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Let's Talk Life - Crippled and depressed

Published:Saturday | May 5, 2012 | 12:00 AM
  • Crippled and depressed

Dear Counsellor,

I fell from an ackee tree and broke my back. My spinal cord has been damaged and I am unable to walk. I am depressed about my condition.

- Ricky

Dear Ricky,

Falling from trees seems to be a common occurrence. Physiotherapy can help to strengthen your muscles and helps in using a wheelchair. You need to stay at a rehabilitation facility for some time. Tell your doctor that you are depressed and he will see to it that you get antidepressants and counselling.

Living with a disability is not a nice thing. Patients are concerned that they are losing control over their bodies and become stressed and worried. Our independence is important to us and people feel discouraged when they are in a dependent position. The situation could be worse, so you need to give thanks to God and be grateful. Start thinking of what job you can do from a wheelchair and start researching the topic. There are some skills that you can learn using your hands.

A lot has been done for people with physical disabilities. There is an association that accesses resources for the physically challenged. It is at this time that you need family, friends, and co-workers to help you cope with your problems.

Don't be discouraged. Look around you. There are many people with disabilities who are making their mark in the world.

  • What is autism?

Dear Counsellor,

April was dedicated to increasing the awareness of autism. What is autism?

- Monica

Dear Monica,

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects speech, behaviour, and social interaction. It is usually detected at 18 months and the knowledge can be devastating for the family. There can be speech delays or regression in skills.

It is the loss of one dream and the acquisition of another. Grieving is part of the process as the parent was expecting a normal child. Denial is evident, but acceptance occurs.

The incidence of autism is increasing, but there is no cure or understanding of the cause. Aggression occurs in some children and the therapist has to detect the cause of the aggression. These children are considered to have special needs. Intellectual disabilities coexist with autism. Parents need to recognise that if there are other children in the home, these children should not be neglected or abandoned. Autism affects all members of the family and we need to detect it early.

Email questions and feedback for Dr Yvonnie Bailey-Davidson to yvonniebd@hotmail.com or call 978-8602.