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 palsy.it'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!!!