Thursday, November 27, 2014


Last Saturday was awesome. I attended a networking and Parenting seminar organized by the "Internet mum" and founder of LagosMums, Mrs Yetty Williams.

The theme of the seminar ‘Raising a Global Citizen’.

The speakers were all career women and dedicated mums. It was really inspiring to hear all of them talk about the challenges of juggling their various careers with parenting and still raising or trying to raise God fearing, focused and well mannered children.

The moderator of the event was Mrs Ononuju Irukwu, a Personal Wealth Consultant and the Managing Director of Chapel Hill Denham Management Limited in Lagos. 

She added fun and laughter to her great performance as a moderator [P.S: being a part-time MC is not a bad idea o]

The speakers were ; Mrs Ifeoma Idigbe, a mum to 2 adult children and a business analyst with over 30 years in professional banking, general management and business consulting.
She talked on our roles as parents,what values to instill and how to instill these values.

Mrs Catherine Bickersteth, a mum to two grown up daughters and also the co-director of strategic Educational Advisory Services Ltd and very passionate and involved in various charities in Nigeria.
I really like her soft spoken soothing voice. She gave us tips on educating an all-rounded and global child.

Mrs Oluwatosin Praise Fowowe, a young mom to 2 children, a blogger and the manager of the Center for Sex Education and Family Life, gave us various scenarios of issues that could come up when you don’t monitor what your child is doing on the internet. 
She also backed up these scenarios with real stories of Kidnap, internet stalking, porn and Sexuality preferences. It was really enlightening. 
She also listed out some softwares that we could use to monitor the activities of our children on the internet, they included Karpersky parenting, Norton security (Norton family) among others. 
(Thanks Mrs Fowowe, I'll be passing the word around).


Mrs Abiola Okubanjo, a serial entrepreneur with 3 kids. [Thanks a lot, the shea butter oil is great for massages] She talked about how possible it was, to be a super mom and still have thriving career. It all depends on how resourceful you are, planning, managing time and planning constructive activites especially when you're not there; screening the people you leave your child, using Skype, calls and chatting to keep tabs on them.

Then came the question and answer segment where lots of women raised issues faced with their children especially tantrums. The experienced speakers and also mums in the audience gave tips on handling tantrums; 
Number 1 tip: Do not give attention to the child.
#2. Allow the tantrums to die down without any reaction then quietly ask the child what he or she wants.
#3. Prompt the child to ask as politely as possible then give him/her whatever he/she wants OR firmly and lovingly say "No" while providing alternatives.

The trends in tipping or bribing teachers was also raised.

We also got some words of wisdom from the mother-in-law of the +LagosMums founder, Mrs Yetty Williams and her very supportive husband. He also gave a vote of thanks to all of us who came for the event.

We ended with a raffle draw and cool gift bags for everybody who came.

Parenting and networking forums like this are very important because you not only learn a lot, you also discover that your problems are not new or unique, there are other people out there dealing with the same issues and at an event like this, you're bound to meet people who have overcome those problems who are are more than happy to share with you how they did it and help you out. 

Everybody needs a support group and I believe that many of us who were present on the 22nd of November, 2014, made new friends and hopefully people who will be part of our support group in the future. I know I did.

For a maiden event, LagosMums, her sponsors and all the wonderful people who put heads together to make it a success, did very well. It was well organized and everything was done on time and it ended in time too but then again...time flies when you are having fun. 

I'd like to say thank you again to LagosMums for a wonderful event. I hope to attend more of them soon.

Image courtesy: Lagos Mums [Please like her page on Facebook],, @tosinpraise [],,, 
Bukky Shaba:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The School and the Parents...

Recently, a parent called and scheduled a meeting with the school and therapists working with the child. I was really happy- wow! she is really putting her child first this time.
You can imagine my surprise when the meeting turned out to NOT to be a meeting but a written down dictation on what she expects her son to be doing now.

"I want him placed in basic three instead of two."
"No more practical work for him. Move totally to abstract."
"Stop all one-on-one therapy time. He should do full time like his mates."
"No more cutting of his work load. Give him the full load like his mates."

This is a boy who has almost succeeded in coming out of the spectrum but is still having challenges with abstract teachings; he also had a penchant for giving up on a task easily (still working on that) and his mum is too busy to hear any progress report.

I asked her why the sudden meeting and dictates and she replied
“his mates are in basic 4 now” he is taking too long ah!"
I gently reminded her that when we started she had told us that if only he could just communicate his needs and write that she would be okay, now she was dictating the pace. She replied,

 "....eeeehn…I thank God ..but he should do fast and join  his mates."

I told her of the challenges we were facing, the teacher also told her about the IEP we had already drawn up; also that if she would patiently go through it with us, she would see that it suited him well.
She vehemently refused stating that this was what she wanted, that her hubby and a friend discussed it yesterday and they had already come to a decision.

Unfortunately, this is the trend in schools; some parents dictate what is to be taught, styles of teaching  and punitive measures or if possible, no punitive measures whether it conforms to the school style or not and then giving the school an ultimatum..."do it my way or I withdraw my child” and you see schools doing their bidding to avoid losing their students.

All this dancing to the whims of parents and not focusing on enhancing the child's abilities.

The resultant effect?
Lack of disciplinary measures
The schools lose their integrity.

Image courtesy:,,, ,

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Choosing a school for your special child

Impressive right? well, as we say in Nigeria, "No be by dat wan abeg..." There are a lot of things to consider when picking a school for your child.

In Nigeria, children with special needs can be enrolled in a main stream class with additional supports, in a support class in the school, in a special school or center affiliates. Parents need to explore each option and decide on what they feel is most appropriate.

Guide and Checklist for Choosing a School.

As more and more people are agitating for inclusive education for special needs kids. It is imperative for parents to look for mainstream schools with good special education programs.

There are a lot of schools that seem to be offering these services but are they effective?

A parent lamented on the fact that her son has really regressed after a term in a mainstream school in Nigeria. A therapist complained about the way the teachers and cleaning staff ignored the child and expected her to see to the child’s needs. The child, a 3 year old with budding cognitive abilities who just started gaining speech was placed in the toddlers unit. It was with reluctance, after several meetings that she was then moved to a higher class.

Parents should consider the following tips and checklists in choosing a school for their kids.
Plan as early as possible in developing checklists of what you expect of a school for your child.
Visit websites of schools and ask parents with Special needs their opinion on schools.
Visit each school’s open day and talk to the principal of the school.

 School Culture and Inclusion
• Does the school culture fit with your child?
• Did the principal and staff seem genuinely supportive?
• Does the school philosophy specifically acknowledge different abilities and learning styles?
• Do you feel that the school staff will understand your child’s needs?
• Are there signs of inclusion?
• What programs are in place to effectively deal with bullying
• How many children with disabilities (or receiving additional funding) does the school currently
• Is the parent community supportive and involved?

 Class Size and Teaching strategies
 Are your child’s capabilities, strengths and challenges understood?

• Is there one staff member who has overall responsibility for the children with special needs        (e.g. Learning Support Teacher) and do they allow for parents to hire a shadow special education therapist to be with the child?

• Does the school have access to therapists (e.g. occupational therapist, speech therapist etc)?
• Do staff members undertake professional development in disability?
• What is the student to teacher ratio for all classes?

Is there a quiet place for one on one therapy follow-up session with his personal therapist or to calm the child down if he/she experiences sensory overload or melt downs?

Is there a general consensus by the parents and the child’s educational team to use the IEP
  [an individualized plan] for the child?

Do you think the IEP addresses the child’s challenges and will bring a positive outcome?
Are there Therapy materials in carrying out the IEP of the child?

What type of Assessment is being done?
Is it too structured or is it flexible enough to take into cognizance, the child’s challenges and progress attained?

Additional Services

Does the school have an introductory program to assist children transitioning into the school or an organized transition program for children moving from primary to secondary?
• How structured (prescriptive or open-ended) is the curriculum? Is there enough flexibility? How does the school support those students needing additional support in transport etc?
• What does the curriculum offer beyond the statutory subjects? Co-curricular activities?

• Does the school offer clubs, interest groups, etc?
• Do all students have access to specialist facilities (e.g. library, art rooms, science and technology laboratories, etc)?


What are the strategies in narrowing it down to the child so that learning takes place?

Social Skills and Inclusion.
Are the school grounds safe and secure?
What other signs of inclusion do you see?
Are there structured activities at lunch time and break time to encourage social skills and inclusion?

.........No comment.........

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