Companion is the Best Cure

A little girl was riding a bike and playing lonely at the entrance of the yard. She was dressed in red, although wearing a ponytail her hairs were messy. When seeing someone came, she shouted her grandma. Standing behind her grandma, the little girl blinked his black eyes and looked at the visitor without a word.

Her name is Xiaoyu, 12 years old and in grade 5. Due to brain hypoxia at birth, Xiaoyu’s mental development was affected and she was diagnosed as mild mental retardation. Her hands will tremble occasionally, she is lame in the left foot, cannot pronounce clearly and will forget things from time to time, including the knowledge she has learnt. Her grandma said, “Xiaoyu is a very cheerful kid at home, but she doesn’t want to take the initiative to play with other kids and she always rides a bike in the yard usually.” While introducing Xiaoyu’s situation, her grandma looked at Xiaoyu with concerns.  

Xiaoyu’s parents took migrant work outside the village and Xiaoyu grew up with her grandparents. Since her grandparents was busy with field work every day and accompanied her very little time. At home, Xiaoyu usually plays alone, she rarely talks to others and will not go out to play with other kids in the village; at school, Xiaoyu attends class like a normal child, but her memory is not very good and will forget what she has learnt very often, and therefore, her academic performance is not as good as other students, which depressed Xiaoyu’s interest in learning and her communication with other students is very few as well.    

World Vision’s “Family Power” project was aimed at providing a care mode for special children and their families in the community with an expectation that they could receive proper support in mental health and rehabilitation so that they could face the challenges in life.

After learning about Xiaoyu’s situation, World Vision developed a targeted service plan for Xiaoyu and hoped it can help Xiaoyu improve her self-care ability, increase her social support network and be well prepared for later secondary school life.

Previously, Xiaoyu could not comb her hairs skillfully, fold quilt, and help with housework at home. Her grandma said, “Because of Xiaoyu’s physical conditions, we would not ask her to do housework normally, however, she grows up day by day and she must learn how to take care of herself.”

Every day after school, Xiaoyu’s grandma will spend time to accompany Xiaoyu, help her learn basic life skills and teach her to comb her hairs; World Vision staff will pay regular visit to Xiaoyu’s home to tutor her study, accompany her, encourage her to play with other kids together and teach her to express herself; Xiaoyu’s parents came home in school’s winter break as well, her dad often accompanied her to read inspired books to enhance her mastery of the pinyin.   

After several months, Xiaoyu could not only comb her hairs, but also made different hair styles; she was able to fold quilt; she helped her grandma pick vegetables and wash dishes after returning home from school; she was no longer silent at the dinner table but talked to her grandparents about things happened in school; she also invited other kids to her home to play, to draw and to do handwork together, and when she was happy she would sing with other kids together. Such Xiaoyu surprised her grandparents very much and her grandma said, “I could never imagine that Xiaoyu would have such a big change and never thought that companion would bring her such a big progress.”

Xiaoyu was also very happy about her own progress. She dragged her little friends to take photos in the snow of the yard and said to them, “Come to play with me again next weekend, OK? With your companion, I would no longer play alone.”

Xiaoyu likes singing, although she could not pronounce clearly, when she finished a song with smile, earnest and confidence, all the people present were moved by her, they felt happy for her and applauded for her.

There are still many special children like Xiaoyu, World Vision will continue to focus on children with special needs. However, on the way of these children’s growth and development, we hope all parents could give them more love and companion and let companion and love become the best energy to cure these kids.