New Delhi: Vijaya Chaing never thought her daughter, now in her 30s, would ever be able to converse normally with a guest or be able to conduct her day-to- day routine activities without help.
At the age of 5, after failing to meet the majority of the milestones, Chaing’s daughter was diagnosed to be developmentally delayed and was told that even when fully grown, she would have the IQ of an eight-year-old.
“I was shattered,” Chaing recalled. “It was especially difficult to make my family understand her special needs,” she told.
But the college lecturer from Gwalior didn’t give up. After checking out the options for special children in her city, she moved to Delhi to provide her daughter with the best facilities.
“I gave up a dream job and a settled home in pursue of a life for my child,” she said.
As the world celebrates International Mother’s Day on May 12, it is the story of mothers like Chaing, whose children have special needs, which needs to focused on.
Chaing is not alone. Similar to hers is the story of Geeta Mehra, whose 13-year old daughter also has special needs.
“I knew something was amiss when my daughter missed all the milestones of normal development. She was also very hyperactive,” Mehra said.
“I ran from pillar to post and consulted a range of doctors but nothing helped. Finally somebody asked me to consult a psychiatrist and within six months I got results,” she recounted.
Her daughter is now in a much better position to communicate, learn and carry on her day-to-day activties.
It was as difficult for Rama Nayar to bring up her daughter. Now 18-years-old her daughter shuttled between regular and special schools with doctors diagnosing her as a borderline case of mental disability.
An independent young woman now it is only her mother who fought with society, made her family understand and tutored her to be what she is today.
All the three stories have one thread in common: a determined mother who faced challenges from across all frontiers and helped her child overcome the special needs she was born with.
According to child psychiatrist Nikhil Raheja, “the patience and perseverence of a mother can help in massive improvements in children with special needs”.
Whenever parents, specially mothers, have learnt the skills and techniques to handle the child, the development of the children has been more than what would have been in fancy schools.
How the child will develop also depends on the mother, he said, adding: “I have seen so many cases where the prognosis was very bleak but the children developed much better with the help of their mothers”.
Raheja said there have also been some cases where the father has given up and left the child and the mother, saying he couldn’t cope up with the emotional stress – but the mother always carried on.
According to UN data, children with disabilities are at 1.7 times greater risk of being subjected to some form of violence.
In India, 1.67 percent of the 0-19 years population has a disability, while 35.29 percent of those living with disabilities are children. The total number children with disabilities in India is around 12 million.
– Sreeparna Chakrabarty (IANS)