Mahaica Creek family benefits from special needs intervention
One week before Christmas 2020, the News Room told the story of a small-scale Mahaica Creek farmer, Balram Tulsiram, 56, his wife Yashwattie Persaud, 47, and their four children – two school-aged with special needs.
Today, their situation has improved greatly because of the outpouring of support from the public and national institutions.
At the time of the last visit in December 2020, the family though contented had faced tremendous difficulties in providing for and schooling the children.
The situation was compounded with two of the younger boys, ages 8 and 2, being unable to walk and feed themselves. The other two children are 11 and 13.
Since then, a team from the Ministry of Education, the Department of Education Region #4, the Special Education Needs Unit and the Regional Special Education Needs/Disability Diagnostic and Treatment Centre paid a visit to the home where the two school-age children with special needs benefited from the intervention.
The team comprised an Education Officer, a Special Education and Welfare Officer, and a Physical Therapist and Coordinator.
The team was able to conduct screening (cognitive), physical assessment, and a general needs assessment of the immediate needs of the children with the aim of planning for their future.
The team also took the opportunity to provide educational materials, inclusive of a tablet, hampers and toys to spread the Christmas cheer.
According to Coordinator of the Regional Special Education Needs/Disability Diagnostic and Treatment Centre Keon Cheong, follow up visits are scheduled to address placement of the children in school and providing whatever support is needed.
The family has managed to subsist in the village of Little Biaboo, Mahaica Creek by pooling their limited resources with the generous contributions from individuals and organisations.
Last year presented its own unique challenges with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The triumph in what could have been an otherwise sad story is that time does not pass this family amid feelings of self-pity, but it is always spent in contentment.
The Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA) had received a report earlier last year that the mother, Yashwattie, had abandoned her parental responsibility and left the home for several months.
While she has now returned and recommitted herself to the family, Tulsiram was forced to care for the children, two with special needs due to their physical disabilities, while at the same time attending to his farming activities.
He had become both the caretaker and breadwinner.
Now with Yashwattie back at home, she intends to support her husband with the children while he goes out to work the farmlands. Yashwattie said she is usually tasked with home schooling the two differently-abled boys while carrying out the usual chores of a housewife.