LIFE AND ITS OFFERS

Vignettes

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Memoirs from yesteryear

She was indeed a FRIEND from hell. She warmed her way into our hearts in a rather stealthy yet profound manner. Her smile was warm yet her heart so guarded. We tried to unravel her mystery but it was her well kept secret.  However, little by little, she had us around her finger. We did all that we could to please her without even questioning her moves. Oh how devious she was. Before we knew it, we were giving up our long kept secrets to her. Now that I look I can’t help but notice how TWISTED she was. She left a trail of broken hearts, messed up relationships but the LESSONS learned were immense

 

Marriage gone sour

“Is Clare your FRIEND?” asked Emily. “Oh yes,” replied a rather absent minded Amy.

That was asked on a Monday morning. An inquiry that passed on without much thought. Juggling a career life, a stormy marriage, and her children seemed to take up most of Amy’s life. Life seemed rather TWISTED, something that she always thought was her fault.

Emily came by on Sunday afternoon to help Amy with some  issues. So they got talking about anything and everything.

That is when she dropped a life sucking question. “Your husband is seeing Clare, do you know that?” asked Emily. Silence followed after that. Who would want such news that on a hot Sunday afternoon?

She had done all she could to hold the marriage together. However, after a lot of thinking, she drew some LESSONS  from all the chaos. The days that followed were days of self-realization and re-inventing the wheel. Hard times, but great for her future life.

 

Her little miracle

Sarah was expecting her first child and the first person to know was her childhood FRIEND. They had talked about children since their teenage years. They discussed a lot about parenting that they believed they were ready.

However, no one had prepared Sarah for the news that the pregnancy scan presented. Her child had problems with limb formation. After picturing a perfect baby, this piece of information changed her life from straight and great to TWISTED  and messed.

Confiding in Prisca  about what the future held did not help matters at all. All she told her was , “Abort that misfit.” Broken and torn with no one to run to since she was a total orphan, she turned to the one person that had never given up on her, God. She poured her heart out to Him and was surprised at the comfort and peace she felt.

Holding onto the pregnancy a midst her fears and advice from Prisca, she brought her baby home. Despite the little limbs, she is enjoying motherhood. Her faith and trust in God is greater than before and the LESSONS learned are great.

WHAT SHOULD WE WATCH?

Photo by  Ellespeth’s friend

We had watched them all. We needed something new, something intriguing, but that was not easy to come by since everyone in the room had a mind of their own.

Christy, the girl with autism screamed out, “I want Batman again.”

Fred, the boy with ADHD grumbled, “How about Bob the Builder?”

The choruses went on and it was getting heated to the point that Minnie threw her hands up in frustration. She had just come out from an operation, four weeks back, to correct her spine. So that action despite the pain told me that I needed to calm the situation down fast and effectively.

Flipping through the TV channels, I came across a program on the reconstruction of a monumental site by a group of disabled men. That intrigued me and I thought the children would love it seeing that we had just ended our lesson on disabled persons that had changed our world.

LEARNING – CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

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I believe that teachers of children having special needs can relate when I say that it is not a piece of cake to teach them. Nonetheless, that does not mean that we throw them to the back yard as condemned persons.

You will be amazed at how many have made it in life with spectacular results. That is why I thought it wise to share with you some tips on how you can garner results when teaching such children. This works for a parent or a teacher.

 Discover their strengths – As you prepare for that lesson, take the time to know more about your students strengths, and abilities by talking with previous tutors, looking through the report cards (focus on the good remarks and high scores). Then fill out a strength-based inventory alongside the parents. You also need to ask to your students about their interests, what they feel they are good at, and what they love studying. images (13)

Formulate strength-based learning techniques – Now that you are aware of your students’ special abilities, make it a point to come up with strategies that make use of those strengths. For example, if one of your students is great at drawing but has problems with reading, give him the opportunity to illustrate what he wants to say. If one child shows a strength in knitting yet can hardly understand place value, allow her to design a fabric piece of knitted numbers. There are several ways and projects that you can come up with by coupling your students’ strengths with their learning deficits.

I hope you can integrate these in your existent teaching plans for the best of your students.

Photo Credits

http://www.digjamaica.com

http://www.pinterest.com

ACTIVE PARENTING

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Looking back to when we were children, or rather little, we were left in the hands of one relative or the other or with the older siblings. That meant that you had to fend for yourself because everyone looked out for themselves. That instilled in me the notion that  for myself because no one else would.

In this fast paced world, who are you leaving your children with? Has your job become so important that it has taken up family time? Has social media become your pastime that you do not take the time to look through your children’s school books?

We all desire to have well behaved children that are stars in their schools. However, what is your input towards that?

Purpose today to spend more time with your children. Do not leave the grooming to house helps, relatives, siblings and authorities, do your part as well.

At the end of the day, your child shall either mirror your absenteeism or your presence.

 

Happy parenting

 

EAR WORM – SMILE/GRATITUDE

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Written for Daily Post

Walking through Dawn Special Needs Center, I couldn’t help but notice the caretakers. Each had a smile even when there is nothing to smile about. Then before I knew it, the children also started smiling, the best way they knew how.

That left me wondering. How do I smile when all I am doing is so labor intensive and draining?

Going on to one of the proprietors of the home, all she gave me were smiles. She had just rushed in for the interview and apologized profusely for having failed to honor the first one. Then she went on to tell me about one of their children who had hurt their bone hence a quick trip to the hospital. In all this, her smile never faded.

I learned a number of things while there, one of them being that the task at hand may not be easy at all. However, smiling through it makes victory tangible.

It also reminded me of a quote from the movie, Facing the Giants, “And if we win, we praise Him; if we lose, we praise Him. Either way. We honor Him with our actions and our attitudes.”

Regardless of what lies ahead, choose to look at how far the Lord has brought you instead of how long you have to go. That way, your smile will not wear out and you shall have a grateful heart always.

JOURNEY IN THE UNKNOWN

Following my previous post, I bring to you a journey of twins, a girl and a boy, that suffered a number of challenges while babies and later exhibited signs of precocious puberty.

I got to learn about them through a friend.

At 7 months and those that followed were characterized with enormous dependency on their children. While it is expected for babies to depend on their parents, it starts to reduce by 6 months, they start exhibiting some dependency. However, that was not for these little ones whose size was also alarmingly small. They demanded a lot of care and support.

They were nights their parents would not sleep because they were afraid that something wrong would happen to the babies while they slept. After 3 long months, the doctors finally let them take the kids out of the bedroom and celebrations followed to mark this milestone. Before long, they were toddlers and the parents breathed a sigh of relief knowing that they had successfully passed through the critical stage.

However, that sigh was short lived as they were met with more challenges. At 2 years, the children started giving off a body odor as that exhibited by adolescents. The parents brushed it off thinking that they were not bathing them properly . However, it worsened by the time they made 4 years. It necessitated the use of a deodorant. Later on, the parents noticed that the little ones both had pubic hair. At 6 years, the girl was already developing breasts. 

It was at that point that they decided to take the matter to a medical practitioner. Their first visit was to a general practitioner but were later sent to Mulago hospital to see an endocrinologist. It is here that they got to understand that their babies had a condition called Precocious Puberty.

Explaining to them, he said that Precocious Puberty is the early development of puberty. With this condition, a child begins going through puberty  at a younger age than children normally do. He went on to say that the condition presents several physical, emotional, and psychological challenges to the child’s well being as well as the parenting skills seeing that the child is not emotionally ready for the stage they are going through. He also pointed out that some of the issues that this condition presents need to be managed at a hospital facility.

Some tests were carried out such as those to determine the Hormonal changes since they led to this early development, and blood tests to check the increased production of hormones typically associated with puberty. These included follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), lutenizing hormone (LH), estrogen in girls, and testosterone in boys. X-rays were taken of the left hand and wrist to see whether the bone size matched the children’s age or there was a growth spurt indicative of precocious puberty, and to determine bone-age and degree of skeletal maturation.

If bone age was more than two standard deviations above the mean, it would have been considered advanced. After all the tests, they were waited for the results and it was a long one week. Unfortunately, all the tests came back positive, confirming the earlier suspected diagnosis.

It was undoubtedly a very difficult time for the parents but the doctors tried their best to counsel them for they needed to be strong for the children. Besides that, it was important for the kids to understand what was going on . Perhaps what would give them hope was that their case was not a hopeless one for there was treatment . The doctor explained that treatments to delay the onset of puberty are available, and they are typically well-tolerated. It was advisable for the parents to choose these treatments for their children for two reasons:

  1. Many children at this age are just not psychologically ready to go through puberty.
  2. growth stops after puberty is complete.  So for a young child, it could severely stunt their growth.

The medications used would stop the release of hormones that lead to premature development and it worked by stopping the pituitary gland from releasing gonadotropin, which acts to halt sexual development. And the treatment (Lupron) could be injected daily, monthly, or every three months. There is also an implant placed in the upper arm under the skin once a year. However, it wasn’t available in Uganda .

Armed with this information , the parents went home to make a decision as all these consultations came at a heavy cost . The tests alone cost a million and then the monthly or daily shots would cost them almost $25 per shot and these would be for 5 years until the children were old enough to undergo puberty. Besides that, the drugs were not readily available in Uganda at Mulago. That meant that the parents had to either go to a private clinic to buy them or to find someone who could purchase them from USA .

However, even the children faced their own challenges both socially and emotionally. They couldn’t socialize with their age mates because to them they were older children given the rapid growth spurt. The teachers did not understand this condition so they were not of help. Instead, they always told them that they were too old to be in their respective classes. As a result, they spent most of their time inside the house and would only socialize with other nephews and nieces as they did not judge them like the rest.

The decision was made and treatment started. That has seen the growth spurt slow down and the doctor say that they are improving. We hope that this will improve their life as children. We hope that they will be able achieve their dreams . 

PRECOCIOUS PUBERTY

Having children is such a joy. All we envision is cooing, sweet little toes, and the like. We love to see them blossom. However, there are several problems that children face in that process. One such handicap is precocious puberty.

Precocious puberty is when a child’s body begins changing into that of an adult (puberty) too soon. Puberty that begins before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys is considered precocious puberty.

Puberty includes rapid growth of bones and muscles, changes in body shape and size, and development of the body’s ability to reproduce.

The cause of precocious puberty often can’t be found. Rarely, certain conditions, such as infections, hormone disorders, tumors, brain abnormalities or injuries, may cause precocious puberty. Treatment for precocious puberty typically includes medication to delay further development.

Precocious puberty signs and symptoms include development of the following before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys.

Signs and symptoms in girls include:

  • Breast growth
  • First period (menarche)

Signs and symptoms in boys include:

  • Enlarged testicles and penis
  • Facial hair (usually grows first on the upper lip)
  • Deepening voice

Signs and symptoms that can occur in boys or girls include:

  • Pubic or underarm hair
  • Rapid growth
  • Acne
  • Adult body odor

Mayo Clinic Staff (Jan-02-2014). Precocious puberty.  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/precocious-puberty/basics/definition/con-20029745

In my thoughts, this condition is a real nightmare. In my next post, I shall share with you an experience of one family with this condition.