Sunday, December 8, 2013
Celebrating a Child's uniqueness......
Lately I have been observing my grandchildren in ways I have never done so with them before. In the month of October I helped my daughter in law, Sarah with her new born. She has 3 other children ages between 5 and 2. I stayed almost the whole month with them and I found family bonding between mother and child has its own twist and turns. Sarah is a full time home-maker and the children are very attached to her giving her little time and space for herself. Slowly but surely she is making gentle changes.
Unlike Sarah, my daughter Azra works at the office and her 4 boys aged between 8-2 show more independence in their own special parameters. My youngest son stays with me and his daughter has a trait a little different from the rest of my grandchildren.
I find that each child is different and they are different in more ways than one. They have their own unique character and I see it as unique against a backdrop of a differentiated controlled environment. As a group, children are children and there are generalities we can attribute to them.
But in my case I have normal grandchildren and I also have grandchildren with special needs and special attention. However I would say that at this stage, through my casual observation, when a child is a child, what they do or say is just an expression of personal freedom and an expression of their idea of fun and creativity. In many instances they do not see it as absolute right or wrong. They enjoy expressing themselves though sometimes they may be seemingly rough due to their "special" nature. This is not a professional observation and I may be inaccurate in my opinion.
Though wrong I may be, I enjoy watching over my grand children especially Huzaifah and Akif close up. These two grandchildren of mine has special needs. There were incredible moments with Huzaifah (will write about akif later) which will describe how I feel as an adult trying to understand some of their unique behavior.
From the beginning of school holidays until a few days ago my eldest grandson, Huzaifah stayed with us. The original plan was to take him for a short stint to Langkawi but we never made it. So the next "best" thing is to let him play games in the computer since we have no other grandchildren of his age around. Our grand daughter, Amanni, goes to her pre-school everyday as I have no energy to care for her needs at home.
Unhealthy as the expert says to allow young children to spend hours at the computer, I took a risk to allow Huzaifah to do so hoping that in the process of getting excited to finish whatever games he is on, simultaneously it will trigger an interest in intellectual exploration.
My Huzaifah is below his age level in reading and writing. He is suspected as a case of dyslexia and he has been diagnosed also as 'attention deficient' and will not stay focus on anything that does not interest him or things that he find himself difficult to connect with. In other words some may say he does things as he pleases but we can also say it pleases him to do what he enjoys most.
For almost a week he was at the computer for hours on end until one day he spilled his orange drink on the key board. Wow....Embah, help ! He dashed into my room panicking and yelling to get help because I think he knew it spelled disaster. True enough....
The computer went bust and that scared him straight. Instantly I didn't know what to do. He pulled my hands trying to rush me to see if I could do something to save the situation.
Poor Huzaifah.........I was sorry to see his pathetic look.
The next day he paced himself up and down the room for he didn't know what to do with himself without the computer.
Suddenly I heard him yelled for me saying "Embah !....I know why it didn't work. The keyboard is wet. Look Embah.....we should have cleaned the key board and not just clean the table. "
"A... Ha...now you know why. Do something to dry it up".
But it was an attempt in vain. He looked disappointed and kept staring at the key board for minutes on end. Maybe he is thinking, 'hey...what shall I do next ?'.....
What caught my attention was the fact that he did not give up trying to do something to the computer. He checked the key board again and again, checked the wiring, checked the plug point at the wall......this and that. I just stood by watching what else he would do to get the computer working again. I thought that was a good attempt and a great effort for a child his age. He thought he found the solution and was excited to tell me that he could fix it. But.....sigh !.....He did not expect the problem was more serious than he could handle.
I told him that I would ask the technician to fix it and ask him never again to eat and drink in front of the computer.
He looked at me and said "Sorry Embah....".
It cost me some Rm50 to get it fixed. But it was a blessing in disguise. Now I know for certain that although he is slow in reading and writing, and he would not sit down for more than 5 minutes to learn how to read, he is nevertheless a thinking kid and if he has fixed his mind into doing something, he would be persistent to do anything to see it through. That is a good start to be a normal child and hence in the future a normal person by the Grace of God most Loving most Merciful.
And I do have great hopes..........
And I inspire myself to see and think beyond the horizon. I pray hard that one day I would come across a person with a big heart and a lot of resources who would work with me to set up a centre for Children with special needs. I do think a lot of Huzaifah and Akif and think of how I could help other kids with similar problem. Some Doctors said that if there is no proper medical intervention, these kids may end up as social deviants. They become so due to social pressure especially peer pressure. The idea of having to conform to social norms and without the right skill will drive them to be juvenile delinquents and later may pose a problem for society at large.
May God alMighty forbid.
May God most Wise most Compassionate bestow upon parents and others close to these children the will and strength to lovingly care and move forward relentlessly and together make this world a happy place for our special children where ever they are.