It was February 2017 and Asmau had to leave seven year old Maimuna with Kakar Maimuna (Grandma Maimuna) in Katsina, to pursue her educational career in Kano. Three months later, Maimuna contracted measles from her school and in spite of all assurances that she would recover without any complications, she lost her sight. Thus began the travail of both Maimuna and Asmau. In addition to the trauma caused by the condition, they both had to deal with stigmatisation. As a result. Asmau blamed herself and constantly wondered…”If only I had remembered to inoculate her against measles at nine months as instructed by the Health Centre where she was delivered”. Asmau had travelled with Maimuna around then and forgot about the instruction. “If only I hadn’t left her back home,… could kakar have been a little negligent as a result of a lack of understanding, could this illness have ended differently?” So many unanswered questions. Five years later,  Asmau took Maimuna to a school for the visually impaired, where she can have access to a good education  with the help of Braille instruction.  

She arrived at the school which is a Boarding facility and has a sister school for children with auditory impairment (also referred to as hearing impairment) all housed in the same compound. As she traced her way to the principal’s office she came across a young girl of Maimuna’s age and stature whose mother referred to as Tilewa. Tilewa was deaf and at Asmau’s prodding Tilewa’s mum, Bunmi, explains the circumstances of her impairment. Bunmi had a mild fever and slight flu like symptoms when she was about two months pregnant with Tilewa, but dismissed it as a mild flu since she felt better within three days or so. Little did she know that she had Rubella (German measles) which though a mild illness, was dangerous for the unborn baby.She was born deaf. Bunmi therefore could not forgive herself for her seeming carelessness which she felt was responsible for Tilewa’s plight.  Both mothers immediately felt like kindred spirits and bonded nicely. Asmau also gave Bunmi the background to Maimuna’s situation and they exchanged phone numbers promising to keep in touch.

Three weeks later, Asmau receives a call from Bunmi who invites her to  a Webinar titled ”LIVING WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITY – A PARENT’S PERSPECTIVE”. The facilitators are:Professor Ekaete Udofia – A Professor of special Education and Dr. Bode Hassan, a Therapist on parenting. Important nuggets from the webinar, are summarised below:

  1. CAUSES OF PHYSICAL DISABILITY/IMPAIRMENT IN CHILDREN: Children who have physical impairment are described as children whose mobility, stamina, physical functioning or dexterity are impaired. This can be hereditary, congenital or acquired. Congenital impairment is where the condition develops in the foetus prior to birth or where it occurs at birth while Hereditary impairment is where it is genetically transferred from either parent during development of the foetus. Acquired Impairment on the other hand occurs at any point after birth.

There are various types of physical impairment in children but the most common are mobility impairment, visual impairment, hearing loss, chronic fatigue or pain and seizures (epilepsy).

2. EDUCATIONAL NEEDS: It is important to note that children with purely physical impairment are capable of achieving their preferred careers upon attainment of the right education. Where the impairment is both physical and intellectual the severity of the brain damage will determine what is achievable. However, in order to achieve the desired educational standard, the child must best attend a Government approved school for children with special needs. There the teachers are trained to handle such children by using the relevant teaching methods and aids e.g Braille for the visually impaired, sign language and lip reading for the deaf and dumb etc. To enable them succeed, some technical  aid is also required such as canes to assist the blind with mobility, Braille machines for transcribing their notes, Braille typewriters for their assignments, hearing aids and speech to text applications for the hearing impaired (deaf and dumb), and crutches and wheel chairs for those with mobility impairment.


  • Parents must first and foremost rid themselves of the feeling of guilt that arises when they become aware of their child’s impairment regardless of the cause, whether hereditary, congenital or acquired. It is quite natural to hold yourself responsible for your child’s impairment but you must Learn to accept what cannot be changed.
  • Help your child to live his life to the fullest by helping them dream and guiding them towards achieving the dream. They can reach the highest echelon of any profession or career that does not require the use of the impaired organ.
  • Find the right school for their specific need.
  • Obtain the relevant technical aids required to assist them in the learning process e.g. Braille machine for the blind, speech to text equipment for the deaf and wheelchair for the mobility impaired.
  • Encourage them to indulge in outdoor and sporting activities were feasible. Do not be overprotective and let them explore their environment within safe limits.
  • Spend quality time with them and build up their confidence in themselves. Let them know they can accomplish their dreams.
  • Do not neglect their spiritual growth. Teach them to pray and take them to worship with you.
  • Remember, they are no different from normal children and help them live as near normal a life as is feasible with their impairment.
  • Be sensitive to their frustrations and periodically encourage them as it is “ normal” for occasional outbursts as a result of frustrations.
  • Lastly, make sure you look after your own mental health and wellbeing, taking deserved breaks.

It is noteworthy that ALL children are GIFTS from God and need to be nurtured with Love to enable them reach their full potential and children with special needs, whether gifted, intellectually impaired, or physically impaired, are no different. It is the duty of parents to enable them fulfil their God-given purpose and full potential, regardless of the challenges involved. The Bible says “God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape that you may bear it.” 1 Cor. 10:13.




  1. This is a great post. We need to get this information to people. It is very relevant and timely. Keep up the good work. God bless you


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