This past rainy weekend was one well spent using paint, creativity, and expression to provide mental and physical healing.
Paelon Memorial Hospital recently commemorated its 12th anniversary and one of their interactive activities in the line-up was a painting session for children with Special Needs titled ‘Healing through Art’. The program was well attended with youthful smiles, bursting energy and unmatched joy. As a group that is often neglected and overlooked, children with special needs have always been at the very heart of Paelon’s story.
PAtricia ELozie ONyia, the inspiration behind the hospital’s unique name, was the last child of Paelon’s founder, Dr. Ngozi Onyia, the founder of the hospital. Born with the genetic disorder, CHARGE syndrome, Patricia exhibited cheerfulness, keen positivity and unbridled creativity despite all odds. She was fortunate to not only have a community of loved ones who encouraged and supported her adventures, but she also had her the facilities- schools and recreational centres, that allowed for creativity, and passion including dances.
In clinical diagnostic and functional development, special needs refer to individuals who require assistance for disabilities that may be medical, mental, or psychological. Sometimes healing mentally, physically or emotionally for children with special needs is not just about medication or group therapies, doctors and hospitals; it is also an internal process involving will, strength, and positivity.
In Nigeria, we see little attention to the holistic side of caring for special needs children. There are few opportunities for these kids to express their passions, and creativity, ultimately just have fun as every child should.
Art therapy is a therapeutic process that utilises any form of art to promote creative expression which can in turn foster healing and mental wellbeing. In children, it can be used as a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Paelon Memorial Hospital hosted children in their clinic to a day of fun and creativity in the inaugural session of Healing through Art. The children in attendance of the event on the 17th of July, were guided and encouraged to express themselves through their creativity in a comfortable, fun and controlled environment. The result was a magnificent burst of colourful and vibrant artwork and smiles.
“Special Needs children are just as the name proclaims – they are special, unique, wonderful and are capable of incredible things. This program is very close to our hearts, and we hope to do more of these in the future.” Dr Onyia said as she closed the event and mingled with the parents and participants.
Paelon Memorial Hospital, established approximately 12 years ago, boasts of four branches around Nigeria with its headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos with state-of-the-art medical facilities, professionally trained medical experts and consultants and a passion for quality care.
Paelon’s drive for providing patient-centred health care earned the clinic the status of being the first Hospital in Africa to achieve a Level-5 Safe Care rating for quality of care and quality improvement. The Healing Through Art hopes to set a precedent towards providing more opportunities for individuals with special needs and create awareness for others in Nigeria.