Diary of a Special Needs Mum Initiative was born out of a desire to share my experience with other special needs mums. I am a special needs mum. I am the mother of Oluwalonimi Oreoluwa Ayinde, fondly called Nimi. Nimi was a premature baby and weighed 1.2kg at birth. This made her stay in the incubator for six weeks. Whilst in the incubator, she developed jaundice and had apnea (temporary cessation of breathing, especially during sleep). When Nimi was four months, I discovered that she was unable to hold her head in a stable position. Eventually, at eight months she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
It has indeed been a challenging journey for my husband and I, coping with the issues of caring for our daughter who has special needs. My experience inspired me to write a journal titled, Naked and Not Ashamed. In the book, I wrote about my experience, holding nothing back. As my daughter, Nimi, grew older children often asked questions about her like, ‘Why is Nimi not walking? Why are you feeding her? Is she a baby?’
This inspired me to write a storybook and a colouring book using the story of Nimi, told in her own voice. I have also written two other storybooks to teach children about other children who are living with disabilities.
The problems in Nigeria with respect to caring for children with special needs are quite overwhelming. Topping the rank is societal beliefs and the level of ignorance prevalent among many people, even the elite. Looking back from where I started, it has been like navigating through a maze, blindfolded. Then it occurred to me that if I, an educated person could have these challenges in taking care of my daughter, then it must be a daunting task for mothers who are less privileged.
That was what inspired me to start the Diary of a Special Needs Mum Initiative under P4:13 Foundation. I decided to put the right information out there. To create awareness that children with disabilities are not strange children from strange worlds. They also deserve a right to life, a right to be given a chance to get quality education and a right to impact their world.
Join us as we make this a reality.