?"

But never did Lovelley doubt the presence of God in their life.

Instead, she explained that it's better to have such illness with loving and supportive parents rather than live healthy but lack the latter.

From then on, her child appreciated his life as well as the care he gets from his parents.

Lovelley shared how painful their struggles have given them. " We stayed in St. Lukes Hospital for four long years battling the emotional and the financial burden.

"Before every medication, we are always confronted by doctors the reality that our child might die or he will forever remain disabled."

However, both parents kept optimistic and even became more faithful. Instead of enrolling their child in a regular school, he joined the group where he gets Alternative Learning System.

"He has recovered, but he will forever undergo a rehabilitation. We take care of him because he is so vulnerable to dusts and allergies."

As officer of the Parent Mobilization Action Group (PMAG) Cagayan Chapter, Lovelley encourages parents of special children to join and experience productive membership in the said organization.

"Special children with parents who know how to handle are very lucky. But we pity those children whose parents lack the skill and the knowledge on how to manage these cases."

PMAG, according to her, has become the best venue for parents with special children to learn the necessary skills and behavior inorder to help them bring up children with special needs.

"We have been getting free trainings and seminars. This is helping us in so many ways including the behavior, attitude and physical health development of our special children," she said. (PIA) [top]

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