This is a story about the greatness of a woman and her difficult life story. It is a story about her tireless spirit and her amazing ability to rise like a phoenix after each storm. This is a story about the heroism of a mother.
Everything started seven years when Silvia learns that she is pregnant from the man she loves. During the first weeks of the pregnancy, her happiness is endless. She imagined that they will be a wonderful family- happy and together with the child that they were expecting. Her imagination drew beautiful idyllic moments- sunny afternoons in the park while walking around, water splashes everywhere while bathing the baby…
Unfortunately, those did not happen. Life has different plans for her. Before the birth of the child, she broke up with the father of the baby. Silvia was devastated and her dreams were destroyed as easy as if they were a sand tower. She cried for days and even though she was receiving support from her parents, she betrayed and alone. Confused and disappointed, she tried to get to realize what had happened to her. She desperately looked for the answers to the questions “Why is this happening”, ‘What went wrong?’.
The last few months of her pregnancy the young woman’s heart is full of sadness and fear form the uncertain future. She was insecure about whether or not she will be able to take care of her child.
During the 8th month, serious pneumonia requires emergent blood transfusion. Her baby was born through a vacuum system as the birth function is not effective and there was a suspicion for asphyxia- lack of oxygen. Immediately after giving birth the doctors put the child into an incubator due to his difficulties with adapting to the environment.
Silvia calls her baby Boris. She thinks that this strong name will make him more determined, so he can overcome the difficulties served by life. She never thought that she will be a single parent. Thankfully, she had the support of her parents while taking care of Boris.
Feeding was difficult, Boris was weak. He started walking later than the children his age did- when he was a year and six months old. He was unstable while walking- he used to stumble and fall very often. He used to say ‘mommy’ and ‘granny’ but his speech did not develop.
When Boris turned two and a half years, his mother noticed that his behavior started changing. Often he was anxious, nervous, he showed signs of hyperactivity. There were specific stereotypical movements and а motor regression started to progressively take place. He was only able to pronounce a few words intentionally. He stopped looking at his mother while she was talking to him.
This made Silvia consult a pediatrician who referred her to a children’s psychologist. After several consultations, Boris was diagnosed with Generalized developmental disorder – delays in the physical and neuropsychic development.
Due to an infection in the upper respiratory tract, Boris was often ill but Silvia was always next to him. She was often awake next to her son’s bed during the nighttime, and she was often checking his forehead for temperature. During the sleepless nights, while looking at her child, all she prayed for, was to have enough strength to keep going. Those moments were sad and lonely. Being a single parent who carries the whole responsibility for her child was painful. She questioned whether or not she is a good mother.
During the summer of 2018, Boris was emergently hospitalized, she was treated for sharp nephritis – damage to the kidneys. When she thought that the situation cannot worsen any further, she noticed that Boris had stopped staring at the things that surround him, she started touching the objects around him, and his eyesight was progressively worsening. It became clear that while treating the child’s kidneys, the doctors did not notice that Boris was losing his eyesight.
After numerous consultations and tests, Boris received a second terrifying diagnosis- Unspecified glaucoma which led to him losing 95% of his ability to see.
That was a crucial moment for Silvia- she was devastated, confused, and powerless. She did not know how she would overcome the situation and whether she will be able to provide the care that Boris needed. She feels desperate and tired. However, she does not give up- her love for Boris gives her the endless energy to keep going and meet all the difficulties that life exposes her to.
Silvia learns about ‘Early Childhood Intervention’ in our Community Support Center St. Sofia from Boris’ general practitioner and decides to contact our specialists. At the center, she meets Raya- an Early Childhood Intervention specialist who accepts the challenge to support the mother in the process of overcoming the difficulties as well as the doubts regarding her parental abilities.
Raya starts having sessions with Boris immediately. She assesses his development and based on that, she prepares a special individual program for him which includes different methods, therapies, and activities for stimulating the rest of the child’s senses. They are aiming at developing his other skills, so they can compensate the eyesight loss.
Silvia takes Boris to the Community Center every week, sometimes even several times a week. During the sessions Raya uses diverse activities with sensor stimuli, so the boy can acquire tactile and hearing experience, they focus on the strong sides of the boy and they stimulate his development through them.
Raya taught Silvia how to use everyday objects- fabrics, materials, paper with a different texture, shapes and size, how to create entertaining toys which can be used for Boris’ support and development. Raya also taught how to communicate and play with Boris, how to help him, and how to more sensitive towards his needs. Gradually, the mother starts feeling more confident and secure.
As a result of the activities at the Community Center, Boris becomes more independent, starts to walk more confidently, to expresses interest towards different toys and activities. He starts pronouncing words, and he even starts learning to count in English.
With Raya’s support, he was enrolled at the School for children with impaired vision “Louis Braille” when he turned 7. There he will receive an education that completely covers his educational needs, and will have the possibility to socialize with other children who are the same age as him. At the school, he has access to additional services which help him develop his potential and improve the quality of life of children regardless of their diagnosis.
Today, due to Raya’s work, a change can be observed in Silvia too – she is much more relaxed and confident. Raya’s knowledge and support ensure her that despite all the difficulties and challenges, Boris will continue to learn and develop in the future.