As Child Month –– and, by extension, Family Month –– grinds to an end, few other features of the period would have been as reflective of profound caring of the child, and satisfying of the family, as that which manifested itself in the planned and executed hearing of the formerly impaired two-year-old J’dae Prescott-Griffith.
On Monday, little J’dae underwent the first ever cochlear implant surgery in Barbados, right at our Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), thanks to the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust and its Healthy Hearing Programme. For the first time, the infant was hearing. And with planned speech therapy and related training for the little one, she can look forward to a brighter future.
As trustee Phillipa Challis explained at a Press conference yesterday, there is a recognized growing need for cochlear implant surgery; and since J’dae’s success, an implant programme has been put in place for Barbadian children who need the surgery. With the involvement of the Barbados Children’s Development Centre and the facilitation of senior audiologists Dr Sean Kastetter and Dr Jennifer White of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine in the United States, the future does appear much less challenging for those of our young who now cannot hear.
Of course, we must offer special thanks to surgeon Dr Daniel Coelho, VCU medical director, for electing to carry out the procedure here to the benefit of J’dae, ably assisted by QEH physicians Dr Roy Forde and Dr Chris Maynard –– it all made possible by the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, the QEH itself and, by no means least, the World Paediatric Project (WWP).
But in the midst of the happiness, satisfaction and even jollification, and the acts of considerateness, sharing and giving, which ought to be special characteristic features of Child Month, let us pause to reflect not only on the “miracle” that heralded the first cochlear implant surgery in our island, but also on the obligations throughout the coming years which the “miracle” providers have committed to.
Among such is the Children’s Hearing Aid Bank that will provide for those of our young who might not need surgery; for whom hearing aids will suffice.
And, as we focus on the exemplary “miracle” child J’dae, there is hardly a better time to think of the duties and responsibilities we have –– or should –– to our earthly offspring, and of the extent to which we should all go. A child denied could be a future destroyed. Worst of all, it could be intended greatness smothered.
In the circumstances now, we will be minded not to approach the challenged hearing of our children –– and neighbour’s offspring –– all so casually. And, given the assistance which will be forthcoming, more than ever now we have a bounden duty to give Ms Challis and the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust our moral support and financial backing –– whenever and wherever we can –– so our very young will come to hear well our words of love and sagacious advice.
We accept that parenting and mentoring are not always easy, but by our degree of effort we will either contribute to and gain by, or pay heavily for what we help our youth to become.
It is truly incumbent upon us to make that extra effort to see to it that our seed is properly cared for, nourished and developed. Let us not deprive our little ones of natural childhood if we can help it.
If our young cannot rely on us, on whom else will they?
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
–– Psalm 127:3 to 5.