Dong Dong (12) is a confident and optimistic boy who is paralyzed from his waist down, and suffers from brittle bone, making even normal day-to-day activities dangerous. Yet despite these restrictions, he is often seen wearing a big smile on his face – but this wasn’t always the case.
When Dong Dong first joined his foster family, he was angry and anxious and had frequent temper tantrums. He was clearly frustrated when he watched his peers play with friends and happily go off to school, while he remained housebound. He saw himself as unworthy and unwanted.
His foster father soon understood that missing out on school life would increase Dong Dong’s risk of social isolation and skill incompetence. Special education needs support was still very limited in his village, so he decided to teach Dong Dong to play Chinese chess. Dong Dong’s foster brother was also very supportive and brought home many books to improve Dong Dong’s chess skills. To everyone’s great joy Dong Dong showed both interest and talent, and quickly progressed. He played with his foster father, foster brother, neighbors and social workers, and soon became a local champion! This positive experience gave Dong Dong a vital sense of belonging and achievement.
The nurturing that Dong Dong received from his foster father helped to turn his life around and triggered a significant turning point in his developmental pathway. As a result of his foster family’s love and encouragement, Dong Dong is now able to greet new situations with self-confidence and ask for support when necessary.