CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS REQUIRE BETTER UNDERSTANDING

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Children with Special Needs and their families during Family Day at Itireleng Residential Care Facility for the Disabled in Ga-Rankuwa

By Sipho Ncube

  • Dr Monama of Itireleng Residential Care Facility for the Disabled (RCFD) commended parents raising children with special needs during a recent family day event, acknowledging the challenges they face.
  • Parents of special needs children often grapple with feelings of shame and isolation as they adjust their expectations and navigate the complexities of caring for children with disabilities.
  • The family day event provided a crucial platform for parents to connect, share experiences, and access support from social workers, fostering a sense of community and understanding among families facing similar challenges.

Doctor and Psychologist Monama from Itireleng Residential Care Facility for the Disabled (RCFD) has applauded parents who are raising children with special needs and indicated that it is a challenge for many.

Dr Monama was speaking during a recent family day hosted at Itireleng RCFD, an institution run by the Gauteng Department of Social Development, in a packed centre hall filled with parents and siblings of beneficiaries based at the centre.

She said, “It is a challenge for parents who are raising children with special needs because parents have always had exciting expectations for their children, and when some discover their conditions, they feel ashamed and isolate them from their community.”

Special needs children are those who have a disability or a combination of disabilities that makes learning difficult. Special needs children include those who have mental conditions which cause them to develop more slowly than other children.  Monama said, “Children with special needs require care, love, and understanding. We should understand and appreciate them because some of them can’t even express their emotions, but they act out due to overstimulation at times.”

Speaking in the background of the day, parent Jeannette Kgasi appreciated the occasion and said, “Family Day is also important for the interaction between parents, children, and social workers. I’m pleased with the presentations and the advice we get from the presenters.”

Another parent, Nthabiseng Molefe, said that the day also helps them to share good ideas and practices.

Parents with children with special needs miss out on many family-oriented activities because their children’s disabilities prevent them from successfully participating. They also encounter criticism and judgment of their parenting from others who don’t understand their child’s disability. They sometimes feel like outsiders around the parents of typically developing children. The Department will continue to provide support to the learners and their parents.

Picture by Moipone Matsapola

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