Story by Ashley Nyaboke,
When I was a child I had this immense passion of helping out the needy. I do remember my Sunday school teacher Mr Moffat used a walking stick,he was a great man. I always wondered why,but still I couldn’t ask him (I thought it was rude to ask). I ain’t alone in this, very many of us fear to talk about any issues be it emotional or addictions for fear of stigmitazation or feeling that we are infringing on ones privacy. Towards complition of high school,we always want pass with flying colors. I wasn’t among those listed as the “brightest students” but rather the problematic one. I was liberal so I think or tell myself and this didn’t work well for me. (Story for another day)
Back to my main story. So as we were headed to do our KCSE all I needed from God was to make my parents proud that meant passing my national exams. I then made a pact with Him to let me pass my exams and all return the favor by working towards helping the needy in the society. To cut the long story short am here today trying to fulfill the promise I made. Going to university I studied Special Education after a long mind struggle. I didn’t want to be confined in a classroom, I felt i wasn’t doing the children with special needs justice if I was confined. I later joined Kenya Institute of Special Education for my certificate in Kenya Sign Language. And thats where my passion and journey of learning,associating,working and advocating for persons with disability started. I met a friend, a lady I hold dearly to heart Maureen Mugambi. That’s where our story began.
Two strangers who became friends and binded and bonded by one thing they loved the most.
Children with special needs .
Our journey of wanting to make a difference to our community and country..
It was a beginning of a journey that is not going too be easy considering the myths,culture and superstitions we have as an African community makes it even harder to penetrate and change the perspective of everyone including the family of the child.We live in a society of class and standards set. If you ain’t achieving the set standards then you are forgotten by family and community in general. Am not saying all but am sure we have all come across such,not necessarily as an individual but you could have,in your extended circle. We live in an academically oriented generation “if you can’t make it academically then you amount to nothing out here!” So we are told. The pressure put on a child to succeed could be to much to bare. Are you allowed to complain? No!
Why? Because your brothers,sisters,cousins ,relatives,parents and even the neighbors child didn’t and haven’t complained, who are you to?
Do you know that we have children with “unseen” disabilities and disorders? The reason I say this is, we believe if we don’t see amputation or visual impairement or we can say none of the body organs is missing then,one should be able to be academically oriented and socially fit. We have children with dyslexia,learning difficulty,mathematics difficulty,gifted and talented,neurological difficulties,and those with social problems only to mention but a few.
s our academic system well equipped to handle the differently enabled children? Is our society to judgemental or its due to lack of awareness?
What are your thoughts?
Ashley Nyaboke is a behavioural therapist who finds joy in helping children with special needs.
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