Alim* (11y) cannot remember his father. He left the house when Alim was born. Alim’s mother works 11 hour days in a tailor shop to make a living, and cannot remember when Alim started to stammer.
They live with his uncle and grandparents (11 family members all in all). But the family doesn’t want him in the house any more. Often he would pick a fight with his smaller cousins. But his mother cannot take him to the tailor shop any longer as her co-workers want to work without head cover and Alim is now too old to be there among them… He was excluded from school when he tried to defend his mother being called bad names because of her divorce – and finally beat up the bully. So where should he go?
After a long search Alim’s mother found an NGO which runs a day-school. On enrolment she had just one request: ‘Please don’t even accept him if you might reject and kick him out in the end.’ The staff decided to take him in and give him a new chance. The day-school staff recognized Alim’s stammering problem and looked for professional help. Alim was referred to DARP and was taken into the speech therapy program. But he started to misbehave soon. What should the therapist do?
The DARP rehabilitation social worker and the therapist sat together, collected more background details of Alim’s story and designed a motivational plan for Alim. Small, reachable goals are set with him. Each time he reaches a goal he is allowed to put together a piece of a wooden helicopter – something he had been dreaming of having for a long time. ‘My brain is too stupid for this’ Alim says to himself repeatedly while trying to fit the pieces - and the DARP staff reinforce: ‘You have a clever brain – look what you have learned already.’
Today Alim does his homework diligently, comes to therapy regularly by himself and his eyes shine when the social worker and therapist praise him for his achievements and bring out the helicopter. Quickly he finds the next pieces, sands them carefully and fits them in – one piece at the time. One day this helicopter will take off and fly...
* name changed