May 20, 2014 3:28 pm

Meet the Patient: Daniel Saldaña

Written by  Rosali Vela
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Something that defines the children and adolescents from the current generation is a passion for being connected. They like to be in constant contact with those around them, especially their friends. Daniel is no different, at 13 he has his own opinions and ideas, and a strong desire to participate in the world around him, typical of boys of this age. This is very apparent from the way he interacts with new activities, particularly if these are with family or community members.

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But Daniel has not always had this confidence; he was very ill as a baby, with fevers and terrible headaches, the medication his parents gave him stopped helping, and by his second birthday his mother was very worried about his health. He was eventually diagnosed with Meningitis, this illness permanently destroyed his hearing, and as a result he now finds speaking very difficult.

Given how sociable Daniel is, the shock of losing his hearing and being unable to speak at first greatly affected his confidence and happiness. He was depressed and confused, as any child whose health and happiness are damaged so severely by sickness, would be.

Daniel's family have never had very much money, so buying him a special headset was impossible, as these are very expensive, the same applied to speech therapists. But they never stopped looking and thanks to his mother's efforts they eventually found a school in Barranco, Lima called La Inmaculada which children with hearing problems can attend, here Daniel was taught sign language and lip reading which allowed him to interact with the world again.

The whole family fully supports Daniel: all of them have learnt sign language too so he can be involved with everything going on around him. And today with much love and patience they have managed to teach him how to pronounce some words too.

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But the advancements he has made have not quenched Daniel's thirst for life and knowledge, he has learned to read and write and has acquired a new hobby: surfing the internet. The vast reaches of the world wide web have provided him with an endless amount of new information and ideas.

However the school he attends only admits students for primary education; Daniel is now 13 years old and can not advance his studies any further in this school. But he dreams of going on to secondary school and maybe even univeristy: he wants to complete his education so he can become a professional and look after himself as an adult.

When one of Daniel's uncles found out about MEDLIFE and the work we do, he encouraged Daniel to write and explain his situation, and with the help of his sister Flor, Daniel contacted MEDLIFE and told us his story; the difficulties he has faced and the problems he has overcome, and what he wants to achieve with his life.

Daniel is now one of MEDLIFE's official follow up patients. Janet Ludeña is one of our field nurses, she has a brother with a hearing problem similar to Daniel, and as a result she knows sign language. She has been talking with Daniel using sign language and is looking into the best options for his future education.

We cannot fail Daniel: he has the hopes and dreams of any other 13 year old boy, he is charismatic and charming and has the drive and ambition to go far- he just needs the tools of education to help him. MEDLIFE is going to help him achieve this goal and support him in every way we can.

Last modified on May 20, 2014 3:42 pm