Lin's Road to School
They are angels without wings. As the poem goes, "Even if their wings are broken, their heart can still fly." Besides rehabilitation services, education is another critical path for these children to fly again and pursue their dreams.
She was diagnosed at birth with intracranial hemorrhage and congenital heart disease. Both her eyes have congenital cataracts and tear duct obstruction. Her hands and feet were deformed, and she had a hole in her larynx and esophagus. At age one, she could barely hold her head up or crawl, and she only started walking when she was two. Can you imagine this little girl would be at school and studying like all other children in a few years?
Her name is Lin. She is eight years old and is currently in first grade. For most children, attending school when they have come to age is a normal progression. But for children with disabilities, going to school is a challenging path.
Since she was born, Lin's parents took her to hospitals in their hometown and the capital city for treatment. But in September 2018, Lin's rehabilitation training reached a standstill because her family had used up all their savings. When World Vision's partners set up a new rehabilitation service center in the city Lin lives in this year, the center's staff contacted Lin's father. After visiting the new center, Lin's parents let her continue her rehabilitation.
In the beginning, Lin was very shy and needed her father to always accompany her. She slowly adapted to her new environment after spending time with her friendly peers under the staff's patient guidance. Lin worked hard in the training program designed to help her sensory integration, develop her gross and fine motor skills, improve cognitive functions, speech, socializing, and many other skills. Whether skateboarding during her sensory integration training or learning to hold a spoon or brush her teeth, this training will help Lin become self-reliant and prepare her to attend school later.
│ Lin attending a sensory integration training at the new rehabilitation service center. Her father is helping her ride on a skateboard.
After more than a year of training and participation, Lin began to show changes. From initially crying and being afraid to go on the skateboard, she now enjoys the ride; from being anxious and uneasy during group activities, she can interact with staff at the center and imitate their actions when she goes home. Her parents share, "Lin has learned to sing and dance, and we've seen a big improvement in her speech. She is active and does not hide behind her father all the time anymore. She is even smiling and laughing more than she used to."
During the pandemic, Lin could not attend her rehabilitation training at the center. With the support of World Vision, our partners set up a multidisciplinary "rehabilitation, special education, and social work" team and launched a community service to improve the well-being of children with disabilities by providing suitable home-based training programs. Parents also receive guidance to support their children's training at home.
Lin was among the first recipients of the program. The team gave Lin and her parents training online and home visits to ease her transition from kindergarten to primary school.
│ Staff from World Vision and the rehabilitation center show Lin’s parent how to read picture books with her.
A year before entering primary school, staff at the center made a plan to help prepare Lin physically and mentally for primary school; this included strengthening and learning and self-care abilities. For example, to help Lin improve her hand motor skills by holding a pencil to write, swipe the floor with a broom, or wash dishes. They also used some of the activities taken from the primary school's physical education curriculum to practice with Lin, such as skipping ropes. They used drawing books to help Lin understand how she could protect herself in school.
Meanwhile, the center's staff also discussed with Lin's parents the school they can apply for. They explained the application process and provided information so her parents could make the necessary arrangements. They needed to know there were" more solutions than difficulties" to boost their belief that Lin could attend and fit into school and society.
With her parent's efforts and support from the service center, Lin is now a primary school student studying in school. During a class meeting, Lin shared, "I will study hard to become a nurse in the future." We hope Lin will thrive and achieve her dream of becoming a nurse!