Wednesday, October 31, 2018

2020 Census to Capture data on Disability

The 2020 population and housing Census to be done by the Ghana Statistical Service will for the first time in history capture data on disability

The statistical service will be using the Washington Group of questions, a set of questions on disability designed for census use in the survey of general population

Some Disabled Persons Organizations have lauded the move but have called on the statistical service to streamline the questions to suit the Ghana situation to be able to capture data on specific disabilities such as Autism and Cerebral palsy

Mr Kwamena Dadzie-Denis, Chairman of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) told the Special Mothers Project Advocacy team that the Disabled Persons Organizations will meet to come up with suggested questions that will help capture specific data on specific disabilities especially on children with disabilities

Some officials of the Ghana Statistical Service also advised that the Disabled Persons Organizations in Ghana should look at questionnaires that exist in other countries to make it easy for data analysis, saying, “There will be no need to Capture data that cannot be properly analyzed

The Washington Group of questions was developed in response to article 31 of the Right on Persons with Disabilities which obliges states to collect appraisal information to enable governments develop policies to give effect to the convention

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Cerebral Palsy to me is a call to serve humanity

One thing I have been committed to since having a child with Cerebral palsy is the need to continue to be in employment. I have been committed to this because along the many things that comes with parenting a child with Cerebral palsy is the need for money.

In the world of special needs parenting in a country like Ghana, if you don’t have money to keep you going, you risk getting depressed or joining the world of those whose business is it to exploit their situation with their child.

I make judicious use of my annual leave in the office but it is not always enough to deal with the early closing of school, the mid term break or the long vacation.

Usually what I do is to enroll my child in a regular mainstream school during vacation or pay for daycare services when I really need to go out, attend a meeting or do something outside of the house on days that my children are on mid term break or some days during their long vacation period

I will however never forget the week of 22nd to 26th October 2018, when my daughter’s school went on a well deserved mid term break.

It took my unawares, it wasn’t in mind, I only got a reminder the weekend before the midterm break, I had not asked for permission from work. On Monday the 22nd October, I woke up as a confused mom who has not planned enough for a week long midterm break.

On the 23rd October, I took the children to the office to formally ask for permission to work away from the office. However on the 26th October, I had an important meeting to attend.

I have been invited by an NGO working in the area of Mental Health for a meeting, I was particularly interested in. I have not long ago enrolled as a certified Counselor focusing on counseling parents of children with Cerebral palsy or other disabilities.

I was interested in meeting other stakeholders working in the area of mental health to continously improve myself in that area. I thus approached this mainstream early childhood day care centre for  day care services  for my daughter and son whose school was on break.

I approached this school on Wednesday to give prior notification, I approached because it is the same school that took my daughter with Cerebral palsy in during the vacation for a whole month and they did a wonderful job.

To my utmost surprise, the Head of this school came scratching her head, at first she said she was short of staff by two, I told her, my daughter is usually independent except when she has to eat or needs a diaper change.

Then she said my daughters presence could attract stares from the other children in the classroom, now I got angry, angry because I knew it was just an excuse, angry because these children have been with my daughter for a whole month and there were no stares from them, they were even helpful, angry because I even made friends with parents whose children were there during the vacation.

Some of these parents were very helpful during the vacation period, they always offered a helping hand when they saw me with my three children, one with special needs and one a baby.

I asked the Head of school who usually portray herself as a Christian that will she be surprised if she heard that a mother of a child with Cerebral palsy has killed the child. I didn’t wait for an answer, I told her it was the likes of her that encourages the killing of children with Cerebral palsy or other disabilities.

I told her my peace of mind and left, I made sure to tell her that the school is not worth taking care of 
any of my children if they cannot take care of my child with Cerebral palsy.

Note, this is a school that took care of her a whole month without any complaints, I will continue to say that Inclusive education is possible, it is the willingness of schools and their staff that is lacking.

Anyway, I did not take this behavior personal, I saw it as a conspiracy by the heavens to push me closer to my purpose The Special Mothers Inclusive Centre.

Special Mothers Inclusive Centre, a centre that will provide day care services to children under age 5. The centre will focus on training all children in acquiring daily living skills, such as toilet training, grooming skills, morals and values, Love, 😍and ultimately teach children inclusion and the need to respect differences in people. The centre will also provide professional counseling services to parents of children with Cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

The centre will also serve as an information hub where appropriate referrals are recommended to families raising children with Cerebral's a home away from home experience for your children.

The Centre will start full operation in January 2019, an idea I have always nursed but been afraid to even think through it.

I always gave an excuse that it wasn’t part of my calling but now I feel like the Biblical Jonah, who gave excuses at the call of God. I can only say Yes Lord!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Participants discuss viable options to support children with special needs

Participants at a training seminar on Entrepreneurship opportunities in the area of Special Needs concluded on the need to increase awareness creation on children with disabilities to attract the needed attention from government and corporate organizations.

The Training Seminar mostly attended by mothers of children with cerebral palsy looked at options available in creating facilities or services that will serve families raising children with disabilities

Mrs Hannah Awadzi, Executive Director of the Special Mothers Project, an advocacy and awareness creation programme on cerebral palsy issues said the seminar was demand driven since many parents who contact her organization requires  support services and systems usually not available or very limited.

“Many Parents of children with cerebral palsy ask for certain services or support systems that could support them in raising their children but sadly there are very limited choices, the few available tends to be very expensive for the majority,” she added

Mrs Awadzi said there was the need to have more meaningful conversations about cerebral palsy or children with disabilities in Ghana to deepen the understanding of the masses and to facilitate the creation of affordable support services and systems

Ms Vee Agyare Nelson, Founder of Stepping Stones Foundation, who discussed the various models available in supporting children with complex needs urged participants to spread their imagination beyond the ordinary and be creative in attempting to establish viable ventures to support families raising children with disabilities.

Touching on education she said there are children who need lifelong learning, not necessarily focusing on the academics and added that sometimes, training a child to be able to eat by himself is a great milestone that needs to be celebrated.

Ms Nelson shared her experiences of working in the United Kingdom as a Health and Social workers and said emphasis should be on giving the children quality of life.
Ms Monica Kwakye, a professional care giver who has worked with children with disabilities in Ghana both in homes and in schools also shared her experiences urging parents to be willing to discuss their expectations from care givers