How do we cope with disability of our children?


The author, Mr Jeremiah Orondo

Children are a blessing from God and all people from all walks of life always look forward to getting plenty of them, in good health and sound mind. What if you give birth to a normal child but along the way something happens that is bound to affect his/her life in long years to come?

This is the what Mrs. Pamela Atieno Onduru a mother of six, has been through. Her story revolves around her fifth born son, Donny Carson Onduru, born a bouncing baby boy eight years ago. At six months, and after a vaccination, he started crying in pain and would not relent as before. Everything appeared normal and little did she know this was the beginning of a long journey. She visited a doctor at the nearby district hospital who advised her to see a child specialist as he did not diagnose anything wrong with the baby.

Since Donny’s condition looked so normal, his mother planned to see a pediatrician in two weeks but that was never to be. In two days his condition worsened forcing her to look for a specialist; investigations done revealed that he had scanty malaria in his blood specimen.

The boy’s general condition according to the pediatrician was good. The high expectations of his recovery could not be realized as he developed seizures which worsened with each passing day. Donny lost his senses of feel, hearing, touch, sight coordination and eventually became paralyzed. This was a disturbing experience to Donnie’s mother since it was her first encounter, she ran up and down visiting hospitals every time asking doctors a lot of questions.

Struggles and visits to different hospitals and specialists made her accept her son’s condition as she saw different children, some older and in worse condition than her beloved Donny.

Mrs Pamela Atieno Onduru holds her disabled son. Photo/ Jeremiah Orondo


A lot of procedures were done and he was diagnosed to be suffering from cerebral palsy of an unclear cause. Several drugs were prescribed with weekly visits to clinics. The mother says, “It’s always hard for human beings to accept certain conditions in life, this experience led me to tirelessly thirst for knowledge on how my son would one day revert to his former sound health status.

The words of one doctor äre still vivid on her mind: “I am telling you the truth, therapy is the only medicine to your son’s limbs; drugs only help to reduce the seizures but therapy will do a lot”. She remembers. Donny’s limbs at that time were smaller and weaker than usual due to muscle disuse. A parent with a girl suffering from cerebral palsy introduced her to an occupational therapist who has worked on Donny to date.

According to the mother, at the age of three, Donny was able to sit up alone. Now at the age of eight, he has shown a lot of improvements in terms of moving his limbs, lying alone and sitting upright, his legs are stronger but have no balance, he cannot stand alone, feed himself, has no speech and has mild hearing.

Mrs.Onduru agrees that being a mother to one with special needs, one has to be patient. Omach Stanley, Donnie’s therapist says that his patient will one day walk.

All is with time because therapy is along term treatment,” he says.

The mother draws her strength from her husband, children, friends, her counselor Mr. Sylvester Paul Aluoch who always encourages and gives her books to read and understand more on Donny’s condition.

She says that Donny has been a blessing to her and encourages parents with children with disability to take heart and treat them as normal. God and hope are what keeps her burning and one day her son will be able to walk and do normal activities alone.

The writer is a young journalist who graduated two years ago from the Mombasa Polytechnic. He reports from Rongo County


About meshakenya

Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture in Kenya (MESHA) is an association of communicators who are specialized in science, environment, agriculture, health, technology and development reporting.
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9 Responses to How do we cope with disability of our children?

  1. Bellyjullians says:

    Nothing can be compared to a mother’s love.a very inspiring story i have to say.

  2. June Katoni Nzioka says:

    This is a superb article, it shows how many Kenyans suffer in the hands of dissability with nowhere to turn to. Hope is always their remedy., which most often than not it dissapoints them terribly. Bigups Mr. Orondo, i appreciate your efffort of shedding some light on this crucial issue.

  3. Wairimu says:

    Great article and one story that needs to be told. We encourage Mrs. Onduru to keep on and her husband for keeping the family together. VIVO Donny!

  4. JM Shiroko says:

    This is a well written piece and thank you the writer.
    Kudos to the parent: it is not easy to reach this level of acceptance. It is the failure to attain this that condemns the life of a person with disability through being denied access to quality services (access denied by unaccepting family members)
    There is a clear indication of a supportive spouse and evn siblings! This realy magnifys the importance of the institution of the family. Service delivery efforts that put the family at the centre usually meet with alot of success.
    I invite the family to get enjoined to a family support group for the necesarry social support. I llok forward to meeting the family one of these days.
    Asanteni sana

  5. leon says:

    with God everything is possible,that woman has a lot of pain and it’s always heard to accept the condition. carrying the baby 4 9 months then seeing your son or daughter suffering such pain. may God help that family.

  6. Justus Siage says:

    It’s amazing the things we take for granted until we lose them. This strong mother’s story should serve as a reminder to us all to thanks God for life and good health when we have it, and also show compassion to the less fortunate. Wow! how touching…

  7. Jeremiah Orondo says:

    I’m greatful for your appreciation,this story is one that has been very close to my heart and getting a forum to share with the world this inspiring piece, that stops you in your tracks of thinking to just give a thought to the importance of having belief,love and hope that our loved ones who are physically challenged are part of us,just as we are to them and they need us in every step of their lives.

  8. Calvince says:

    Thanks Jeremiah,
    Thanks mum for being strong and being by Donnie and all of us.
    All my love to Donnie!!

  9. Maryam says:

    Donny’s mama is a strong woman,she only did not trust God on the matter but also left no stone unturned in terms of seeking medical attention, she took the doctor’s advice which she still patiently adheres to .If only we had a good number of mothers like her,the fight against
    discrimination of persons with disability would be close to a success. Unfortunately, the reverse is actually true according to the current situation in Kenya where stigma ,discrimination and violence against persons with disability are the order of the day. All this mostly start at home with parents feeling ashamed of their children with disability and end up hiding them, other parents tend to be too concerned of their children with disability fearing that they maybe abused or get involved in accidents, in the process the parents are only contributing to exclusion of children with disability. It is time we unit against discrimination of persons with disability.

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