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A child is a lamp…

A child is a lamp waiting to be lit, not a vessel that needs to be filled…

Some of you, the oldest and closest of my readers, remember BBS; Baby Boy Salahuddin born on 19th February 2005 at his grandmother’s clinic and then rushed to AKU’s neo natal ICU on his first day on planet earth.

Three years later Taha (the name we finally settled on for BBS after about four iterations of name changes) was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Syndrome or ADHDS for short. Effectively that meant that our adorable son was gifted with boundless energy and couldn’t sit still. Practically it meant that due to his inability to focus, he had started missing learning and development milestones at his nursery school. We are not talking about hyper sensitive or hyper competitive parenting here. Things like holding a spoon, sitting on a chair, listening, making eye contact, sharing, communicating with a basic vocabulary and being aware of your surroundings including responding to your name. Nothing that will win you an early scholarship to MIT’s (or Xavier’s) school for gifted children, just stuff that allows you to be a normal child.

After Taha’s school teacher suggested that we seek an appropriate medical opinion a host of things happened. The first was a very painful (for us) session with a pediatrician who explained the nature of the condition and its implication and a suggested treatment plan. We balked on the treatment plan but after a second and then a third opinion decided to go ahead with neurological and auditory (hearing) exams. How do you tell a 3 year old hyper active child to sit still for an hour long test? You sedate him. What do you do when the child wakes up in the middle of the exam? You repeat the process another day. If it was not for the physicians in the family (Fawzia’s elder sister) who kept on explaining why things had to be done in a certain fashion, who stayed with us on three attempts to test Taha and put the fear of God in anyone who did not seek her approval before touching her nephew, we would have given up long ago. This was also the second occasion in my life where despite my numerous biases I was grateful that we have a facility like AKU in Karachi as well as Pakistan.

The tests were followed by attempts to work with Taha at home while we looked for a speech therapist. Though we had a list of name we were looking for references that would vouch for the physician. Four months later, through a mutual family friend who had worked with the therapist before, we found Anika Shah at the Ma Ayesha Memorial center.

Three months into the therapy, Taha today is a very different child. He has a long way to go but under Shah’s treatment we have started seeing visible improvements. Things like a holding a spoon, sitting on a chair, listening, making eye contact, sharing, communicating and responding to your name. Nothing that will win you an early scholarship to MIT’s (or Xavier’s) school for gifted children, just stuff that allows you to be a normal child.

A child is a lamp waiting to be lit, not a vessel that needs to be filled…

 

 

 

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