Caring for children with disabilities


30 October 2020 | Health

Michelle Zeeli; Social worker; “…children with disabilities are not outcasts…”

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

The Side by Side Early Intervention Centre hosted a one-day workshops in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund the past week.

The introduction to disability workshop was for parents and caretakers of children with disabilities.

The Windhoek-based Side by Side Centre operates as a day care, early intervention and rehabilitation centre for families of children with special needs. Their mission is to provide early childhood development in children with special needs, and to train parents as well as the community and caregivers.

Children who have autism, cerebral palsy, brain damage, Down’s syndrome, hydrocephalus and developmental delays are supported by the Side by Side Centre.

According to Michelle Zeeli, a social worker at Side by Side, they started hosting these workshops after they realised many parents and community members did not entirely understand the disability their child has.

“Doctors don’t always explain in detail disabilities and often parents or their surrounding community members do not know how to work with these children or how to take proper care of them and that’s where we come in. We are trying to close that gap, by educating parents, caretakers, teachers and members of the community.”

She explained that the workshop specifically focuses on providing knowledge and information to parents and caretakers as to how they can work with their children, where they can receive assistance and what type of assistance is available for their children.

For this specific workshop, Zeeli was accompanied by Teagen Hohls, who is a therapeutic reflexologist from Side by Side.

Ansie Robberts, who is a speech therapist from Swakopmund, also shared her knowledge with workshop attendees.

During the workshop, Hohls showed parents how everyday objects such as a straw, toothbrush, sponge and feathers can be used as sensory stimulation for children with disabilities.

“Since we don’t have centres all over Namibia, except for in Windhoek, we try to educate the attendees as much as possible at these workshops.”

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Side by Side hosted parent training sessions in Windhoek each month.

“We started getting calls from different towns and our director, Huipie van Wyk, suggested we approach UNICEF. We started collaborating and established the training manual for these one-day workshops, and through their sponsorship as well as that of B2Gold, we are now able to travel to the various towns and host these introductory workshops.”

Zeeli said that the feedback received from Swakopmund after the workshops was very positive.

“We expected a bit more people in Walvis Bay, but we believe that word will travel. There is a strong possibility that we will return to the coastal towns and host similar workshops.”

She said that the biggest challenge Side by Side is faced with, is that of inclusion.

“Many communities rejecting children with disabilities. One of our students at the centre does not want to return to school anymore because he is being bullied. That is why we are aiming to educate not only parents, but community members that children with disabilities are not outcasts, but are worthy to be loved and protected.”

Side by Side encourages parents who attend the workshops to start parent support groups.

“When the going gets tough, and since we can’t be here at all times, it would be great to have them supporting each other. We encourage them to share their stories with each other. Your child’s story can be an inspiration to the next person.”

Each participant received a certificate of participation after the workshop.

Similar News


Health minister outlines Covid-19 response

3 days ago - 01 December 2020 | Health

The minister of health and social services Dr Kalumbi Shangula, highlighted various measures put in place at the 20th Covid-19 briefing. Shangula said that Covid-19...

Clinic in the centre of town

4 days ago - 01 December 2020 | Health

Advertorial Swakopmunder Baby and Wellness Clinic opened its doors on 1 June 2019. The clinic is located in Sam Nujoma Avenue, a block away from...

Hepatitis-E slows down

6 days ago - 28 November 2020 | Health

Windhoek • [email protected] No new hepatitis-E fatalities have been reported in Namibia since 3 March, when the death toll stood at 65.The Covid-19 pandemic...

Four new cases for Erongo

2 weeks ago - 20 November 2020 | Health

The Erongo region recorded four new Covid-19 cases from Walvis Bay and Swakopmund in addition to three recoveries. The minister of health Kalumbi Shangula announced...

Covid death recorded at Omaruru

2 weeks ago - 18 November 2020 | Health

The Erongo region recorded one Covid-19 death, no new cases and 40 recoveries. Health minister Kalumbi Shangula announced 11 new Covid-19 cases, 297 recoveries...

Miracle baby

2 weeks ago - 18 November 2020 | Health

Walvis Bay • [email protected] Gabrielle Mirabelle Carolissen was born at 23 weeks on 8 June 2020, weighing only 540 grams. She is the youngest...

Erongo records three new Covid cases

2 weeks ago - 17 November 2020 | Health

Health minister Kalumbi Shangula announced 47 new Covid-19 cases from 647 tests, along with 162 recoveries that translates into 6.9% positivity ratio, which is within...

Seven new Covid cases for Erongo

2 weeks ago - 15 November 2020 | Health

The minister of health and social services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, announced 77 Covid-19 positive cases obtained from 1079 tested samples. The Erongo region reported seven...

Senior loses life to Covid-19

3 weeks ago - 12 November 2020 | Health

The minister of health and social services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, announced 53 new positive Covid-19 cases today. These were identified from 1 268 samples, presenting...

Single Covid case reported in Erongo

3 weeks ago - 11 November 2020 | Health

Health minister Kalumbi Shangula announced 81 Covid-19 recoveries and 13 new cases. One of the newly reported cases is from the Erongo region. //Kharas reported...

Latest News

‘Atomic Bomb’ followers demand bail...

1 day - 03 December 2020 | Local News

Walvis Bay •[email protected] Members of Eternal Glory Ministries held a peaceful demonstration in front of the magistrate’s court in Walvis Bay. They demanded...

Safari by CBK to feature...

1 day - 03 December 2020 | Events

Swakopmund • [email protected] Well-known designer Kaino Ipuleni Matheus (30) of Couture by Kim, features her CBK Safari line at this year’s MTC Windhoek Fashion...

’n Groep talentvolle musici bied...

1 day - 03 December 2020 | Art and Entertainment

Christa Lambrechts, leier van 'n vioolskool en leier van die Young Strings and Strings Attached, sal die gehoor wys hoe musikale vordering oor die jare...

‘Pause’ to kick off Dance...

1 day - 03 December 2020 | Art and Entertainment

Swakopmund • [email protected] Factory Swakopmund hosts the “Pause” dance production at the Namib Primary School hall on Friday.According to one of the choreographers, McBreaton Pieters,...

Baxu, The White Line soar...

1 day - 03 December 2020 | Art and Entertainment

Swakopmund • [email protected] Acclaimed Namibian films The White Line and Baxu & The Giants keep raking in awards.Both films have been nominated for Africa...

Music to your ears

1 day - 03 December 2020 | Art and Entertainment

Walvis Bay • [email protected] most eagerly anticipated albums of 2020 have finally been released.The multi-award winning Top Cheri (Monica Pinias), Jericho (Jerome Gawanab) as well...

Vakansiesport met Sandman ingelui

1 day - 03 December 2020 | Sports

Die jaarlikse FNB Sandman-­triathlon sal Sondag, soos die afgelope 36 jaar, by die Mole op Swakopmund plaasvind.OTB Sport, wat dié byeenkoms ­organiseer, sê vanjaar is...

Farmworkers’ wages improve

1 day - 03 December 2020 | Agriculture

Windhoek ∙ [email protected] total remuneration package for farmworkers in Namibia’s commercial agriculture sector has more than doubled over the past 16 years.In 2020, commercial farmworkers...

Poaching out of control

1 day - 03 December 2020 | Crime

Karibib • Erwin Leuschner Kühne Security and Anti-Poaching Unit (K-SAPU) has been very busy for the past three months. “Poaching and cattle theft...

Load More