This morning I saw an adorable little girl in the Montessori class, her name is Nhyira Aryee. I was amazed as I watched her write with almost every part of her body. Although I saw it as a struggle, she was just fascinated by her activity and everything around her did not matter. The world just grew dim into oblivion. I was moved by the tremendous change in her.
Born with phocomelia of the hands, the parents were pretty devastated. When she was one month old, Nhyira’s parents brought her to OTC but she was very little for assessment. Later in her eighth month, the family returned as suggested by the consultant. On this visit, she advised Nhyira returns for further management when she walks.
In 2015 October, Nhyira returned to OTC at the age of 3 years. She could walk and stand without support. Also she could pick up objects with her hands, but she could not eat on her own. Her mother shared her difficulty in getting Nhyira into school. She explained
Nhyira with her classmates
that the authorities of the first school she sent Nhyira to told her a couple of weeks later, Nhyira cannot continue with school. The reason was that, some parents complained Nhyira is scaring off their wards with her hands. She was withdrawn soon after. Her mother inquired if it was possible Nhyira could be admitted at OTC so she can be trained to be independent, and have more functional hands. On their next review date, their request was granted.
When admitted, nobody could understand this little girl. We could hardly get her to put on shoes or sit in class, a house mother or teacher had to follow her around.The director herself sometimes was babysitting her.
Nhyira could not eat on her own, and she did not talk. She also had to learn how to go in time to urinate. In the beginning she did not like to participate in any class activity. Most worrying part is she slept abnormally. The minute she closes her eyes you will not count to ten and she is gone. She sleeps in class; she sleeps at play; and when idle it is the best invitation,. Whenever she is not engaged she is ready to doze off.
She was sent to see a sleep Specialist form the USA who was visiting a nearby hospital. After an afternoon sleep assessment, he concluded that Nhyira’s sleep disorder should first be seen by an ENT specialist. She was referred to a local ENT at one specialist Clinic in Accra. There she was given some nose drops and sees the specialist every two months. Her condition is improving.
In class, Nhyira hardly participated in any activity but with motivation from her teacher and other pupils in her class, she started joining in recitation and coloring. Through her teacher’s observation, we realized that she takes off her shoes whenever she needs to use her feet for activities. Also, we have noticed that she loves attention and cannot be idle. She is a great attention seeker as well.
Moreover, Nhyira’s teacher noticed that she shakes her body when she wants to urinate. She taught her to say ‘I want to wee-wee’ but we still working on that. Some days she will say it at other times she will do her usual ‘shake-shake’ and will cry a couple of times when she gets no attention during this period.
Nhyira is more active, and gradually she is improving on her behaviour and Activities of Daily Living (ADL). She does a lot of things for herself and her language and speech skills are also better. She will soon see the sleep doctor for night sleep assessment. Nhyira is now learning to write with her toes, and to do more things with her feet.
Scribbling with her feet
She can put on her pantie after she urinates which was a big challenge for her six months ago. Her social skills have also taken a fascinating leap. She plays more and cries less.
OTC hopes to help Nhyira develop her talents and unleash more potentials through Montessori education and ADL training. She is now four years, we hope to get her the right springboard for mainstream school, and to face the life outside the center. With the love, care and training we give to our patients and clients here at OTC, I know Nhyira’s future is promising.
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