The Fulfilling Life of a Disabled Teenager | Randfontein Herald
A local resident and mother of two, Mathabo Pule isn’t letting her son’s disability stop her from leading a fulfilling life. In fact, she says, she gives him the best experiences life has to offer.
Read also: Conference organized for parents of disabled children
Also read: Charity donates wheelchair to disabled 25-year-old
Mathabo’s son China was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after part of his brain did not receive enough oxygen. He is currently in a wheelchair and relies on his family to help him with most of his daily chores. Speaking to the Herald in an interview, Pule said that although she always hoped her son would be fine growing up, she and her family have since come to terms with his condition.
“Since he was born, we always hoped that he would walk. We always thought that he was still young and that children developed differently. Unfortunately, it did not turn out that way for him. We have noticed he couldn’t walk and we started taking him to physio. Although that helped to some extent, we eventually had to come to terms with his disability and accept him for who he is. We don’t see him nor do we treat it differently. Eighteen years later, it is fine and we are all in a good space,” said Pule, who added that China is passionate about technology.
His younger brother, three-year-old Khanya Pule, loves spending time with him and likes to offer him a helping hand. He fetches the remote control to allow him to change the television channel and also charges his phone among other things.
She added that the journey to raise young China was not always easy, but she was and still is surrounded by an incredible support structure, including her life partner Mandla Kumbula.
“Raising a disabled child is not easy. I still get questions from people asking me what I did to make my child turn out this way, implying it was my fault. What they don’t understand is that their words have an impact and my son’s condition is not a genetic disease,” Pule said.
She urged community members to be more understanding and sensitive in their approach, not only to children with disabilities but also to their parents, as they too face challenges that they may not want to share with the audience. To underscore this point, Pule hosted the You Are Not Alone conference at the Randfontein Golf Club on October 29. The event aimed to raise awareness of some of the challenges faced by parents raising children with special needs.
“In my journey of raising my 18-year-old disabled son, I realized that most of the time people focus more on disabled children and forget about the parents who raise these children. That’s why we decided to organize the event. We wanted to have a platform where parents can come together and share their experiences of raising children with special needs and present some of their challenges as well. We also just wanted to reassure them that that we walk the journey with them and they should never feel alone,” Pule said.