Today I visited the school of the young man, M, we talked about here. It was world disability day on Saturday the 3rd of December, and like I promised, I took a trip to M’s school, somewhere in Ketu, to sensitize the school on issues of disability, particularly, Cerebral Palsy.
M’s mum, Mrs. O told me when I got to her place that the pupils are not as much problem as the teachers, so to the teachers we went, though I had prepared a talk for the pupils. She had a medical doctor go with us, I only got to know about the medical doctor when we got to her house which is a stone’s throw to M’s school.
We got to the school about 11.45a.m. As soon as we got into the school premises I could see most of the challenges faced by the young man. I could not push Ziim’s push chair on the school’s premises, the ground was very rough, so I could see the herculean task it would be pushing M’s wheel chair there. I carried Ziim and the doctor carried her chair while Mrs O helped me carry my handbag. We arrived at what is the principal’s office adjoining the staff room!! How could this be the staff room, does BRF know that this structure exist as a school in his state capital? The whole place needs a total renovation!! I shut my eyes to the structures or lack of them and focused on why we were there which is to try to make the teachers show more understanding to the young man.
The principal quickly sent for the members of staff that were not there, pupils were on break. On their arrival we were introduced, the doctor and myself, I introduced my daughter, Zimuzo. The principal asked if I would rather use a classroom as they were expecting a lecture. That would not be necessary I said, we are just going to have a discussion, like friends talking. So we talked, with me doing most of the talking. I told them what I do, why I do what I do and why we were here. I talked about the need for inclusion of children with disabilities in school, the need for teachers to be a little more empathic to children with disabilities particularly the one(s) in their school.Yes, we very much understand that they are not specially trained, but they can try and include the child in the class activities, like he can be called up to answer questions and make a force when he gets it right. Often the child wants to participate by trying to raising his hand, but he never gets to be recognized??? Yes, but it takes him almost forever to raise the hand. Hm… we tried to talk about the reasons why it takes him that long; muscle issues, spasticity, coordination etc etc. Oh! I now understand why often times he “refuses” to shake my hand..coming from a teacher. No, he does not refuse, the hands are just not obeying the instruction from the brain to shake your hands, you may put it that way.
We even talked of causes of Cp, different levels of severity, Ziim was on hand for us to see and compare with the pupil M in the school.They asked questions, answers were given, it is not infectious nor contagious, no we still do not know how to “eradicate” it, hm… We made suggestions on things that may better assist M in class to improve his performance, they will look into them.
It was an interesting visit. All parties were happy. Is it possible for us to make a repeat visit? Thank you were exchanges and we departed same way we came, myself carrying Ziim, the doctor carrying her chair and Mr. O carrying my handbag. I was glad I kept a promise. Should I make a repeat visit? What do you think?