Children with organism deficiencies
In the follow –up you make of the families, you, leader, can also find some children with organism deficiencies. For example, they may not see, listen, speak or not manage to move. You can also find children with serious diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, among others.
Above all they are children, with the same needs that every child has; to be loved, to communicate, to play, and to learn. Therefore, the persons who take care of them need to find different ways to meet the needs of these children.
You, leader, can help to find in the community, people that can instruct the families and, if necessary, provide special treatment. The sooner this is done, the better it will be for the child. But the best treatment does not replace the love and acceptance from the family.
The family of a child bearer of a serious disease or with a body deficiency is challenged to deal with this situation. Leader, you can support the parents and the family members, helping them to accept and love the child as he/she is, encouraging them to create the proper conditions and opportunities to the child.
When a family receives a child with some malfunction in is/her body, it should not only turn exclusively to what the child cannot do, but also to what he/she can do. For example, the child may not be able to speak, but can communicate by gestures. In this case, the important thing is to meet the child’s need to communicate.
Likewise, a child that is in bed because of a serious disease can have his/her need of playing met if people play with him/her in bed.
Parents and family members should take advantage of the home activities to create ways of including the child in these activities: the bath time, the change of diapers, the food preparation and washing of clothes. Taking into consideration the characteristics that the child presents, act with him/her not in his/her place.
But this is not enough. The family needs to truly commit to live with the child. Apart from the home routines, it is necessary to include the child in all social activities of the family; for example, in going shopping, in going to church, in going to parties or festivities. In these activities it is necessary to stimulate the child to take part, but, mainly, to encourage other people to invite the child to participate in the activities, making him/her feel challenged to do the things on his/her way and feel integrated in the group. When you, leader, encourages that, you are contributing for this child not to be excluded.
What makes a child deficient is to withdraw him/her from the intimacy of the family, of other children and of the people of the place he/she lives..
Regarding the Indicators of Opportunities and Achievements, differences will also be noticed. For example, in the case of a blind child or that loses one of the sights, the indicators directly referring to the sight cannot be reached. In this case, the leader shall always answer [N] (No) to the indicators of achievements that depend on the sight.
This child may also have some difference in the way he/she walks in comparison with other children. Then he/she can also reach other indicators in age in a way different from the other children who do not have any sight problem. This happens because the organs and functions of our body depend one from the others. A blind child will learn to walk, to touch and use objects in a manner different from another child that can see.
The indicators are important because they give clues to help in the promotion of the child’s development. But, as any other indicator, they have limits, they cannot handle all the situations. You, leaders, will have to find the best way to talk about the indicators and help the families in the specific case of those children. One of the supports can be to indicate a special assistance. The area coordinator can give you support on that.
Many people say they do not feel prepared to interact with deficient children. But this preparation happens when the parents and the family members try to find out and experiment the best ways to live and help the child so that he/she can develop. This is a challenge. And, to face such a challenge, it is very important for the parents to know that they can count on the support from other people like you, leader.
It is the mission of the people that work in the Child’s Pastoral to give value to the families so they acknowledge your capacity to take care and educate their children. It is necessary, above all, to try to understand each family, comment on their good practices, improving their knowledge about the cares and the upbringing of their children, trying to support them whenever they need. This is a concrete manifestation of Love!
The care with the food should continue throughout the child’s development. For doing so, it is important that the family eats properly, for the child will eat what the parents eat.
Feeding is also part of the child’s upbringing, and his/her life will enjoy more happiness and health when he/she learns to eat at the meals time, not to leave food in the dish, to share the food, to chew properly and to eat fruit. And all this he/she learns from/ together with the family.
The children can participate in the food preparation helping in the easy and non dangerous tasks such as that of washing vegetables, collect seasonings in the garden or help to choose fruit in the open market. Thus, they get to know more about the regional food where the family lives and naturally learn to like healthy food.
For a good teaching eating habit, some hints can help, such as:
• Talk in the home visits how important and educational is to set up a time for the meals, but without being too rigid not to transform these moments, which should be pleasant, into a moment of agitation and stress;
• Remember that the healthy food is also more tasty when prepared and served with love;
• Prepare colourful dishes which call the children’s attention and awake the appetite;
• Encourage the mother not to give up the first “I do not like this” or fear the child’s grimaces/disapproval faces. The patience and dedication are precious in teaching eating habits. The child has all the right to refuse, like he/she has of trying again;
• Remember that there is no need to add sugar in the juices, milk and teas. The taste the child feels on the tongue is not the same of the adult’s taste;
• For mothers of children who need to follow a diet, instruct them on how educational is to agree with the child the food he/she is going to have and talk to him/her about the reasons in avoiding some types of food and eating more of the others.
Leader, encourage the family to make use of some small spaces in their garden/backyard to grow seasonings and green leaves.