Taking a chance on children with special needs

2009-12-09 00:00

FRUSTRATED by the lack of support which exists for children with special needs, local resident Debbie Beeton has set up a trust fund that she hopes will take her a step closer to reaching her goal of a one-stop care facility for special needs children and their parents.

Bianca’s Trust, which takes its name from Beeton’s 10-year-old daughter, Bianca Konstantopoulous, was registered in April this year.

Beeton (formerly Meyer) is in talks with a local welfare organisation about a possible venue for an educational and care facility for the children, but needs financial assistance to get it up and running.

Her aim is to have professional volunteers on hand to offer occupational and speech therapy to the children, educational and health programmes, counselling services for both children and parents, and simple afternoon after-care facilities for special needs children.

It will be a safe environment in which the children can interact without being judged.

“Many of these children are hidden away,” said Beeton. “Are they mistakes, or are we making mistakes?”

In September last year, Weekend Witness carried a story about Bianca’s medical problems and her mother’s determination to reach out to other parents.

As she intended, Beeton has formed a small support group that is currently operating out of people’s homes, but will move to a new facility once the trust has raised enough money to cover running expenses.

Bianca suffers from a range of disorders, including complex partial seizures, which cause memory loss; cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal electrical activity in the heart); a host of food-related allergies; and cyclic neutropenia (low white blood cell count), the latter making her highly susceptible to infection. She also suffers from auditory and visual hallucinations.

Beeton said people often mistake her daughter’s behaviour as the product of ill-discipline. “But because of her memory loss, she sometimes can’t remember she’s been grounded,” she said.

Bianca’s medical advisers say she has two options: to spend three weeks at Red Cross Children’s hospital for further tests or to be sent to the United States for a brain implant.

“I’m not entirely happy with either”, says Beeton, who said her daughter surprised her recently when she asked if her mother planned to give her away one day. “I believe that with the right stimulation and medication, she can lead a good life.”

Beeton said she believes God has given her a purpose: to find other parents and children who need special attention and support, and give it to them.

“When I’m around the children, it helps me in some way. My dreams are big, but I believe this thing will grow.” — Witness Reporter.

• Trustees of Bianca’s Trust are Debbie Beeton and her husband Joe, and local attorney Wynford Compton.

Trust beneficia­ries include Bianca’s current school St Christopher’s, a local attorney, physically and mentally disabled members of Beeton’s support group and Bianca herself.

• Contact Debbie Beeton at 073 257 6125 or contribute to the trust fund through the following bank account: The Bianca’s Trust, Nedbank, account 1238009115, branch code 123825.

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