Founder of Diary of A Special Needs Mum Initiative, Bukola Ayinde launches Four Books

Bukola Ayinde, Founder, Diary of a special Needs Mum Initiative had the launch of her four books last Sunday, 8th of July, which was also her birthday.

Her friends and family turned out in large numbers to celebrate this great feat with her.

Opening prayer was said by AVM Femi Gbadebo, Founder, Benola Organisation, Opening address by Dotun Akande of Patrick Speech and Languages. The first review was done by a six year old girl, Uyi Uwumarogie, a pupil of New Hall Nursery and Primary School. While the second was done by Dr. Ogechi Adeola,a member of the faculty at Lagos Business School. The third book review was done by Ifeanyi Omeni, an author and editor. While the last book review was done by  Feyi Olubodun, MD, Insight Communication.

There was also a five-man panel who spoke about ‘Disability and Inclusion’ in Nigeria. The panel consisted of: The author, Bukola Ayinde, Tobiloba Ajayi,Founder, Let Cp Kids Learn; Folusho Liasu, Founder, Super Parents (of children with disabilities), Bisola Babatude-Idowu, owner, Great Expectation Inclusive School and Korede Oladejo, Kabworld Physiotherapy.

The books were unveiled by Rufai Yusuf Ahmad, National President, Nigeria Society of Physiotherapists.

According to the author one of the major problems that people with disability face in Nigeria is stigmatization. This is mainly due to the wrong information that has been passed from one generation to another that children with disabilities are from strange worlds and therefore evil. Bukola hopes with these books, the younger generation will read them and understand that disabilities are medical conditions. She also hopes that children that read the book would grow up to become law makers, ministers in different sectors of the country, president, teachers, disability advocate who will fight for the rights of people living with disabilities.

My Name is Nimi – Is a story about the author’s five years old daughter, Oluwalonimi, who has cerebral palsy. It is a story told in her voice. She tells her friends why she is sitting on a wheelchair and why she cannot do things like them. She also tells her friends the things that she can do just like them. It ends with Nimi asking the reader the question, ‘will you be my friend?’

My Name is Nimi (colouring book)- The story of Nimi has a colouring book for younger children. With short sentences telling the story about Nimi with simple words.

My Sister is Special– The story was inspired by the author’s second daughter, who couldn’t understand the reason Nimi was getting most of the attention at home. The story helps children to appreciate their lives and to know that the grass is not always greener on the other side. It also tells parents to give attention to other children while caring for a special needs child.

Peter is different-Ten year old Jude has a new classmate, Peter who looks different from everyone else. This story was inspired by the persistent discrimination faced by children with disabilities in mainstream schools in Nigeria. The author showed how giving students the right information about disabilities could foster love and acceptance. The book also answered the question, who are the true bullies in a mainstream school? Is it the pupils, teachers, school owners or parents of pupils in the school? Find out the answers to these questions and more.

The books are available in bookshops in Lagos: Glendora Bookshop, City Mall Ikeja, Bookworm Bookshop at Illupeju, by Oshodi Apapa Expway, Ebano supermarket, chevon road.

For home and office delivery kindly contact 08035754038;

The books will be available on Amazon in August, 2018.

Love without Boundaries with Bukola Ayinde: The Benefits of Inclusive Education

My daughter, Oluwalonimi was diagnosed of cerebral palsy at eight months. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that is caused by damage to some part of the brain which controls the muscles. This damage may occur before birth, during birth or the first few years of a child’s life.

In Oluwalonimi’s case, when I was pregnant with her, I had pre-eclampsia which is a pregnancy disorder characterized by high blood pressure, swelling of hands and legs and a significant amount of protein in the urine. The result of this was that Nimi was born some weeks earlier than her due date and she also had very low birth weight. She had jaundice and suffered apnea (which is a sleep disorder) while in the neo natal unit.
At four months she was unable to hold her head upright as she should at that age. At eight months after several tests were conducted she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

After my husband and I received Nimi’s diagnosis, we were told she may never be able to talk, walk, or even reason like other children. We were devastated. However, we were encouraged by one of her therapist to enroll her into school at the age of 2.

When Nimi started schooling, she didn’t give us any indication that she could learn, but we kept her in school with her peers.

In 2016, she was physically assaulted by her physiotherapist, so we got really scared for her wellbeing and we decided to care for her at home.

Then Tobiloba Ajayi, a disability advocate (she is also living with cerebral palsy) and the founder of LetCpKids Learn Initiative encouraged my husband and I to let her go back to school. She said we couldn’t hide her at home forever. Nimi had to learn independence.

I found a school near the house. The proprietress, teachers and pupils were welcoming. The first day Nimi got to school, the kids in her class gave her a welcome card.

Today, I am glad Nimi is in school. She is doing so well; she knows her numbers and she can read them backwards (from 100 -1), her alphabet sounds, addition, subtraction. She has started learning how to read. She answers questions in class. Nimi even takes part in extra curriculum activities. It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t do it as well as other kids. Even if she is just part of the cheerleaders. It is inclusive education in the true sense of it and I see the benefits in Nimi every day.

Apart from Nimi having cerebral palsy and doing lots of therapy, she is just like any other kid, she loves to watch TV, play football, swim, eat spaghetti. Her best snack is cake and she drinks a lot of water.

If my husband and I had assumed that Nimi was unable to learn and didn’t educate her, we would never have realized her potentials. The fact that a child has cerebral palsy doesn’t necessarily mean that the child has intellectual disability. Even if the child cannot talk or use his or her hands, the child can still learn.
Nimi still has her therapies, she has not stopped but she also gets an education. We are not waiting for her to start walking or start using her hands or for her speech to be very audible.

If a school did not give Nimi the opportunity to learn, she may still be at home today, losing out on the benefits of going to a mainstream school with her peers.

I want to encourage school owners to embrace inclusive education. It is a great opportunity for every child.
I want to implore everyone to change their thinking about children who have neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, and others. These are all medical conditions and not the aftermath of sin or witchcraft.

These children did not ask to be born this way. The least we can do is to show them love.
I have written some books to teach children about other children who are different from them in relation to disability. My hope is that this will change the narrative about disability in Nigeria.

Let’s Love Without Boundaries!

Watch a short documentary on Oluwalonimi, and the benefits of inclusive education here: