Adam and Ruth Du Plessis
Age of parents:
40 and 38
Age: 10 years
Is this your only child?
No, another younger daughter
Diagnosis of child:
What are the biggest challenges facing your child on a daily basis?
Matalida has many frustrations and challenges that make it difficult for all of us at times.
What are the happiest moments you have with your child on a daily basis?
I was talking to another special needs mom and we were saying that the only thing that our kids understand is love. That’s it. That’s the language they speak. They can’t understand cause and effect the same way and punishing them for something they did a few minutes after the fact is incomprehensible to them. It’s so natural for Matlida to share love and to not expect love in return. I can’t say that I know many adults that have the ability to love like that.
Are you married?
Has your special needs child had an effect on your marriage?
Sure it has - but so has moving house, renovating our house, changing jobs.
Life can be pretty stressful at times.
Are your family and friends supportive?
They try, they can also be careless in their choice of words and preoccupied with their own lives. I remember how I was before having a child like Matilda, I was super uncomfortable around special needs kids. I didn’t know how to relate to them or understand them or empathize with them.
What has your child taught you about yourself, both positively and negatively?
This is not to take away from how hard it is to be a parent to a special needs child, because it’s freaking hard. Some days it’s overwhelming but she is a light in our lives, a light to those around her.
What is your dream for your child?
I wish the world took more time to see how much strength and wisdom there is in children who have disabilities.