Mom opens her heart to children with special needs

2017-07-26 06:02
Founder of On The Sparrow Day Care, Nokuthula Tshotshobe.

Founder of On The Sparrow Day Care, Nokuthula Tshotshobe.

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“MOST children with special needs are more like normally developing children than they are different from them. They share the same zest for discovery, love for stories and music.

“They, too, need to learn to run and play, solve problems, have conversations with friends and attend to their personal needs.”

These are the words of Nokuthula Tshotshobe, the founder of On The Sparrow Day Care in New Brighton.

The day care, which caters for children with special needs, was started in May last year when Nokuthula realised there were many children in the township who had special needs but whose parents could not afford to take them to the special needs schools in town.

“I remember when I wanted to take my son to a special school, they charged me R2 000 and I couldn’t afford it because I was unemployed.

“So, I thought to myself how can I teach my son?” she said.

Upon doing research online and reading up on her son’s autism condition, and after being told by doctors that he was blind and would never be able to walk or talk properly, she started to homeschool him.

“I started educating myself about his condition and talking to other parents who are also homeschooling their special needs children. They gave me the necessary resources and little by little I started seeing an improvement in my son’s condition.”

It is thereafter that she decided to use the skills that she had gained through taking care of her son to help other parents in the same situation.

She then began babysitting and teaching children with special needs from her small home.

“Most parents in the township segregate their special needs children at home as means of protecting them from the outside world. This, however, does not do the child any good.”

She further explained that finding an opening in a childcare centre can be a long, frustrating experience for parents, particularly when employment is essential to cover basic needs.

“The problem of locating a satisfactory place increases tenfold when children have special needs,” she said.

To date the day care centre has nine children and Tshotshobe is solely responsible for them.

“Yes, it’s a great challenge as the children have different special needs conditions. However, due to funding employing staff is not yet possible.

The founder, however, lights up as she lists the long-term goals that she envisions for the day care centre.

“I can already picture it in my head. Them having their own playground with swings and a jacuzzi where they can soak because they need heat before their workout.

“With God by my side, everything is possible.”

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