Today, on a whim, I asked our new Filipina maid if she was married and had any children. Its good to know a person’s background and circumstances and very often, and based on my experience, most of the maids that I have spoken to are either estranged from their husbands or divorced. They usually become the breadwinner of the family and are usually situated in more rural areas of Indonesia/Philippines/Cambodia.
As predicted, she says I’m not married anymore but I have 2 sons. After more prodding I found out her sons were 8 and 9 years old and were in the care of her mother.
I asked her “What made you decide to come to Malaysia to work?”
She says quietly and not without a smile “For the children. My young son has cerebral palsy”
I do not know anyone in my life who has cerebral palsy but it seems like a big word and a heartbreaking problem. I asked some more questions and she says her son had it since he was 4 months old (if I understood her correctly) and cannot walk. He lies down most of the day and sometimes is put into a stroller to watch TV. He does not go to school, although his older brother does. However, his mind is active.
Walking, talking, seeing, feeling.
Lets thank the Lord for our healthy bodies and always not take for granted the little things in life we can do.
I got some basic information from Wikipedia about Cerebral Palsy.
All types of CP are characterized by abnormal muscle tone (i.e. slouching over while sitting), reflexes, or motor development and coordination. There can be joint and bone deformities and contractures (permanently fixed, tight muscles and joints). The classical symptoms are spasticities, spasms, other involuntary movements (e.g. facial gestures), unsteady gait, problems with balance, and/or soft tissue findings consisting largely of decreased muscle mass.
Scissor walking (where the knees come in and cross) and toe walking (which can contribute to a gait reminiscent of a marionette) are common among people with CP who are able to walk, but taken on the whole, CP symptomatology is very diverse. The effects of cerebral palsy fall on a continuum of motor dysfunction which may range from slight clumsiness at the mild end of the spectrum to impairments so severe that they render coordinated movement virtually impossible at the other end the spectrum.
Babies born with severe CP often have an irregular posture; their bodies may be either very floppy or very stiff. Birth defects, such as spinal curvature, a small jawbone, or a small head sometimes occur along with CP. Symptoms may appear or change as a child gets older. Some babies born with CP do not show obvious signs right away. Classically, CP becomes evident when the baby reaches the developmental stage at 6/12 to 9/12 months and is starting to mobilise, where preferential use of limbs, asymmetry or gross motor developmental delay is seen.
Secondary conditions can include seizures, epilepsy, apraxia, dysarthria or other communication disorders, eating problems, sensory impairments, mental retardation, learning disabilities, and/or behavioral disorders.
Speech and language disorders are common in people with Cerebral Palsy.