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Brendan's Teeth

By 6 years ago
Categories Cape Town

For the past 5 or so weeks I’ve been in the process of teaching Brendan (one of our amazing special needs children) how to brush his teeth. In the past getting his mouth cleaned daily has been a massive struggle that consisted of loads of stress for both parties. However, just over a month ago we were lucky enough to have an experienced special needs teacher who thought it would be much better if we could coax him into doing the task himself.

She warned that this could easily take months to achieve. However, when I first started working with him he progressed so quickly that I didn’t see it taking more than a few weeks. He went from being absolutely terrified of the toothbrush to taking it from his lap and placing it next to him, and finally holding it for an extended period of time.

Also, during this process I was able to start a few ‘conversations’ with him. We usually start our teeth brushing time by sitting together on a bed rocking back and forth. After a bit he’ll lean over for a kiss on the head. That back and forth for a bit, along with pulling funny faces and a couple of pats on the back every now, is usually enough to get him comfortable to hold onto the toothbrush. We’ve had a few setbacks along the way but, all in all, he’s done so well! Unfortunately, I have to head home soon, but I’ll be passing the lesson on to someone else. I can’t wait to hear that he has achieved his goal!

Haley Heist – Ikhayalethemba Volunteer