Taher who changed his family’s life
Taher, at only 7 years, has managed to change his parents’ perspective and many of their attitudes towards life. Taher’s mother, Faten, says that she had a healthy pregnancy and delivery, and the baby was growing and developing normally until he turned 9 months. His behavior started to change, he suddenly was not able to interact with others, and his development wasn’t meeting the normal milestones of his age.
His parents never missed an opportunity to get a proper diagnosis of their child’s case, and to that, they have visited many doctors. He was finally diagnosed with a physical disability. The diagnosis came as a shock to Faten. She was in denial and isolated herself from the surrounding community for almost a year.
Faten, who is a beauty expert by profession, didn’t only close her beauty salon, but also closed her house doors. She kept herself away from people around her. She only wanted to escape people’s looks and questions. “I had no idea that illness and disability could catch those tiny bodies. I didn’t expect that my baby would be one of the victims. Months passed in denial and more months followed with shame and fear from society”, says the mother.
However, his disability never prevented his parents from searching for the best for their child. Opinions of therapists and doctors clashed where some were that Taher’s case only needs exercise, while other opinions were pessimistic to the point that Taher’s condition was a hopeless case. This situation carried on for four years before the family visited Farah Centre in Nablus and met Dr. Waddah Malhess who referred them to the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre for treatment.
At the Centre, the treatment and rehabilitation journey began and after the first admission, life started to change for Taher and his family. Faten has indicated that the rehabilitation process, not only had a positive effect on Taher’s physical and physiological condition but also had a positive effect on her, thanks to the Mother’s Empowerment Program (MEP). She benefited especially from the one-to-one and group counseling sessions with the social worker, who changed Faten’s way of dealing with her child.
Faten also has learned and practiced to become a shadow therapist for Taher in order to continue with his therapies at home guided by a home therapy plan. She is now able to provide her child with needed treatment exercises until the next time Taher gets treatment at a rehabilitation center. Moreover, not only the home therapy plan had its great benefits for Taher but also helped to create a support system within the family, where everyone learned to work together in order to support Taher. These changes at home have even affected Taher’s sister who is now more understanding and supportive of her parents and brother.
“The empowerment and awareness that was provided for me through the MEP contributed highly to breaking the barriers between me and the society. Now I feel proud and I inspire people by talking about Taher’s continuous improvement”, Faten said. Taher is now able to give clear feedback, express himself, and define his needs. Taher is now his mother’s hope. And now she “appreciates being a mother for a very special son”, as she contemplates. Faten hopes that Taher’s success story will be learned from in the community and will encourage other mothers who face the same situations to support their children and embrace the community while doing that.